Winter

10 Totally* Free Things To Do

You'll be amazed at everything Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley have to offer, and even more amazed at how little some of it costs. Here are 10 amazingly fun places to visit that won't cost anything to get in the door.


* Mostly totally. Some modest parking fees do apply.

 

Year Round Options:

Herrs Snack FactoryHERR'S SNACK FACTORY TOUR

Hot chips! Hot chips! Sample some spuds that are fresh off the production line during the Herr's snack Factory Tour. Reservations are required. Free Tip:Tours are available Monday through Friday, but try to go Monday through Wednesday when everything is up and running.


DUPONT ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER

A wildlife escape on the edge of the city, the DuPont Environmental Education Center features a 10-acre park with flower garden path, a quarter-mile pond loop through a freshwater marsh and a four-story education center with panoramic views. Free tip: Staff-led binocular walks and animal encounters occur daily (except Mondays).

The Delaware Contemporary
THE DELAWARE CONTEMPORARY

With an annual schedule of more than 30 new exhibitions, The Delaware Contemporary keeps things fresh and timely every time you visit. Free tip: Twenty-six artists rent studio space inside The Delaware Contemporary. Don't miss the Elizabeth Denison Hatch Gallery, which showcases their work.


ASHLAND NATURE CENTER

The Delaware Nature Society has its HQ at Ashland, right off the RED CLAY VALLEY SCENIC BYWAY. There are 130 acres of woods, meadows and marsh to explore, plus picnic grounds and the Butterfly House. Free tip: Naturalists lead free programs - including birding walks and hawk watches - at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day in the warmer months.

The Castle Court House Museum
FIRST STATE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

The newest park in the National Park Service includes historical sites that date back to the birth of the country (and before), including the NEW CASTLE COURT HOUSE MUSEUM, where Delaware became the first state to separate from Great Britain (and Pennsylvania) in June 1776. Free tip: Separation Day, celebrated annually on the second Saturday in June, is a great day to visit.


Summer Options:


BELLEVUE STATE PARK CONCERT SERIES

This Delaware state park offers a deeply diverse concert series over the summer months, offering bluegrass and blues, big band and the Beatles (and that's just at the start of the alphabet). Free tip: Bring a picnic. (Note: The shows are free, but there are still park entrance fees in effect.)

Clifford Brown Jazz Festival
CLIFFORD BROWN JAZZ FESTIVAL

The largest free jazz festival on the east coast runs for five nights in June in Rodney Square, in the heart of Wilmington's downtown district. Free tip: Lots of local joints keep the music going after the official program is over. Ask around or follow the crowd.


Winter Options:

Holiday Home Tours

The historic towns of Odessa and New Castle open their doors during the holidays to reveal lavishly decorated historic houses, during HOLIDAYS IN ODESSA and THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMASFree tip: Watch for the weekend in December when New Castle gets a little Victorian for A Dickens Christmas.


ART LOOP WILMINGTON

On the first Friday of each month, museums, studios and art galleries throughout Wilmington and the surrounding area stay open late for a night of opening receptions and art exhibitions. Free tip: Check out the MONTHLY CALENDAR for a guide to live entertainment and other special events.

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
BOMBAY HOOK NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Sitting in the middle to of the Atlantic Flyway, recognized by American Bird Conservancy as an Important BIRDING Area, there's no more majestic place to begin your morning - and they open a half hour before sunrise to let you do just that. Free tip:There's an entrance fee of $4 per car, and less if you arrive by bike or on foot.