There is a way to have fun with your family without breaking the budget! One of my favorites is with free museums. When you know when and where to go, you can take advantage of these programs that offer low-cost or free museum admission. Since we have a family of five, regular museum admission can really add up!
Blue Star Museums
The Blue Star Museums Program offers military families FREE admission between Memorial Day and Labor Day to over 2,000 participating museums nationwide, like the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago (one of our favorites!). All active duty service members including National Guard and their immediate family (up to 5 family members, including spouse, child or sibling) can participate. Check the FAQ for identification requirements and a list of participating museums.
All 19 of the Smithsonian Museums (and the Zoo) in the Washington DC area have free admission year-round!. They are worth the trip if you are coming from out of town. See those and more at 20 Free Things to do in Washington DC with Tweens.
Museums on Us by Bank of America
Bank of America's Museums on Us program offers certain days of the month as FREE to B of A cardholders (just show your card at the admission window). Most museums are participating on the first weekend of the month, like the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The fine print says only the “cardholders” are FREE, so it looks like adults get in free but kids have to pay.
Wells Fargo Free Museum Days
Museums sponsored by Wells Fargo, such as the Museum of Flight in Seattle and the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, offer free days that are open to all. Look on the Tickets page of your favorite museum for more information.
Target's Community Events
Target offers FREE and low-cost museum days at many locations across the country, including Atlanta Children's Museum, Port Discovery in Baltimore, and the Seattle Art Museum. Check the Target Community page for your city.
Local Museums' Free Days
In your city, the local museums may offer certain days for FREE. Some museums, like the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, offer FREE admission to visitors with proof of local residence. Check your favorite museum's website for more information.
What are your favorite free museums?