Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Homeschooling and Free Museum Admission

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the opportunity to provide tailored enrichment activities to accompany our lessons and cater to Pip's interests. If I were not careful, the cost of these field trips and hands-on experiences could add up quickly. So, of course, free and almost free admission opportunities are my favorite places to start when planning our outings! Today I've got museums on my mind.

Although I'm writing about these for use in conjunction with our homeschool, they could all just as easily make for great family days out.

Some venues are always free. The Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, for example, is technically free (although they gently ask a voluntary admission of $2/adult, $1/child). Pip loves to visit the rotating exhibits, but her favorite feature is Kaleidoscope Kave.

Some venues have a set recurring free admission opportunity. For example, when we lived in Atlanta, the High Museum of Art offered free admission to all Fulton County residents on the first Saturday of every month.

Some locations offer isolated free or reduced admission opportunities. Last winter, as a way to contribute to the Nashville food bank, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts offered admission in return for canned goods. This is not without cost, but it was a way to help feed the community while checking out the museum for less than the price of a ticket. (I would like to note here that we frequent the Frist, and children's admission is always free!)

Some organizations of which you may already be a part offer free or discounted admission to events and venues; if you are a veteran, a member of a credit or other type of union, AAA, etc, definitely check your member perks to see what you might be missing! Chris and I have a low limit, no annual fee credit card with Bank of America, and one of the perks is monthly "Museums on Us" weekends where BoA covers the cost of admission for cardholders and their children. There's a full list on the website of locations that take part in this program.

For me, the easiest way to keep up with free admission opportunities is through social media. I follow all my favorite educational venues on Facebook, including museums in our region. Occasionally I'll see a free admission day, and that's when we plan a trip or take a spur of the moment opportunity to visit. If I don't see any discount days coming up at a venue we'd like to see, I will call or email them and ask if they offer any discounts; the worst thing they can tell me is no, right?

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