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. Then 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 Metrozoo). 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.
•HistoryMiami. (formerly the Historical Museum of Southern Florida). Family Fun Days, which are the second Saturday of each month, are free for all children and adults.
•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 Art Museum (MAM). Free admission the second Saturday of the month with activities for families from 1-4 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 305-373-5437m extension 126, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
•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.
•Miami Science Museum. Free one Saturday per month, day varies. The Tripod + Program is available from 1-3 p.m. Preregistration is required.
•The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum. at Florida International University’s Modesto Maidique campus is always free. One Wednesday of the month, there is a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. with a lecture and a chance to meet artists.
•Wolfsonian-FIU. Free every Friday from 6-9 p.m, often with films, talks and café drinks specials.
Library Museum Pass Program. The 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, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Fruit & Spice Park, HistoryMiami, Miami Art Museum, Miami Children’s Museum, Miami Science Museum, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and Zoo Miami.
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 the Miami Art Museum, Miami Children’s Museum, Miami Science Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami and the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach.
Here are the free museum days in Broward:
•Coral Springs Museum of Art. Free every Wednesday
•Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale. Free 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the third Thursdays of the month
•Art and Culture Center of Hollywood. Free many third Sundays of the month, noon to 4 p.m.
•Plantation Historical Museum. Free entry, days and hours vary, 954-797-2722
Bank of America Museums on Us program in Broward:
•Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science. In Fort Lauderdale, free the first full weekend of the month for guests with eligible Bank of America and Merrill Lynch credit or debit cards
•Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale. Free the first full weekend of the month for guests with eligible Bank of America and Merrill Lynch credit or debit cards
•IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum. In Dania Beach, free the first full weekend of the month for guests with eligible Bank of America and Merrill Lynch credit or debit cards
Onelia Collazo Mendive, a mother of twins, writes about deals, discounts and free events in Miami-Dade for MiamiontheCheap.com