With the summer months coming (according to my thermometer, summer is here!) I thought that I would add some ideas of things to do this summer that are educational and free (or very low cost)! Most of these things I've done with my boys or are planning on it soon. If anyone in the area (or those who have just visited) have any ideas to add, please add a reply to this topic!

Ethel M Chocolate Factory Tour - This is a self guided tour of the chocolate factory. Mostly facts to read about chocolate and the Ethel M./Mars Corporation history, with a glimpse of how the factory works. Weekends the actual factory part is not in use, so it's just reading. At the end of the tour they give samples of free chocolate and you can purchase chocolates there as well... be prepared to spend more than just a little for the chocolates if you buy them. Also there is a Cactus Garden that you can walk through as well, however in the summer months this might not be a good idea. At Christmas time the gardens are lighted and are a great way to look at holiday lights during the season.

Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center & Scenic Drive - although the visitor center is free, the scenic drive does have a nominal fee to enter the park. The drive is 13 miles of twisting and turning through the Red Rock Canyon. It's a beautiful drive! There are places for you to get out of the car and take a look around, hike, have a picnic and more. If you want to just bike or hike through the trail you can do that for free as well. The visitors center has exhibits and information about the canyon and is well worth the time. If you're doing the scenic drive during the summer, be sure your a/c is working!

Nevada Test Site Tour - This is one I haven't done with my boys yet, but plan on doing it soon. This is a tour of the testing site for nuclear bombs from the 50's. It starts at the Atomic Testing Museum which does have an entrance fee (free for locals on Nevada Day), but you don't have to pay the entrance fee if you're taking the test site tour. This is an all day tour, starting at 7:30 am and returning at 4 pm. The Atomic Testing Museum is a great place to go as well. I've gone with my sons on Nevada Day for free, and it was well worth it! They learned a lot about the history of NV, Nuclear weapons, World War 2 and more.

Clark County Wetlands Park - The Clark County Wetlands Park is a 2,900-acre nature and wildlife habitat
viewing area bordering both sides of the Las Vegas Wash as it flows past
Frenchman Mountain and the red sandstone of Rainbow Gardens on its way to
Lake Mead. With miles of paved trails, visitors can explore the streams, ponds
the area home at least part of the year. The Great Blue Heron, Red-Shouldered
Hawk, Spotted Towhee, Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow, Wood Duck, and
the Northern Saw-Whet Owl are among those that can be spotted. The
Wetlands Park is also home to the coyote, whose diet consists of rabbits, mice,
ground squirrels, lizards, insects, grasses and fruits. There have been few
instances of coyotes attacking humans. The visitor and education center offers
visitors a chance to examine the ecology of the area more closely and to learn
about the importance of preserving wildlife and protecting Lake Mead and the
Colorado River System.

GeoCaching - Geocaching is not only a great adventure to go on with your kids, but it's technically free. I say "technically" because before you can start GeoCaching you do need one essential piece of equipment, a GPS receiver. Those can run anywhere from $100-$600 depending on the features you want and where you buy it, ebay is a great place to find used ones for the least amount of money. Once you have the GPS device, you can sign up at Geocaching.com for a free account. Then all you have to do is find the caches around your area, where you're visiting, or anywhere you want to explore, and go on a little treasure hunt. My family has been geocaching for about 6 years now and the boys have always loved it. It's like going on a scavenger hunt where the entire world is playing with you! It's a great way to learn about local places that you'd never know about other wise, and it's great for kids to find the hidding place of the cache. You can bring small items to trade for some other small items hidden in the cache, leave a "calling card" with your GeoCaching name, or any other small trade item. Go to the GeoCaching website for more information.

You can find more free attractions, shows and exhibits in Las Vegas at Vegas4Locals.com

Do you have something free and educational to do in Las Vegas? Reply to this topic and let us all know about it!