Free LEGOs, Free LEGO Fan Club, Free LEGOLAND ticket!

There are several free things to do for LEGO fans, including my young nephews, Hayden and Max, who are LEGO maniacs. And who could blame them? I love the colorful bricks that connect like a puzzle to create 3D worlds of wonder.

And your child, ages 6 to 14, can get a FREE mini-build set if you happen to have a LEGO store nearby. One day each month (usually the first Tuesday in the U.S.), LEGO stores offer a free special model workshop with a mini-kit often tied into a holiday. Kids get to build and take the LEGOs home, for free. Like the Christmas tree pictured here. And these are sets that are only available at the time of the free workshop.

Free LEGO Workshop

So what could be better than free LEGOs? How about signing up for the Free LEGO Fan Club? Click HERE  for a free 2-year subscription to LEGO magazine that comes with membership. In the current issue, there’s a coupon for a free child’s ticket to LEGOLAND with any adult admission.

Is your LEGO fan younger than age 6? Then check out LEGO Club Junior HERE.

For even more free fun, request the free LEGO color catalogue HEREKids will spend hours looking at all the cool LEGO stuff!

Live Free!

*Disclosure: No compensation was received in exchange for this post.

Free Family-Friendly Fun at Borders Bookstores

If you love going to Borders, you’ll want to maximize the free fun, all of it family-friendly, that the bookseller has to offer.

Join in on Family Game Night tonight (Jan. 27) at Borders across the U.S. Find fun board games in the cafe, such as Sort it Out, Top Trumps and Billionaire. Game time is 6pm and is best for ages 6 and up. (We’re waiting to find out if Borders will continue this Thursday night tradition for the rest of the year.)

Like most family oriented bookstore, Borders offers free storytimes throughout the month. Check will your local store to see when the free fun happens.

Free Borders Rewards cardHave you gotten your Borders Rewards card yet? It’s Free and you can sign up online or in store. With the Rewards card you’ll get coupons in your email for discounts online and instore, free shipping for online purchases of $25 and 30% off hardcover books. You can upgrade to Borders Rewards Plus — it usually costs $20 but they have an offer to get it $10 right now. You’ll get a coupon book worth $100 in discounts for upgrading.

Want to get into the Digital book age? You can do it for Free on your PC, laptop or mobile phone with Borders FREE e-reader app. Tap into 1 million public domain titles for FREE by downloading them onto the free app.

Borders online also offers dozens of free videos with interviews of fave authors, concerts and quick cooking lessons. My favorite? How to make olive oil pizza dough from the cookbook Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

*Disclosure: This is not an ad. No money or other compensation was exchanged for this post.

Create a FREE Travel Slideshow with TripWow!

January 11, 2011 |  by  |  Family-friendly  |  5 Comments

“WOW” your family and friends with all the free fun you’ve been having by creating a FREE slide show! TripWow, designed by, is a program so simple anyone can create a visual masterpiece in less time than it takes to download images.

“Slide show” hardly does TripWow justice – it’s more like a movie! It’s a jaw-dropping program that features your vacation photos with visuals, music and more. Once completed you can easily share your show on Facebook, Twitter, email or post on your blog. You provide the pictures, they provide the “WOW!” features reviews written by the travel community that highlight the best and worst vacations so travelers can decide where to go and what to avoid. With their new TripWow tool, TripAdvisor is sure to garner even more fans.

Check out my 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade slide show, then make your OWN amazing rendition at TripWow.TripWow makes anyone’s vacation look TripTASTIC!

*The above is the opinion of the author and not an implicit endorsement of TripWow. No compensation between TripAdvisor, TripWow, the author or Free Fun Guides was exchanged for this post.

National Parks are Free MLK Day Weekend Jan. 15 – Jan. 17

Visit Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthplace in Atlanta, GA for Free

National Parks are Free MLK Day Weekend Jan. 15 – Jan. 17

The 394 U.S. national parks will all be admission FREE during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, Saturday, Jan. 15 – Monday, Jan. 17. The MLK Day weekend is the kick-off for a series of 17 fee-free dates for the National Park Service.

Take the free admission 3-day weekend to explore the history of Dr. King at national parks such as Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Georgia, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama, or the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

“Several parks will also honor Dr. King by hosting volunteer projects for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on January 17,” according to NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis. “It is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a day on, not a day off.”

The other 2011 fee-free dates are National Park Week (April 16-24), the first day of summer (June 21), National Public Lands Day (September 24), and the weekend of Veterans Day (November 11-13).

Many national park concessions will also offer discounts on fee-free days, saving visitors money on food, lodging, tours, and souvenirs.

Free Days at the Columbus Zoo!

It’s a financial jungle out there but luckily the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is giving all visitors free admission on Martin Luther King Day, January 17 and Presidents Day, February 21.

Area schools are out on those Mondays, so make the most of the opportunity to see cold weather animals such as polar bears Aurora and Anana. The bears, who are new to the zoo this year, can be seen swimming year round in pool water maintained with geothermal energy at a comfortable 40-65 degrees.

Coming to Columbus on another day in January or February? Rejoice! The zoo is offering half-price admission on all other days during these two months. That means just $6.50  for general admission and $4 for children ages 2 through 9 and senior citizens 60 years and older.

There are more than 5,000 animals to see at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium so arrive early to see as much as you can. It’s open every day through February 10am to 4pm.

ZooLights at the National Zoo are FREE!

Admission to our country’s zoo, the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is always free but its nighttime display of ZooLights during the holidays isn’t — except this year! ZooLights are Free Dec. 3-5, Dec. 10-12, Dec. 17-23, Dec. 26-30 and Jan. 1 from 6-8:30 pm.

ZooLights features ZooThousands of environmentally-friendly lights illuminating life-sized animal silhouettes, dancing trees, building and walkways. Stroll through the Zoo after hours and see not only the dazzling light displays but the Zoo’s live animals.

Free Zoo Admission

Shake Paws with Panda Claws

Thaw your paws inside the animal houses while peeking in on nocturnal animals. The Small Mammal House, Great Ape House, Reptile Discover Center, Think Tank, and Kid’s Farm are open every night of ZooLights. Each week ZooLights highlights a different animal house with special animal activities and interpreters.

Plus visit the zoo’s two new train highlights: the Zoomagination Station (inside the Zoo’s Visitor Center and sponsored by Amtrak®), and the FedEx Panda Express train ride on the Great Meadow across from the Great Ape House. At Zoomagination Station, the Amtrak® Wildlife Train is on display inside the Asia Trail gift shop with an old-fashioned steam engine, Thomas the Train, and animal figurines. The FedEx Panda Express takes kid on a fun ride around the Great Meadow for just $2.

While in the Visitor Center, stop in the auditorium to see the yummy display of gingerbread lion habitat contest entries, sponsored by Starbucks. Make someone else’s holiday bright by supporting the Zoo’s canned food drive. The Zoo is filling an old hippo crate with canned goods to be delivered to D.C. Central Kitchen.

Sesame Street Helps Military Families Connect With Free Calls

Elmo and his friends at Sesame Street, along with Google and Blue Star Families, is helping military families stay in touch for the holidays with free phone calls.

Google is providing complimentary $10 call credits to families of U.S. service members registered with Blue Star Families, a nonprofit network of military families, or Sesame Street Family Connections, a free social network website for military families. It’s free to register for both sites. Then members who sign up HERE between now and December 22 will get a $10 call credit.

The call credit can be used to make international calls with Google Voice, Google’s communications management service, or from right inside Gmail, Google’s web-based email service, where phone calls to U.S. numbers are free.

The $10 credit will provide families with roughly 30 minutes of call time to Afghanistan, 60 minutes to Iraq, or hundreds of minutes to many countries in Europe and around the world.

Happy Holidays!

Get FREE Admission to Dozens of Zoos!

It’s really simple to get FREE admission to dozens of zoos outside of your local area zoo. Buy a zoo membership at your local Association of Zoos & Aquarium accredited zoo, which helps support the animals, and when you’re visiting grandma or friends in another area, visit their local zoo for free! Just check that your zoo participates in the association’s reciprocal program. If it does, flash your local zoo membership card at a participating zoo’s admission window, and you’re in for free!

Keep these tips in mind before you go:

Some participating zoos offer a 50 percent discount off admission instead of 100 percent.

Also some zoos are already free, and they may offer a discount on purchases at their gift shop.

As always, with any place you plan on visiting, be it zoo or museum, call ahead!

Free Admission to National Parks on Veterans Day

You don’t have to pay to enjoy nature this Veterans Day, as 100 of the 393 National Parks that charge admission are free to all. The fee waiver on November 11 includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees but not camping reservations or fees to third parties.

Many national park concessioners are offering special deals for the fee-free day as well.

More free days are planned for 2011:

* April 16-24, 2011
(National Park Week)
* September 24, 2011
(Public Lands Day)
* November 11, 2011
(Veterans Day)

Free Admission to National Parks & Public Lands

Would you rather visit a National Park for FREE instead of a museum for FREE? The choice is yours on Saturday, Sept. 25, as all 392 National Parks and all other national public lands are admission-free for National Public Lands Day.  The fee-free day for national parks, forests, trails, monuments and other public lands falls on the same day as the Smithsonian Museum Day, when hundreds of U.S. museums are also admission free.

If you love the outdoors, consider signing up or just show up for one of the volunteer projects at dozen of public lands sites on Saturday. Spend the morning helping clean up and restore our national natural treasures, then spend the afternoon just enjoying and exploring them.