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Top Family Fun Things to Do in Reno and Sparks - Part 1

Best Places for Family Fun in the Reno / Tahoe Region

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Reno area families will find a variety of things to do in the Reno / Lake Tahoe region. Families with children can choose from amusement parks, indoor gyms and playgrounds, art centered activities, and adventures in the great outdoors. Whatever you and your children enjoy doing, there are activities for everyone in the family during every season of the year.

This list is only part of the fun. For more, go to "Top Family Fun Things to Do in Reno - Part 2."

The Discovery

The Discovery Museum in Reno, Nevada
Photo © Stan White

The Discovery (Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum) is a hands-on, interactive place where visitors are encouraged to indulge their interests in science, art, and local history. Besides exploring the exhibits on their own, visitors to The Discovery can participate in numerous organized educational activities throughout the year. The Discovery hosts field trips for local school children and offers a place for fantastic birthday parties.

490 S. Center Street, Reno, NV 89501
(775) 786-1000

Rancho San Rafael Regional Park

Rancho San Rafael Regional Park in Reno, Nevada
Photo © Stan White

Reno's Rancho San Rafael Regional Park encompasses 600 acres just northwest of downtown Reno. Rancho San Rafael Park includes acres of grassy fields, wetlands, natural areas, rentable picnic shelters, nature and walking trails, playground, and huge dog park. Rancho San Rafael is also home to the Wilbur D. May Center, consisting of the Wilbur D. May Museum and Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Both of these attractions host numerous family-friendly events and activities throughout the year. There are several more public parks around the Reno region offering attractions for families.

1595 N. Sierra Street, Reno, NV 89503
(775) 823-6500

Artown

Artown Festival in Reno, Nevada
Photo © Stan White

Reno's annual festival of the arts lasts the entire month of July. There are hundreds of events, many of which are geared to family participation, and over half of them are free. With so many events, you should check the schedule to find family events, times, and locations.

Reno & Sparks Public Swimming Pools

Swimming beach at Sparks Marina Park
Photo © Stan White

The City of Reno has four public swimming pools, two of which are outdoors and operate on a seasonal basis during the summer months. Sparks Parks & Rec operates four public swimming pools, three two of which are outdoors and operate on a seasonal basis during the summer months. For a less formal experience, there are several free and really cheap water play places for when the heat is on in Reno.

hands/ON! on Second Saturdays

Nevada Museum of Art in Reno.
Photo © Stan White

hands/ON! on Second Saturdays is a free family event held every month at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. Everyone will enjoy the activities and storytelling, plus you get to tour all of the Museum's current exhibits for free during your visit.

160 W. Liberty Street, Reno, NV 89501
(775) 329-3333

Idlewild Park

Idlewild Park in Reno, Nevada
Photo © Stan White

Reno's Idlewild Park, next to the Truckee River, is full of family fun. There is a big playground for the kids and two small lakes for fishing and feeding the ducks and geese. There is lots of grass and big shade trees for picnics and just relaxing. A biking and walking path follows the river and connects Idlewild Park to downtown Reno. During the summer months, the public Idlewild Pool is open for swimming and water play. The Idlewild Park train is a popular ride that operates during the summer. Reno's annual Earth Day celebration is held in Idlewild Park. Reno's Municipal Rose Garden is in this park.

1900 Idlewild Drive, Reno, NV 89509

Explore Reno Area Hiking Trails

Family hiking on the Browns Creek Trail near Reno, Nevada
Photo © Stan White

There are hiking trails to suit most every level of fitness in the Reno area, from leisurely strolls along the Truckee River to strenuous hikes up at Lake Tahoe. Here in town, try the Huffaker Park Lookout Trail for views of Reno and Sparks without much effort. For a real workout, head for the summit of Mt. Rose and enjoy some awesome views of Lake Tahoe and beyond.

Ride the V&T Railroad

Passengers boarding the V&T Railroad at Eastgate Depot near Carson City, Nevada.
Photo © Stan White

Riding the restored Virginia & Truckee Railroad (V&T) is a wonderful family activity. There's something about a steam locomotive that is fascinating for both kids and adults. The V&T brings the history of the Comstock alive in a most entertaining way as the trains roll along the historic route between Carson City and Virginia City. Get on board for a fun family experience.

Go for a Family Bike Ride

Parents and their kids at the Tour de Nez bike races in Reno, Nevada
Photo © Stan White

Like hiking, Reno area biking comes in a variety of flavors. More bike lanes are appearing in the Truckee Meadows, but you don't have to watch the kids so closely if you try sections of the Tahoe - Pyramid Bikeway that pass through town. Need wheels? Check out these "Reno & Sparks Bike Shops."

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