Looking to plan a fun family vacation that won’t break the bank? Well, you’re in the right place.
By now, we’re sure you’ve looked up numerous destinations and quickly realized things can get rather expensive. Even a quick weekend getaway can very easily become costly. One of Wilmington's strongest selling points as a tourist destination is that spending a weekend here won't cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, you can find plenty to do throughout Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley that won’t cost a dime.
Du Pont Environmental Education Center
The 10-acre DuPont Environmental Education Center is a wildlife escape right on the outskirts of Wilmington. The magnificent four-story education center on the edge of the 212-acre Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge is along Wilmington’s Riverwalk. Each floor of the center contains a different opportunity to learn about the wildlife you will find in this unique environment, combining aspects of the river and the marsh. The center is open from 10 am to 3 pm Tuesday through Saturday, and from noon to 4 pm on Sunday.
Ashland Nature Center
Where the DuPont Environmental Education Center is the perfect introduction to the area’s local nature and wildlife, the Ashland Nature Center is the next step in learning more about the local woods, meadows, and marshes. Local volunteers lead walks exploring the 130-acre property during the summer months. If you are even remotely interested in birding, you won't want to miss out on these walks. Discover wildlife at the Hawk Watch, Butterfly House, Bird Banding station, Bird Blind, the Hummingbird Haven, and along the many pet-friendly interpretive trails.
New Castle Courthouse Museum
In addition to great natural attractions, the Brandywine Valley has a rich history worth exploring. The best place to start that exploration is the New Castle Courthouse Museum in Historic New Castle. Learn exactly what it took for Delaware to become the first state to officially separate from Great Britain (and from Pennsylvania). Plus, the Courthouse Museum offers a great history of the Underground Railroad and those that put their life at risk to help lead fleeing slaves to freedom. And don’t forget to ask about the ghost that supposedly haunts the nearby Green . . .
Free Museum Days
Many of the area’s museums have free admission on specific days of the year!
- Brandywine River Museum of Art – Free Admission the first Sunday of the month, February – November
- Delaware Art Museum – Free Admission on Sundays and Thursdays after 4:00 p.m., April – December
- Delaware History Museum – Free Admission on the first Friday of each month
- Rockwood Museum – Free Admission on the first Sunday of every month
- The Newark History Museum – Open April – December, Tuesdays and Sundays; admission is always free.
- Biggs Museum of Art – Free Admission the first Saturday of every month
The Delaware Contemporary
Wilmington is home to a thriving modern art scene you can dive right into by visiting The Delaware Contemporary. There, you will find more than 30 continuously revolving exhibits ranging from painting and sculptures to amazing suspension art. This facility is also home to dozens of local artists that use the venue as their studio, so you can almost always catch someone right in the middle of the creative process.
Art Loop Wilmington
In addition to The Delaware Contemporary, art lovers can also enjoy many of the smaller galleries, museums, and studios located throughout downtown Wilmington. Each of these local treasures makes a point to stay open late on the first Friday of each month for Art Loop Wilmington, and many host special events and entertainment on those Fridays.
Music and Art Festivals
Wilmington hosts more than 100 art and music festivals over the course of the summer. If you are flexible with your travel dates, check our summer festival schedule to see if there is something that sparks your interest. Quite a few of these festivals are free to the public. Some of these include the DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival (June), Ladybug Music Festival (July) and the Delaware State Parks concert series (throughout the summer).
Whether you are passionate about nature, history, or art, Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley has something for you. Thanks to the area’s many free attractions, your getaway will be as affordable as it is fun!