Right about now, parents all over the Valley are beginning to count the days until another school year gets underway. And kids are feeling restless or bored. Turns out there’s an “app” for that. It’s called a museum. Arizona is full of them, and several offer free admission. Here’s a quick sampling to get you started (with a star by those offering special programs for families)…
- Arizona Capitol Museum
- Arizona Military Museum
- ASUArt Museum*
- ASU Museum of Anthropology
- The Chandler Museum
- Tempe History Museum*
- Shemer Art Center & Museum
- Phoenix Airport Museum
- Wells Fargo Museum
- Phoenix Police Museum
Several Valley museums participate in the “Culture Pass” program, a partnership between Phoenix metro public libraries and area museums that gives cardholders free admission (for two people) at participating museums. Parents can ”check out” available culture passes at their local library. Some libraries, like those that are part of the Scottsdale Public Library system, allow parents to search culture pass availability online.
Museums currenly participating in the Culture Pass program include Arizona Historical Society, Arizona Museum of Natural History, Arizona Science Center, Cave Creek Museum, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Deer Valley Rock Art Center, Desert Botanical Garden, Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Zoo, Pueblo Grande Museum and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
Parents who’ve got Bank of America/Merrill Lynch cards can present them with photo I.D. to get free admission during select weekends at participating Valley museums through the “Museums on Us” program. Three Valley museums are currently taking part in the program — Phoenix Art Museum, Musical Instrument Museum and Children’s Museum of Phoenix.
The Blue Star Museums program offers free admission at participating museums to all active-duty personnel and their families from Labor Day 2012 through Memorial Day 2012. Blue Star Museums is a collaboration of the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the U.S. Department of Defense and participating museums.
The Blue Star Families website lists nearly three dozen museums in Arizona that participate in the program — including River of Time Museum in Fountain Hills, Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa, Arizona Science Center in Phoenix, Heard Museum in Phoenix, Challenger Space Center Arizona in Peoria and more.
Target offers a “Target Three for Free” program at three Mesa museums — Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum at Mesa Arts Center, Arizona Museum of Natural History and Arizona Museum for Youth – on the first Sunday of each month.
To learn more about diverse museums throughout Arizona, visit the Central Arizona Museum Association at cama.org – where you can search for museums by type, region and location.