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14 Summer Activities and Events in Reno and Sparks

Schools out for summer and you might be like me, looking for fun ways to keep your little(s) busy. 

You might know all about the go-to summer activities that everyone talks about – Tahoe, Aces ball games, and visiting Virginia City, but there is SO MUCH MORE that northern Nevada has to offer.

Summer Activities in Reno and Sparks

I’ve scoped out these amazing summer activities that you may not have heard about and I am sharing some of our favorite summer activities with you!

Here’s our list of summer activities and events happening in northern Nevada in no particular order. 

Lazy 5 Summer Music Series

Located in Spanish Springs, the Lazy 5 concerts series kicks off June 23rd and Runs through August 25. Look forward to 10 concerts featuring 10 quality local artists to entertain families, friends, and neighbors in the Spanish Springs/Sparks area.

Food trucks and mobile pub present at every show. Arrive early and bring a blanket/chairs. 

Location: 7100 Pyramid Way, Sparks, NV 89436

Dates/Times: June 23-August 25, 2021, Wednesdays from 6:30-8pm

Cost: Free

Reno River Festival

The Reno River Festival returns June 12-13 in the heart of Downtown Reno. It’ll feature local craft beer, food, craft vendors, and musical acts. 

Location: Downtown Reno along the river

Dates/Times: June 12-13

Cost: $10 for both days and can be purchased here. 

There *is an entry fee this year due to the pandemic and only pre-purchased tickets are guaranteed entry into the festival. 

Kids Kits & Activities at The Home Depot

Due to COVID-19, in-person workshops have been suspended, but take-home kits are available the first Saturday of each month for fun, supervised projects. 

Includes pre-cut materials. You can also take virtual field trips online at their “Future Doers” website.

Location: Downtown Reno along the river

Dates/Times: June 12-13

Cost: FREE, monthly – simply show up and ask for one.

Farmers Markets 

Support local growers while shopping for fresh fruits and veggies. There are a number of markets to choose from in the Reno-Sparks area.  Check websites for official opening dates and schedule changes before visiting.

For the best selection and fewer crowds, get to the market early.

You can check out the full list of farmer’s markets from Nevada Moms here. Here are a few markets that I like.

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Animal Ark 

See the animals in action – from cheetahs running at top speeds to wolves howling! The first event of the summer season is, “Breakfast with the Animals,” June 12 from 8-10am.

Browse their events calendar here, either as a list or by month. 

Location: 1265 Deerlodge Rd Reno, Nevada 89508

Dates/Times: Mondays: Closed, Tuesday through Sunday: 10:00am – 4:30pm

Cost: $14.00 for adults, $12.00 for seniors (62+), $9.00 for children (3-12), Free for children 2 and under

Give yourself about 3 hours to explore the Animal Ark. Reservations required for special events due to limited availability. Check their website for details 

Taylor Creek Visitors Center

Three miles north of South Lake Tahoe you’ll find a number of self-guided tours and a viewing chamber to see an underwater view of fish in the lake. 

Take the Rainbow Trail for the viewing chamber. It’s an easy 1/2-mile paved walk.

Location: Visitor Center Rd. CA-89 (3 miles N of South Lake Tahoe), South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Dates/Times: Visitor Center is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00am-4:30pm, guided tours available at anytime

Cost: Free

Wilderness permits for backcountry access are also available at the visitor’s center. 

Reno Chalk Art & Music Festival at the Atlantis  

This is one of my favorite events of the summer. More than 70 artists gather to create incredible artwork with chalk. Friday – Sunday, July 9 – 11, 2021 in the Atlantis West Parking Lot.

Location: Atlantis West Parking Lot

Dates/Times: July 9-11th

Cost: Free

Attend on the final day for the best photos / to see the completed projects. 

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Tommy’s GrandStand – Batting Cages

Full-service grill and deli with 5 enclosed batting cages and various arcade games. Alcoholic Beverages available for purchase.

Location: 830 Meredith Way, Sparks

Dates/Times: Tuesday – Friday from 11am – 9pm, Saturday & Sunday from 9am-5pm

Cost: $3.25 per token

20 pitches per token at $3.25 each. If you purchase 10 tokens, you get 2 extra tokens for free.

Feed the Camel 

Reno’s hump day food truck event featuring local eats and craft beer is back.

Location: Mckinley Arts and Culture Center, 925 Riverside Dr.

Dates/Times: Wednesdays 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Cost: Free

Fleischmann Planetarium at UNR 

Location: North of Lawlor Events Center on North Virginia and 16th Street

Dates/Times: Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 3:00, 5:00, and 7:00pm

Cost: Show admission $50, Group program for household up to 5 members (covid rules)

You must purchase your show tickets online in advance. No cash sales can be accommodated at the Planetarium. 

Free permit parking is available in the West Stadium Parking Complex, level 3, just east of the planetarium. Park between designated Planetarium parking signs.

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Golden Owl Bookshop

Golden Owl Bookshop is Northern Nevada’s first retail bookstore on wheels. Check out their social site for an updated schedule. 

Location: In the Sparks Galleria Shopping Center next to Sprouts

Dates/Times: Thursday – Sunday, hours vary.

Cost: Free

The truck is air-conditioned and features indestructible books which are chew-proof, rip-proof, nontoxic, and 100% washable. 

El Rancho Drive-In Movie Theater

There’s always something exciting going on at West Wind Drive-In. Sparks’ retro drive-in movie theater offers a family fun night on Tuesdays with admission prices just $5 for adults. 

Showtimes and ticket info here.

Location: 555 El Rancho Dr.

Dates/Times: Thursday – Sunday, hours vary.

Cost: $7.75 for adults, $1.75 for children ages 5 to 11, Ages 4 and under free

Save some cash and bring your own snacks. Special event(s) include a Florida Georgia Line, Nelly, & Chase Rice concert Saturday, June 12.

All Fired Up

All Fired Up 

DIY arts and crafts arts. From pottery painting to succulent gardens and slime making. Open daily from 11a.m. – 6p.m. Located in the Legends shopping mall at 1

Location: 350 Scheels Drive, Sparks

Dates/Times: Open daily from 11:00am-6:00pm

Cost: Prices range from $15-$50 per item.

Kids’ birthday packages and large group gatherings are available. They can even bring the supplies to you for a private party experience! Book here. 

For other birthday party options for kids in Reno, Sparks, and Carson City, head here.

The National Automobile Museum 

Families can check out the cars and displays while creating their own automotive adventures. 

You can also download the free Passport to Adventure workbook which includes stories, a map of the international race route, word searches, word scrambles, connect-the-dot drawings and more. Download the activity book here.

The Nevada Space Center is a must-see exhibit at the museum. Kids can be astronauts, fly a spaceship and drive a surface rover.

Location: 10 South Lake Street, Reno, NV 89501

Dates/Times: Monday – Saturday: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm, Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm

Cost: Admission varies

Adult: $12

Senior (62 and older): $10

Youth (6 to 18 years old): $6

Children (5 and younger): FREE

Member: FREE

Parking: FREE

What Summer Activities Will You Be Enjoying?

Summer is here and we cannot wait! Hope you will be enjoying these summer activities in Reno and Sparks just as much as my family will be.

See you out there, Nevada Moms!

nevada moms contributor shannon
Shannon Bonetti

Shannon Bonetti is a former TV news anchor turned PR consultant expecting her first child in July 2020. She’s originally from the Bay Area but has lived in Nevada for the last 10 years. When she’s not managing clients, Shannon is usually hanging with her hubby Brett and their two pups Timber and Bentley. Her hobbies are cooking, reading and volunteering with local nonprofits. Her favorite weekend activities include day-tripping to Tahoe or scouring the internet for good deals!