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Free Summer Vacation Fun

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KUNG FU PANDA

School vacation, just ahead — which means more time for family fun. But movies, museum admissions and other fun stuff can drain the budget. We’ve got plenty of low and no-cost options.

Bow Tie Cinema, including the Palace 17 & Odyssey Theater in Hartford, screens free kids’ films 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday from June 25 and 26 though through Aug. 20 and 21. Titles include “Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Madagascar 3,” and “How To Train Your Dragon.” Information: BowTiecinemas.com.

The Museum Pass Program, available at area libraries, offers free passes (usually for two adults and two children) to state museums, parks and attractions. Passes are good for one-day admissions to such destinations as the New England Air Museum, the Connecticut Trolley Museum, Mystic Aquarium, Lutz Children’s Museum in Manchester and loads of others. Check with your local library for details.

Lowe’s stores hold Build and Grow classes on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer. Kids create a project and also receive free aprons, goggles and project patches. (Recommended for children in grades 1 through 5.) Find locations and times and register at www.LowesBuildandGrow.com.

Home Depot stores hold free hands-on workshops for children ages 5 through 12, on the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon. Kids build and take home craft projects and get a apron, commemorative pin and certificate of achievement. To find Information, at www.homedepot.com, then scroll to bottom of home page and click on workshops under the “Project How-To” heading.

Dive! Dive! Dive! The Submarine Force Museum in Groton is offering a free Summer of Fun children’s science program, which takes place each Friday, from June 28 through Aug. 31. Information: www.ussnautilus.org.

On July 22, the Kidsville Kuckoo Revue holds a free singalong concert at 7 p.m. at the Manchester Bandshell, 60 Bidwell St. Information: www.manchesterbandshell.com.

At GymboreeClasses.com, you can print out a free class pass for a free play-and-learn class in North Haven or Danbury.

Some Apple stores offer summer Apple camps for kids ages 8 through 12. Participants make movies, create music and present their creations at an Apple camp in-store film festival. Contact your local Apple store for details and dates or check www.apple.com/retail/learn/youth. To sign up to be notified when registration opens, go to www.apple.com/retail/camp/notify.html.

Some Microsoft Stores, including the Danbury location, offer free YouthSpark Summer Camps for ages 8–13 and free morning “Tot” programs. Check http://content.microsoftstore.com/events for details.

The Kids Bowl Free program, at eight Connecticut bowling alleys, lets children bowl two free games every day, all summer long, by printing out coupons online. Each center has its own age restrictions, as well as any times coupons are not valid. Find lanes and sign up at www.kidsbowlfree.com.

Children 15 and under bowl free as part of AMF Bowling Centers’ Summer Unplugged promotion. Register the kids online, print out a certificate and take it to a participating center. You’ll get a membership card that’s good for two free games per child per day through Sept. 2. Register at FreeBowling.amf.com. At Brunswick Zone locations, (there’s one in Wallingford), students 18 and younger get to bowl one free game a day in June, July and August. To participate, you’ll need to choose your location and sign up for the Brunswick Bonus Zone online at www.bowlbrunswick.com.

The Pottery Barn Summer Reading Challenge encourages kids to create a summer reading list. Those who complete a list, and stop by a Pottery Barn Kids store by Aug. 26, get a free book. Information: www.potterybarnkids.com.

The summer reading program at Barnes & Noble lets kids in grades 1 through 6 earn a free book when they read eight books during summer vacation. Here’s how it works: Kids read any eight books and use a special reading journal to record their impressions. Students who bring their completed journals to any Barnes & Noble store by Sept. 3 get a free book from the summer-reading-program list. Information: www.barnesandnoble.com.

TD Bank pays kids $10 to get reading this summer. Kids read any 10 books during summer vacation, write the titles on the summer reading log and take the form to the nearest TD Bank location by Sept 30. The bank will deposit $10 into any existing or new Young Savers account. Information: www.tdbank.com/summerreading.

L.L. Bean stores, including the South Windsor location, offer a series of free and low cost workshops, such as kayaking, birding, fly casting and others. Most are designed for ages 8 and up, (kids under 14 must be accompanied by a participating adult). Information: www.llbean.com or 860-643-3840.