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Free and Low Cost Family Activities

Access Arts-School of Services, Inc.
1724 McAlester Columbia, MO 65201
(573) 875-0275

Hours: Studio Hours 9:00 am- 5:00 pm. Daily class schedules available
Services: Quality art classes accessible to people of all ages, incomes, backgrounds and abilities,
including people with disabilities, to elevate people to a higher level of creativity in which art
becomes a threshold to life.
Eligibility: Anyone with interest in the classes from age 4 through senior citizens
Fees: Sliding scale (free to full cost based on ability to pay)

Armory Sports and Recreation Center
701 E. Ash St., Columbia, MO 65201
573-817-5077 and 573-874-6378

Hours: Mon-Fri during the school year: 2:30 PM - 6:30 PM After-School Recreation: Many activities available including: homework assistance, Armory Summer Camp, sports in the gym, air hockey, ping pong, foosball, a safe dartboard, games, movies, computer lab, and quiet classroom space. Staff is available to provide hands-on assistance to the youth. The program is available at no cost to youth 8 years and older.
This indoor facility is used for basketball, volleyball, meetings, aerobics, events, and after school programs. The Community Recreation and C.A.R.E. (Career Awareness Related Experience) programs along with the CoMo Bike Co-op are located in the Armory.

Boone County History and Culture Center
3801 Ponderosa St Columbia, MO 65201

(573) 443-8936

Hours: Year-round except for major holidays Wednesdays - Saturdays, 10am - 5pm, Sundays, 12noon - 5pm. Boone Junction tours April - October during business hours and by appointment only. 
Services: The Boone County History & Culture Center includes history exhibits, the Montminy Art Gallery, a genealogy library, the Village at Boone Junction, and the Maplewood House. Volunteer opportunities are available. Venue rentals are also available including a conference room, the art gallery and the veranda/gazebo. The Center presents concerts, book talks, children's programming and other artistic programs to the public.
Fees: Free admission to History & Culture Center. Fees are charged for venue rentals, certain special events and Boone Junction tours.

Columbia Farmers Market
1769 W Ash St, Columbia, MO 65203
Summer Season: Saturdays: 8am-12pm (March 9-October)
Winter Season: Saturdays 9am-12pm (Nov.-March)
Weekday Season: Tuesdays 10am-1pm & Thursdays 3-6pm (May-October)

Services: Offers locally grown or produced goods to the public including fruits, vegetable, meats, breads, plants and flowers.The Access to Healthy Food (AHF) program helps low-income families with young children eat healthy food by matching SNAP and WIC benefits at the Columbia Farmers Market. Families that receive SNAP and/or WIC beneifits with children under the age of 19 are eligible to double their benefits up to $25 each Saturday market.
Eligibility: Anyone can attend the market, located at the corner of West Blvd. and Worley
Fees: Free to customers

Columbia Parks and Recreation
1 South 7th St. Columbia, MO 65205
(573)874-7460  Fax: (573)874-7640
Office Hours: 8-5 pm (Monday through Friday)

Aquatic Facilities (charge for admission):

Services: Coordinates programs and activities for all ages and abilities including swimming, golf, sport leagues, golf lessons, outdoor programs, senior programming, specialized recreation including Special Olympics, and classes for all ages from dance to tae kwon do; coordinates many city wide special events; recreational programs and classes are held at the Armory Sports Center, the Arc (Activities and Recreation Center), Hillcrest Community Center and Paquin Towers; manages 5 aquatic facilities and two golf courses; responsible for designing, building, and maintaining all park facilities and managing over 3000 acres of parkland and 50 miles of trails in 70 parks; publicizes program activity information in the Leisure Times guide (published three times a year), available at the office or on the web site.  
Eligibility: Certain programs have specific criteria (call for information)
Fees: Varies for activity.  Financial assistance is available.

Community Garden Coalition, Inc.
PO Box 7051, Columbia, MO 65205
Hours: 24 hour answering machine

Services: Provides garden plots, water, seeds, plants, expertise, necessary supplies, and physical assistance with gardening when necessary to Columbia and Boone County residents.
Fee: None
Eligibility: Anyone

Daniel Boone Regional Library
Columbia Library: 100 West Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201
Southern Boone County: 109 Main St, Ashland, MO 65010
Callaway County Library: 710 Court Street, Fulton, MO 65251
Columbia Hours: 9:00a.m.-9:00p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9:00a.m.-6:00p.m. Friday, 9:00a.m.-5:00p.m. Saturday, 1:00p.m.-5:00p.m. Sunday
Southern Boone Hours: 9:00a.m.-7:00p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9:00a.m-3:00p.m. Friday and Saturday
Callaway County Hours: 9:00a.m.-9:00p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9:00am-5:00p.m. Friday and Saturday
Columbia (573)443-3161, Ashland (573)657-7378, Fulton (573)642-7261
Fax: Columbia (573)499-0191

Services: Free access to books, audiobooks, magazines, music CDs, newspapers, DVDs, electronic resources and other library material; ESL and Spanish language materials; consumer and government information; telephone and e-mail reference information; public access computers; story times for children; summer reading program for children, teens and adults; One Read community reading program; events and classes for children, teens and adults; tours; bookmobile service to rural communities, neighborhoods and licensed child care centers; home and nursing home visits for homebound persons; liaison with Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped; eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, comic books, streaming music, TV shows & movies, continuing education classes, genealogy resources, yearbook archive and other online resources
Fee: None
Eligibility: Open to citizens of Boone and Callaway Counties
Intake Procedures: Call Outreach Department for mail, bookmobile, and shut-in service; walk-in or phone for other services
Required Documentation for Services: Proof of residency required for library card, some services available without a library card (reference services, magazines & newspapers, tax forms, etc.) Adults can apply online:
Geographic Area Served: Boone, Callaway Counties; Locations: Columbia, Ashland, Fulton
Foreign Languages Spoken: Spanish is spoken by some staff
Other Names/Acronyms: Columbia Public Library

First Chance for Children
1010 Fay Street Columbia, MO 65201

First Chance for Children provides a wide range of comprehensive programming designed to support families with their specific parenting needs. From diapers and cribs, to parent education, play groups, and more, First Chance for Children has a service for all families with children under the age of 5. Together, we can ensure all children are ready for school, ready for life.
Safe C.R.I.B.S., which stands for Community Resources, Infant Beds, and Support, provides infants without a safe place to sleep a pack and play crib. The crib is delivered to the family and is followed by 5 additional home visits focusing on family wellbeing and child safety.  CRIBS is open to low-income families or those experiencing high parenting stress
Baby Bags provides diapers, wipes, hygiene items, and other supplies needed to provide care and comfort to children delivered along with Child development and safety information. Items are available at the First Chance office or through one of our partner programs. 
Lend and Learn Libraries are a free, fun place where parents can play with their children ages 0-5, interact with other parents, and ask trained staff questions about development or other concerns. Toys are available for check out so families can extend learning and play at home. Eligibility: open to anyone caring for a child under the age of 5. 
Baby U is a home visiting program supporting families with their specific parenting needs. Using the Nurturing Parenting and Parents as Teachers models, staff walk alongside families with children prenatally through the first semester of kindergarten providing resources, education, and support.  Eligibility: Baby U is open to low-income families or those experiencing high parenting stress
Geographic Area Served:  Boone, Howard, Cooper, Randolph, Audrain, Callaway, Moniteau, Cole, and Osage Counties.

Fun Family Events
A current listing of family events in the Columbia area, most are free of charge.