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12 Free Things to Do In Cedar Rapids

Who doesn't love a free outing now and then? Whether you need an idea for a date, outing with the kids, or a few ideas for yourself, here is a guide to free things to do in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area!

1. Czech Village: Browse the antique, retro and vintage shops along 16th Ave. SW.  

czech village

2. Grant Wood Studio: Visit the quirky art studio where Grant Wood painted the famous American Gothic. Open mid-April to October on Saturday and Sunday 12-4 p.m. Free admission.

grant wood studio

3. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art: On the first Thursday of every month from 4-8 p.m. admission is FREE. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art houses more than 7,200 works of art spanning many eras-from Roman antiquity to the present.  The collection is particularly strong in American art, especially from the first half of the 20th century.  There are a number of artists the Museum hold in great depth- including the world's largest collection of works of art by Grant Wood. 

cr museum of art

4. Grant Wood Window: In the Veterans Memorial Building you can see the only commissioned stained glass window by Grant Wood, which is dedicated to soldiers. Located at 50 2nd Ave. View it from the inside during the week days Mon-Fri 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. or see it from the outside back lit during the evenings.

grant wood window

5. National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library: Free First Saturdays for Students - Beginning in 2016, students of all ages (preschool through college) are invited to visit the NCSML’s exhibits for free on the first Saturday of each month during regular museum hours. College students must bring a current school ID card. Regular admission rates still apply to non-students. Members of the NCSML are always free.

czech and slovak museum

6. NewBo City Market: A dynamic public space where local entrepreneurs create an environment of fresh, wonderful food, products and experiences.  You’ll often find live entertainment.  Thursday evenings May through September you can participate for free in Meet Me at the Market and join walking, running, biking and exercising groups, rain or shine. Open Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free Admission, but we dare you to resist purchasing a few treats!

newbo city market

7. Five Seasons Ski Team: The Five Seasons Ski Team performs a FREE show every Thursday night at Ellis Park in Cedar Rapids, June through Labor Day. Special shows are performed for various communities and festivals.

five seasons ski team

8. Indian Creek Nature Center: Nature Center and Creekside Shop hours: Tuesday - Thursday 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. Trails open any daylight hour. The barn, grounds and trails are available for you to explore free of charge. There are small, affordable fees for scheduled programs. Trails are open daily (year ’round) from sunrise to 10 p.m.

indian creek

9. Wickiup Hill Learning Center

  • Oliver & Ava's River Raft Adventure Exhibit - The exhibit stations at Wickiup Hill are designed around a story of a school-aged boy and girl who follow a magical dragonfly on a learning adventure related to Native American history, nature, and watersheds. Come visit to see where the dragonfly takes you!Life Along the River: Features a full-size replica of an Ioway summer home; a three-sisters garden; a maple syrup camp and scent station; and historic artifact replicas! Nature is Fun: Features a muskrat hut; research fort; hollow tree; nature view finders; an oversized underwater room; a larger than life green frog, and a special secret passage-way from the muskrat hut to the fort! Everyone Lives in a Watershed: Features the waterdrop game; a watertable; and a video touchscreen about healthy watersheds! 
  • Outdoor Exhibits: Features the interpretive trails; wetland boardwalk; observation deck; prairie, woodland and savanna habitats; and Native American mounds.

wickiup hill learning

10. Linn County Parks Challenge: Geocaching - The Linn Parks Challenge continues into the 2016 recreational season. With the weather getting warmer it’s time to get started and explore 25 Linn County parks, preserves and historic sites. Whether you are a seasoned geocaching expert or just figuring out how to download the free smart phone app, this is the perfect way to enjoy warmer weather. Now is the time to enjoy the spring wildflowers and wildlife in your local Linn County parks. Visit the website LinnParksChallenge.org to download the passport and get started today!

linn county parks

11. Old MacDonald’s Farm, Bever Park’s Children’s Zoo: Operated by Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation, this free public zoo features farm animals and North American waterfowl. (The baby animals, possibly piglets and ducklings, are only out when the weather is warm.) This city landmark is over 100 years old and is enjoyed by people of all ages. OPEN DAILY: April 24 - October 13 10 am-6:30 pm. The Schuknecht Waterfowl Exhibit closes at 6:30 p.m. A minimum $1 donation is recommended. Some exhibits may close 15 to 20 minutes early due to variations in feeding schedules.

zoo cedar rapids

12. Iowa Masonic Lodge & Museum Grand Lodge of Iowa: The Iowa Masonic Library is reputed to be the largest in the world, and is at least one of the top five, with over 100,000 volumes. The Museum also contains three exhibits including: the Masonic gallery featuring an original Grant Wood painting and a Civil War flag from an Iowa regiment; the non-Masonic gallery with Asian armor, Native American weapons and pottery; and the small Swab gallery with a family collection of fine china, jewelry and decorative arts from around the world. Free admission. Call ahead for a guided tour. Open Monday- Friday 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m.

masonic lodge cedar rapids

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