Updated Sept. 3, 2020
Looking for family-friendly free things to do in Erie, Pa.? I'm always on the search for free things to do with kids in Erie, so wanted to put together a list of some of my favorite kids' activities in Erie, Pa., that are free! Free fun things to do in Erie, Pa., are the best kinds of things because it doesn't matter what your budget is — it's a chance to spend quality time together as a family without worrying about how much you're spending.
I also love that there's so much on our list of free things to do in Erie with kids that are outside! Getting outside in Erie — whether it's at Lake Erie, a park or a mural hunt — is a great way to stay active as a family.
Here's a list of 7 kid-friendly activities to do in Erie, Pa. during the time of COVID that your whole family will love!
1. Visit Presque Isle
Rated No. 1 in a USA Today poll in 2016 for best freshwater beach, Presque Isle is Erie's true gem — and it's absolutely FREE! Enjoy a scenic bike ride --you can loop the entire peninsula in about 14 miles and it's flat the whole way, making it a kid-friendly activity. You can also visit the state park's miles of sandy beaches. It's relatively easy to social distance because there is so much beach!
2. Learn at the Tom Ridge Center
The Tom Ridge Center, located near the entrance of Presque Isle, is a free educational facility designed to educate visitors about Erie's peninsula and the wildlife that inhabits it. The first floor of the Tom Ridge Center is currently open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
3. Drop in and discover at Asbury Woods
The Nature Center remains closed, but Asbury Woods is open for hiking year-round! There's always a new trail to explore, wildlife to find, and interesting plants and trees to see. Asbury Woods has also slowly incorporated programming again. Among its classes is the weekly Drop In and Discover programs FREE on Saturdays. Registration is required because space is limited. Register for Asbury Woods programming here.
4. Go fishing
Kids under 16 can fish for free without a license. So take the kids to one of Erie's amazing creeks and sit back and watch them catch dinner! Check out Fish Erie for ideas on where to go.
5. See Erie's most unique yard art
Kids will be thrilled at the oversized yard art at Schaefer's Auto Art, which you can see between sunup and sundown daily at 3705 Hershey Road. It's free to visit. Parking is available in the pull-off area on the side of the road. Please do not park in their driveway. You can also see ginormous handmade dinosaurs in the 700 block of Bartlett Road!
6. Visit the library
All five of Erie's library branches are open! Head to any one of them in Erie County to find oodles of books to keep you and your kids entertained.
7. Hunt murals
Check out our Macaroni Kid Erie guide to Erie's murals! We have more than 25 listed -- how many can your family find? Thanks to Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agent Catherine Fox for sponsoring our Erie, Pa., mural guide!