KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — There are plenty of affordable ways to have fun and keep your kids busy in East Tennessee this summer.
We previously shared some of the most affordable summer camps in the area, but there are options outside of camps as well.
Swim lessons can be a great way to spend the summer while learning a life-saving skill.
They're offered at many places around East Tennessee, but the YMCA and city pools are a couple of the most affordable options.
The YMCA of East Tennessee offers group and private swim lessons at all five of its locations. Prices depend on the number of classes you're taking, the types of lessons, and if you're a member of the organization.
The YMCA offers financial assistance programs and will work with families to meet them where they are. The organization also offers other summer programs, such as dance and cooking classes.
"The Y is dedicated to making sure that it is affordable for every single person. We would never turn somebody down because they were not able to afford a program," YMCA Senior Program Director Erin Stidham said. "We want to get to know you, we want you to feel like this is a community that you want to be at, whether you're here to exercise or whether you're here for a cup of fresh coffee. We want you here."
In North Knoxville, Inskip Pool offers the American Red Cross swim program, combining swim instruction with a strong emphasis on drowning prevention.
Lessons are $60. They are offered Monday through Thursday evenings for two consecutive weeks.
The city also offers lifeguard training for those 15 years or older.
Inskip Pool will open on Memorial Day weekend.
"Traditionally it's just a wonderful little vacation, just a hamlet, just a staycation, just to come and have fun and to enjoy a day and afternoon. It's just a lovely place," City of Knoxville Aquatics Specialist Randy Love added.
Outside of the water, Knoxville offers free activities for families throughout the summer.
Kid A'Riffic Fun in the Park takes place every Wednesday at a different city park during June and July, except for the week of July 4th.
It's open to all families and features crafts and games for kids 2 to 12 years old.
It's free and no registration is required.
"We get so many repeat families, which is great, because we've watched them grow, we've watched their children grow up. And we have one family that comes every single week. And we look forward to seeing them we've you know, made friendships with a lot of the families and they come to our other events," City of Knoxville Special Events Director Kyndra Brewer said.
Safety City is this year's newest partner. This summer's Kid A' Riffic schedule will be posted within a few weeks.
If you're unable to make it to those events, a playground on wheels will come to you!
KORE Mobile Outreach is a traveling recreation program for Knoxville's underserved communities.
A 14-foot box truck loaded with equipment and games for kids of all ages and abilities will visit a different park every week during the summer. It's free to participate.
"Transportation and getting access to recreation can be challenging," City of Knoxville Recreation Specialist Megan Gerlach said. "One thing I really love about this program is that we're able to bring outreach and recreation programming to the communities, especially those that don't have access otherwise."