Ever dreamed of listening to the Boston Symphony Orchestra on a summer night at Tanglewood? Visiting whaling museums in Nantucket or New Bedford? Or the Franklin Park Zoo?
Too much for your budget?
Not if you head there on Fridays this summer.
For the 10th year, Free Fun Fridays is opening the doors to historic and cultural attractions across Massachusetts. On 10 consecutive Fridays, from June 29 to Aug. 31, admission will be free for theatrical productions, art museums, historic sites, and other attractions.
A record 100 venues are participating in this year’s series, which is sponsored by the nonprofit Highland Street Foundation of Newton. Ten locations will participate each week. “We have organizations like the MFA in Boston, but then we’re able to bring in small groups like the new Telephone Museum in Waltham,” said Blake Jordan, the foundation’s executive director. “There really is something for everybody.”
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said the series is helpful to keep kids busy in summer. “It is very important to keep our children active and productive during the summer months,” Walsh said in a statement provided by the foundation. “Free Fun Fridays are a great opportunity for kids and families in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth to spend time together.”
Since 2009, the foundation has spent $6.2 million on the program, which so far has attracted 1.2 million visitors, according to the organization. Last summer, more than 160,000 visitors explored 85 venues. Students and families make up the bulk of visitors, Jordan said.
“It’s keeping the educational process going, but in a fun way,” he said. “There’s definitely a need and an interest.”
The Boston Children’s Museum has taken part in the program since 2009, and has logged more than 70,000 visitors to date. “This program furthers our commitment to the community,” said museum spokeswoman Jo-Anne Baxter. “We are determined to keep access affordable for all.”
Free Fun Fridays has attracted a “following” of regular attendees, many of whom could not afford the activities otherwise, Jordan said.
“They know that every Friday, no matter where they live in the state, there will be something for them to go do for free,” Jordan said. “It’s been really great to see how many people, particularly people who may be low-income or financially challenged, that know they can plan on this.”
Jordan said participating organizations “go above and beyond” to make Free Fun Fridays special for visitors.
“They love the idea of having a free day to bring everybody in and attract new people,” he said. “They’ll bring in entertainment or food or whatever it is to try to make it as much fun as possible.”
For a listing of Free Fun Fridays, click here.Alana Levene can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org