Free museum days

A family looks at a train in the Gold Coast Railroad Museum

Visiting museums can get expensive, particularly if you take the whole family, but many South Florida museums have free admission at least once a month, and some schedule special activities on those days. With these, you can actually afford to buy snacks or buy your kids a souvenir.

The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is free the first Saturday of the month. It’s right next to Zoo Miami (formerly Metro Zoo). My daughter loved the train that looked like one in the Polar Express movie, and my son loved the inflatable bounce houses that they take out the first Saturday of the month or for children’s parties.

Here are the free museum days in Miami-Dade:

  • Bass Museum of Art. IDEA@thebass is free for children and adults the last Sunday of every month, 2-4 p.m. Activities include art projects, scavenger hunts and prizes.
  • Gold Coast Railroad Museum. Free the first Saturday of the month except in March when the museum hosts the popular Day out with Thomas. Tickets to ride a train range from $2.50 to $12 per ticket. It’s great for any train enthusiast, Thomas the Tank Engine lover or young kids. The food is reasonably priced (Frankie’s pizza food truck) and there are plenty of trains to explore.
  • Lowe Art Museum. Admission is free on Donation Day, the first Tuesday of each month. A free gallery tour is at 1 p.m.
  • Miami Children’s Museum. Free the third Friday of month from 3-9 p.m., with interactive activities and crafts. You can also explore hundreds of bilingual, interactive exhibits related to art, culture, community and communication. Also, once a month, the museum holds Sensory Saturdays for children with disabilities and reserves the museum from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Admission is offered at the reduced rate of $6. Preregistration is required by calling 305-373-5437 extension 126, or e-mailing sensorysaturday@miamichildrensmuseum.org.
  • Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science (formerly the Miami Science Museum). Free planetarium shows on Fabulous First Fridays, the first Friday of the month. The free Tripod+ Program is available from 1-3 p.m. one Saturday per month. Preregistration is required.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA). Galleries are open by donation the last Friday of every month from 7-10 p.m. with free jazz in the courtyard at 8 p.m. Jazz at MOCA is South Florida’s longest running free outdoor jazz concert series.
  • The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum. This museum located at Florida International University’s Modesto Maidique campus is always free. One Wednesday of the month, there is a reception from 6-9 p.m. with a lecture and a chance to meet artists.
  • Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). (Formerly Miami Art Museum) Free admission the second Saturday of the month with activities for families from 1-4 p.m., including family-friendly tours and chances for children to create art. The museum also is free to visitors the first Thursday of every month, and there will be talks, performances and movie screenings on Thursday nights, when the museum is open until 9 p.m.
  • Wolfsonian-FIU. Free every Friday from 6-9 p.m, often with films, talks and café drinks specials.

Library Museum Pass ProgramThe Miami-Dade Public Library System offers a chance to visit some of our best local museums and attractions for free. Visit your nearest branch library and get a museum pass with your library card. The Museum Pass offers visitors free admission for a family of four to the Deering Estate at Cutler, Fruit & Spice Park, HistoryMiamiMiami Children’s Museum, Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of SciencePérez Art Museum MiamiVizcaya Museum and Gardens and Zoo Miami.

Here are the free museum days in Broward:

Bank of America Museum on Us. On the first weekend of every month, anyone with a Bank of America credit or debit card can get free admission to museums nationwide through the Museums on Us program.

In Miami-Dade, you can use your card for free admission to:

In Broward, you can get one free admission to: