Best free museums for the whole family


Holly Johnson

Holly Johnson

Blog author Holly Johnson

Published August 24, 2018|4 min read

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Museums offer experiences that can be both educational and fun, whether you’re learning about dinosaurs, playing in a make-believe log cabin or viewing famous art. Fortunately, many museums around the country offer free admission for kids 24/7, or on specific days.

The next time you have a day to spend with your kids, consider one of these family-friendly museum experiences.

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The California Science Center, Los Angeles

Learn about ancient mummies, giant pandas, aerospace rockets and more at this immersive museum. The permanent exhibits are free for both parents and children every day.

The Children’s Museum of Houston, Texas

This museum offers an array of interactive displays, ranging from obstacle courses to invention workshops. On Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the entire family can visit for free.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum, New York

Kids can enjoy a sensory room, a ColorLab, and make-believe food market at the local museum. Every Thursday, local banks sponsor a “Pay as You Wish” promotion from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., making it easy to take the kids for free. If you are visiting the Big Apple for more than day, consider using Google Trips to plan your family-friendly vacation.

Kidspace Children’s Museum, Pasadena, California

This kid-friendly museum features hands-on educational games and other activities meant to bolster creative expression. They also offer a free family night the first Tuesday of every month, excluding September, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Children’s Museum of Tacoma, Washington

Children can build 3D sculptures, play in a pretend forest or curl up with a book at this interactive museum. You can visit any time with “Pay as You Will” admission, making it easy to have an affordable day of fun the entire family will enjoy.

Madison Children’s Museum, Wisconsin

The city of Madison, Wisconsin boasts a children’s museum with a log cabin, art studio and rooftop garden. Take the family for free on the first Wednesday of the month, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Looking for other free activities for the whole family? Here are some other things you can get this summer for free.

Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia, Washington

Olympia’s Hands On Children’s Museum offers what it promises — both indoor and outdoor play areas, with a beach, harbor, forest and gear factory, among other stations. You can get into the museum for free the first Friday of every month from 5 to 9 p.m., with a suggested donation of $5.

Portland Children’s Museum, Oregon

This museum aims to keep children active with a hands-on construction zone, clay studio, miniature supermarket, make-believe pet hospital and more. Walmart sponsors a day of free admission for families on the first Friday of every month, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Denver Art Museum, Colorado

Bring your children on a journey back in time to see famous works of art and learn about their origin. The Denver Art Museum boasts modern and narrative art from different historical periods. There are also special art activities and games for children. Admission is free to the museum on the first Saturday of every month.

Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama

The Birmingham Museum of Art’s mascot, “Bart the Art Bat,” hosts fun activities for children throughout the museum, at one of the many “hands-on” areas. This museum is always free, so you can bring the kids any time.

Grand Rapids Public Museum, Michigan

If you live in Kent County, Michigan, you can bring your children to this local public museum for free. Non-residents pay just $3 for kids and $8 for adults. Exhibits change frequently but focus on science, history and local culture. Traveling out of town? Check out these things you can get for free while on the road.

Orlando Museum of Art, Florida

The Orlando Museum of Art offers periodic free family days. These events help families experience and learn about art through hands-on creative activities and special performances. Check in with the museum to find out when the next free day takes place. Active duty military, veterans and children ages 3 and under are always free.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California

This modern art mecca offers the occasional free family day, where up to two adults can get in free when accompanied by a child 18 and under. Explore the galleries to see paintings, sculptures and photography that highlight trends in architecture and design.

Planning a trip with the family? You can compare travel insurance prices to make sure you are protected.

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