Places Tagged free museum

Independence Hall

Nestled in the California Marketplace adjacent to Knott's Theme Park, this exact replica of Independence Hall will take you on a journey back in time. Free admission gives you and your brood access to historic artifacts, an audio presentation of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and an up close view of a replica of the enormous Liberty Bell. While a gift shop filled with history-related souvenirs can be found inside, you and your family may have just as much fun copping a seat on the benches alongside a pond just outside watching ducks, roosters and chickens roam freely. And, you can find free parking next to the marketplace new TGI Friday's for up to three hours.

The Bunny Museum

Whether you love bunny paraphernalia or just want to give your kids the opportunity to pet a live rabbit, this in-home exhibition run by a married couple who loves the long-eared pets is a fun alternative to the usual museum. From bunny lunch pails to carousel rabbits, the Pasadena home features bunny memorabilia of all kinds, currently holding the record for the largest collection of rabbits. Be sure to scope out the room in the back stacked from the floor all the way up to the ceiling with stuffed rabbits and ask about the freeze-dried bunnies. Along the way, you can also pet the rabbits hopping freely around their home or housed in the backyard. Admission is free and by appointment only, but the suggested donation is $5 per person or a potted plant or herb to feed the bunnies.

The Walters Art Museum

This art museum offers the permanent exhibits free to the public, located in one of the prettiest areas of Baltimore this is a great afternoon destination for you and your family. The permanent exhibits include Asian art, ancient Islamic art, and art from the Medieval, Renaissance, and 18th and 19th centuries. The permanent exhibits give a good tour of history and good cultural diversity. The touring exhibits are always interesting, but do require a fee for admission. In the past exhibits have included interesting exhibits like ancinet Egyptian art that also included an interactive piece allowing children to create their own hieroglyphics. 

Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum

For the ultimate fun-seeking family looking for something unusual to do, a stop to Marvin’s is a must. The fully interactive museum is open to the public 365 days a year with free admission. Over 1,000 electric outlets, 40 foot ceilings and 5,500 square feet of floor space containing an array of buzzing and clattering new and vintage mechanical devices, oddities and games. Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum is listed in the World Almanac as one of the 100 most unusual museums. Marvin himself travels the world looking for unique coin-operated devices, both old and new. Some of his machines are custom made just for him, and cannot be seen in operation anywhere else in the world. Bring a roll of quarters and let the fun begin!

History Museum of San Jose

A collection of different parts of San Jose's history all combined into one area. The Transportation History exhibit starts with the Native Americans traveling by foot and canoe, and follows travel all the way through to the airport and high speed rail system. A collection of buildings can be found here, and include Bank of Italy, Blacksmith Shop, Empire Firehouse, Pasetta House, Stevens Ranch Fruit Barn and Umbarger House. Special events are always scheduled, and can be found on their website. The History Park section holds family activities every weekend from May through October. Admission is free for everybody November through April.

North Carolina Museum of Art

An art museum with the kids? Yes! Art is far more accessible than you might think, especially contemporary art and architecture. And the North Carolina Museum of Art, recently expanded, has artful accessibility to spare. The galleries and grounds are stunning; make a scavenger hunt out of looking at art, such as finding all the paintings with dogs or flowers. The museum also has regular gallery programs for kids and families. There often are special events and concerts at the museum, so keep your eye on the museum calendar. After perusing the galleries, let the kids get some energy out on the beautiful museum park grounds. And the best part of the museum is that it is, for the most part, free (some special exhibits may have admission fees).

Carolina Baskeball Museum

"If God didn't root for Carolina, why did He make the sky Tar Heel blue?" goes the popular saying around Chapel Hill. For the college basketball lover -- or aspirant -- a stop into the Carolina Basketball Museum is worth the time. Located on the first floor of the Williamson Athletics Center, you’ll learn all there is to know about Tar Heel basketball, including the rivalry with the Cameron Crazies in nearby Durham. See mementos of previous tournament runs, and memorabilia from some the UNC-Chapel Hill’s best known basketball playing alums. There are jerseys and balls and details of some of the most famous Tar Heel wins -- and losses -- and see all the March Madness stats.. Get close to the trophies, too. Lots of them.

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Besides being free, the best thing about Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is its size. It’s not a daunting maze or a yawning cavernous space. It’s a small, modern museum that can be taken in rather quickly, and, because of the rotating exhibits in its gallery, there is always something new to see on every return visit. The highly-rated Café Sebastian is onsite and open for lunch and dinner and even brunch on Sunday. Check out the raspberry iced tea—it’s a local seasonal specialty. 

Cable Car Museum

Cable cars are as much a symbol of San Francisco as the Statue of Liberty is to New York, and the San Francisco Cable Car Museum will give you a peek into the history, creators and moving parts of these street kings. As a real working hub for cable cars, this free activity will keep kids and adults alike memorized as the wheels turn and pull the cable cars around the city. Just note that when you go upstairs, keep kids from putting any body part through the gate under the railing over the cables - you and your kids will get stuck! Opt instead for the benches scattered throughout to take a rest. Although this family travel hotspot is a must-see, it only takes about 15 minutes of your day.

The Menil Collection

The Menil Collection is a museum in Houston that is always free to the public. When visiting the city, make sure this museum is on your must-visit list. The Menil Collection is located in the Neartown part of the city, close to the University of St. Thomas. With more than 15,000 pieces, you could spend all day looking at the numerous amazing works of art. Remember that the museum is only open Wednesday through Sunday, with doors opening at 11 am. And while admission is free, be prepared to pay for parking if there is an overflow of traffic in the area. If you want to teach your kids about the world of art, The Menil Collection is a fantastic place to start.


Mitchell Gallery of Flight

Definitely not the most impressive airplane museum you’ll ever visit, given that Mitchell Gallery of Flight houses mainly model airplanes, propellers and other small displays -- however, Mitchell is definitely a boon to traveling families. Instead of being driven nuts by your kids as you wait to board your plane, the Gallery of Flight provides a welcome distraction that’s both entertaining and educational. This micro-museum houses a mix of revolving exhibitions highlighting the best of Wisconsin’s aviation history and a permanent collection detailing the career of the airport’s namesake -- former Wisconsin senator General William “Billy” Mitchell. As an added bonus -- admission to the museum is free!

Olympic Sculpture Park

One of Seattle's hidden gems is certainly the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is part of the city's beloved Seattle Art Museum. Visitors could easily breeze past this fantantic spot, but we promise that it's worth making time for when you're in Seattle. Located on the edge of downtown, between Belltown and the Seattle waterfront, the Olympic Sculpture Park consists of different installation, outdoor art sculptures that are strategically placed around the park. And these are far more than your boring old sculptures -- these will make you and your kids do some serious thinking, as many of the pieces are quite thought provoking. You can also sign up for a free guided tour, which lasts 60-minutes... or schedule a private tour for a small fee.

National Postal Museum

Kids will be fascinated by seeing how mail makes it from the mailbox that they drop it in to its destination. They will see the history of the postal service and how mail has been delivered over the last 200 years, they will see how much the processes have changed and in what ways they have stayed the same. The self guided tours are very user friendly if you pick up a brichure at the base of the escalators that gives all the details of each exhibit. 

National Museum of American Indians

This is the newwest Smithsonian Institute museum, so this may be new to you even if you have been to DC before. It is a wonderful addition to the Smithsonian family showcasing artifacts from Native Americans. This is a group that your children may not know a lot about and will be pleased and intersted to learn about who was here before our country formed, and a special treat for your whole family will be the food you get from the museum cafe. The food is inspired by the traditions of Native Americans. And be sure to check the events calendar during the summer to see if there will be any outdoor concerts of traditional Native American music concerts while you are there. 

National Archives

The National Archives house all the important documents from our nations history including the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Your kids will enjoy seeing letters that presidents wrote to generals during war time and feel like they have some inside knowledge after they read telegrams that President Lincoln sent and hear recordings from the Oval Office. Tours are free but it is highly suggested that you reserve in advance online for a small fee of $1.50. You will leave with a much greater understanding of what was going on behind the scenes for some very imprtant events in our nation's history. 

National Museum of American History

This might be a favorite of all the Smithsonians for your family. Here you will find artifacts of everything Americana, from the dresses of the first lady's to items from your favorite movies (like Dorothy's ruby slippers). Your kids will enjoy the original star spangled banner and will love seeing items from movies they know and learning about old movies that may be some of your favorites. This museum is packed with information on past presidents and their wives as well as some of their personal items. Plan for at least 3 hours here to get the full experience. 

Clark Planetarium

The Clark Planetarium is located in The Gateway shopping center. Their exhibits and museum are open and free to the public 365 days of the year. There is an extra fee for lazer light shows, IMAX movies and other extra activities, but just walking around and learning about the planets and solar system is free. Children of all ages will enjoy walking on the moon and Mars. The demonstration of the Foucault Pendulum was the first real proof that the Earth spins. Learn about the phases of the moon and what creates an eclipse. The giant Earth globe at the entrance of the planetarium will show kids all kinds of information about the planet they live on. Learn about Utah astronauts such as Jake Garn. 

Old Town San Diego

Old Town San Diego is considered the birthplace of California and is now a destination for both locals and tourists.

There are more than 25 restaurants in a one-mile radius offering authentic and cultural cuisine. In addition to the food and shopping, Old Town hosts many events and has nightly entertainment in many of the restaurants. Three park agencies overlook historic sites operated as museums. Located at the northern end of Old Town, Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is the most visited park in the state system and all of its museums are free to the public. There is shopping, attractions and tours available. For lodging, there are hotels as well as bed and breakfast places in restored Victorian homes.

Missouri History Museum

If there’s one thing about St. Louis that keeps families visiting again and again, it is its abundance of free museums. Considering the higher-priced museums found in other Midwestern cities like Chicago (and its famous Field Museum), families can get much more cultural and educational bang for their buck in St. Louis. The Missouri History Museum is no exception. Plan a fun-filled educational day with the family at this picturesque building in the heart of beautiful Forest Park. Be sure to check out 1940s World’s Fair exhibit—an attraction that’s all the more exciting because the museum is actually situated on the World’s Fair grounds. Many seasonal exhibits and displays are specifically designed for children, so visit the museum’s website before planning your trip to see what special events and attractions might be taking place.

House of Pacific Relations International Cottages

The House of Pacific Relations is located in San Diego's Balboa Park. The houses represent 32 countries and promote multicultural goodwill and understanding. The House of Pacific Relations offers cultural and educational programs. Enjoy open houses from 12:00 to 4:00 each Sunday and a lawn program from 2:00 to 3:00. Have fun at this free event featuring arts and crafts, dance, music, traditional costumes and ethnic food. Check the House of Pacific Relations' website for specific program information.