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Museums free for military families this summer

Taking an entire family to a museum can run into the three figures. But military families can get a big break thanks to Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense.

The program offers FREE admission to more than 2,000 museums across America for the nation’s service members, including National Guard and Reserve, and their families.

The 2023 Blue Star Museums program begins on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, and ends on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4

For the rest of the year, be sure to read our post on Military Appreciation discounts available all year.

Photo: Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

Who is eligible?

The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. This includes reservists, National Guard members (regardless of status), U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members.

Do I need to show an ID card?

Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC)DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card for entrance into a participating Blue Star Museum.

Does the active-duty member need to be present?

 The military ID holder can be either the active-duty service member or other dependent family member with the appropriate ID card;  the active-duty member does not have to be present for family members to use the program. Just bring your DD Form 1173 ID Card, or DD Form 1173-1 ID Card.

What about retirees and veterans?

If you are a retiree or veteran, ask the museum you plan to visit if they offer reduced or special rates for military members who aren’t currently serving.

What museums participate?

Typically, more than 2,000 museums across America participate in Blue Star Museums each summer. And “museums” aren’t just about fine art, history or science. The list includes children’s museums, zoos and nature centers. Note: The list may change from year to year.

If you’re vacationing, run a quick search before creating an itinerary. To search for participating museums, click here.

Photo: Frost Science Museum

Miami-Dade County

Broward County

Photo: Cox Science Center and Aquarium

 Palm Beach County

Florida Keys

Our sister site, LivingOnTheCheap.com contributed information to this post.

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More museum discounts

If you're looking for other ways to visit museums free, check out our list of free museum days in South Florida.

Other museum deals, free days and special events:

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Free admission, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton

9:00 am to 4:00 pm | FREE | Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton

Free film: Sea Turtles of the Palm Beaches

10:30 am | FREE | Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach

Farm Tours at Tradewinds Park

11:30 am to 2:00 pm | $3.00-4.50 | Tradewinds Park

Shark & Stingray Feedings, Delray Beach

1:00 pm | $10.00 | Sandoway Discovery Center, Delray Beach

Merrick House Museum Guided Tours

1:00 pm to 4:00 pm | $0-5.00 | Merrick House Museum, Miami-Dade

Monday, April 15, 2024

Free tour of the Adrienne Arsht Center

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm | FREE | Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami

Loggerhead Marinelife Center: Fish Feeding Talks

1:30 pm to 12:00 am | FREE | Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Free admission, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton

9:00 am to 4:00 pm | FREE | Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton

Shark & Stingray Feedings, Delray Beach

1:00 pm | $10.00 | Sandoway Discovery Center, Delray Beach

Loggerhead Marinelife Center: Fish Feeding Talks

1:30 pm to 12:00 am | FREE | Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Free admission, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton

9:00 am to 4:00 pm | FREE | Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton

Shark & Stingray Feedings, Delray Beach

1:00 pm | $10.00 | Sandoway Discovery Center, Delray Beach

Loggerhead Marinelife Center: Fish Feeding Talks

1:30 pm to 12:00 am | FREE | Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach

Reptile Encounter: Jupiter

2:30 pm | FREE | Riverbend Park, Jupiter

Animal feedings at nature center, WPB

3:30 pm | FREE | Okeeheelee Nature Center, West Palm Beach

Vizcaya Village Block Party

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm | $5.00-10.00 | Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Free admission, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton

9:00 am to 4:00 pm | FREE | Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton

Shark & Stingray Feedings, Delray Beach

1:00 pm | $10.00 | Sandoway Discovery Center, Delray Beach

Loggerhead Marinelife Center: Fish Feeding Talks

1:30 pm to 12:00 am | FREE | Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach

Animal feedings at nature center, WPB

3:30 pm | FREE | Okeeheelee Nature Center, West Palm Beach

Morikami after hours Sunset Stroll, Delray Beach

5:30 pm to 8:00 pm | $5.00-10.00 | Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Friday, April 19, 2024

Free admission, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton

9:00 am to 4:00 pm | FREE | Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton

Shark & Stingray Feedings, Delray Beach

1:00 pm | $10.00 | Sandoway Discovery Center, Delray Beach

Loggerhead Marinelife Center: Fish Feeding Talks

1:30 pm to 12:00 am | FREE | Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach

Animal Feeding: Aquatic Turtles, Boynton Beach

2:15 pm | FREE | Green Cay Nature Center & Wetlands, Boynton Beach

Animal feedings at nature center, WPB

3:30 pm | FREE | Okeeheelee Nature Center, West Palm Beach

Art After Dark: Live performances, tours, workshops, Fridays at The Norton, WPB

5:00 pm to 10:00 pm | $5.00-10.00 | Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach

Jai-Alai, spring season, Miami

6:30 pm to 10:00 pm | FREE | Magic City Fronton, Miami

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Earth Day: Great American Beach Cleanup, Juno Beach

8:30 am to 2:00 pm | FREE | Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach

Free admission, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton

9:00 am to 4:00 pm | FREE | Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton

Naturalist-guided Dry Swamp Walking Tours, Big Cypress

9:30 am to 2:00 pm | $10.00 | Big Cypress Gallery, Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades

Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU free every Saturday

10:00 am to 4:00 pm | FREE | Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU

Free film: Sea Turtles of the Palm Beaches

10:30 am | FREE | Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach

Farm Tours at Tradewinds Park

11:30 am to 2:00 pm | $3.00-4.50 | Tradewinds Park

Free tour of the Adrienne Arsht Center

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm | FREE | Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami

Shark & Stingray Feedings, Delray Beach

1:00 pm | $10.00 | Sandoway Discovery Center, Delray Beach

Merrick House Museum Guided Tours

1:00 pm to 4:00 pm | $0-5.00 | Merrick House Museum, Miami-Dade

Alligator feedings at nature center, WPB

1:00 pm | FREE | Okeeheelee Nature Center, West Palm Beach

Loggerhead Marinelife Center: Fish Feeding Talks

1:30 pm to 12:00 am | FREE | Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach

Night sky viewing with telescopes in west Broward

8:00 pm to 11:00 pm | FREE | Fox Observatory

See all the free and cheap events this week.

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