Your guide to cheap summer fun for the family

PORTLAND, Ore. -- "Mom, we're bored!"

With summer break just around the corner, it's just a matter of time before parents hear those words. To help parents in need and on a budget, here's our "Summer Seven" - the top picks for free or nearly-free fun.

1. Portland Children's Museum

See dinosaurs brought back from extinction at the Portland Children's Museum in the summer exhibit: "Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice." The first Friday of each month is free from 4 to 8 p.m.

More Free Museums - For 20 more free or super cheap museum days, check here.

2. Ladybug Walks

Take a Ladybug Walk at one of Portland's parks on Fridays at 10 a.m. This guided nature hike is perfect for ages 2-5. (Cost: $3-4)

3. Geocaching

For older adventurers, try geocaching - high-tech treasure hunting with GPS devices. There are hundreds of caches hidden throughout the Northwest. You'll find simple prizes inside; the fun is in the hunt!

4. Regal Theaters Summer Movie Express

For those sweltering summer days, head to Regal Theaters for $1 kid movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m.

5. Kids Cook at the Market

Kids learn to cook farm-fresh foods from professional chefs at the PSU Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8:30 to 10 a.m. (Cost: $5)

6. Free Learn to Swim Week

Learn to swim for free at Portland public pools. The four days of lessons run June 18-21 at selected pools. You need to register in person on Saturday, June 8.

7. Conestoga Recreation Center's Splash Pad

Visit one the area's newest water spots: Splash Pad at the Conestoga Recreation Center in Beaverton. (Cost: $3)

Want more?
See summer-tested suggestions from KATU viewers on my Facebook page.

Want even more?
Many libraries and park districts also offer free summer events. Check out the links below for more information.