Children’s Museums Offer Free Admission to Furloughed Employees

The recent partial federal government shutdown was the longest in U.S. history, with 800,000 federal employees furloughed or working without pay. Many ACM members around the country offered discounted and free admission to families affected by the shutdown. This list has been updated as of 11:00 a.m. EST on February 1, 2019.


EarlyWorks Children’s Museum (Huntsville, AL) – more info here.


Fairbanks Children’s Museum (Fairbanks, AK) – more info here.


Children’s Museum of Phoenix (Phoenix, AZ) – more info here.


Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito, CA) – more info here. Says the museum, “We recognize that many furloughed employees are still impacted by the shutdown as they wait for back pay, and so are continuing to offer free admission.”

Habitot Children’s Museum (Berkeley, CA) – more info here.

The Lawrence Hall of Science (Berkeley, CA) – more info here.

The New Children’s Museum (San Diego, CA) offered free admission on January 12-13, 2019.

Paso Robles Children’s Museum (Paso Robles, CA) – more info here.


WOW! Children’s Museum (Lafayette, CO) – more info here.


Stepping Stones Museum for Children (Norwalk, CT) is hosting a free event for impacted federal workers and their families, including free admission and pizza, on January 30, 2019. More info here.


Glazer Children’s Museum (Tampa, FL) – more info here

MOSI (Tampa, FL) – more info here.  

Museum of Discovery and Science (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – from the museum: “The Museum of Discovery and Science will offer free admission to furloughed federal workers for the duration of the shutdown. Government employees must present a valid government I.D. at the box office. Admission is good for a total of 2 family members. Admission is for exhibits only.”


Children’s Discovery Museum (Normal, IL) will offer free admission from January 26-27, 2019. More info here.

The Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn (Oak Lawn, IL) – $3 admission through February 1, more info here.

Edwardsville Children’s Museum (Edwardsville, IL) – more info here.

Kohl Children’s Museum (Glenview, IL) – more info here.

Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum (Peoria, IL) – from the museum: “The Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum and the Owens Recreation Center invite Federal Employees impacted by the budget shutdown, along with members of their immediate families, to visit the museum and ice rink without paid admission for the duration of the government shutdown.” Said Director Rebecca Shulman Herz, “We recognize that many families in Peoria are impacted by the Federal Government shut down. We are pleased to offer opportunities for free family fun and learning during this difficult time.”


The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, IN) – through March 10, more info here.

Terre Haute Children’s Museum (Terre Haute, IN) – more info here.


The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center (Topeka, KS) – through January 31, more info here.

Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City (Shawnee, KS) will offer free admission on January 26-27. More info here.


Louisiana Children’s Museum (New Orleans, LA) – more info here.


Children’s Discovery Museum (Augusta, ME) – more info here.

Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine (Portland, ME) – more info here.

Coastal Children’s Museum (Rockland, ME) – from the museum: “All federal employees and their immediate families are welcome to explore the Museum and leave their stress and worry behind, if only for a few fun-filled hours. A current government ID is all that is required at the front desk for free admission.”


KID Museum (Bethesda, MD) – more info here.


Boston Children’s Museum (Boston, MA) – more info here.

Cape Cod Children’s Museum (Mashpee, MA) – more info here.

The Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River (Fall River, MA)

Discovery Museum (Acton, MA) – more info here.

EcoTarium (Worcester, MA) – more info here.


Duluth Children’s Museum (Duluth, MN) – more info here.

Minnesota Children’s Museum (St. Paul, MN) – more info here.


Children’s Museum of Bozeman (Bozeman, MT) – more info here.

New Hampshire

Cheshire Children’s Museum (Keene, NH) – more info here.

Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (Dover, NH) – more info here.

New York

The Children’s Museum at Saratoga (Saratoga Springs, NY) – more info here.

The Children’s Museum of the Arts (New York, NY) – more info here.

Children’s Museum of the East End (Bridgehampton, NY) – more info here.

Long Island Children’s Museum (Garden City, NY) – through January 31, more info here. Said President Suzanne LeBlanc, “Long Island Children’s Museum is designed to be a place of respite where adults and children can escape everyday concerns, as they learn and play together. We know that many families in our community are facing financial hardships as paychecks are missed, and are grappling with childcare issues. We want to support these families and show our appreciation for the important work that they do for all of us.”

Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum (Poughkeepsie, NY) has been hosting “Pizza and Play” events for furloughed workers. Said Executive Director Lara Litchfield-Kimber, “When we first conceived the idea of hosting our Pizza and Play nights for furloughed workers, we wanted to provide an evening of normalcy for those federal employees impacted by the partial government shutdown.” More info here.

Sciencenter (Ithaca, NY) – $1 admission, more info here.

Staten Island Children’s Museum (Staten Island, NY) – more info here.

North Carolina

Discovery Place Kids – Huntersville (Huntersville, NC), Discovery Place Kids – Rockingham (Rockingham, NC), Discovery Place Nature (Charlotte, NC), and Discovery Place Science (Charlotte, NC) – more info here.


COSI (Columbus, OH) – more info here.


Portland Children’s Museum (Portland, OR) – through January 31, more info here. Said Executive Director Ruth Shelly, “The partial government shutdown has put an exceptional strain on families with young children. We at Portland Children’s Museum would like to offer a little respite from that stress by offering a free opportunity to come play and learn together.”


Bucks County Children’s Museum (New Hope, PA) – more info here.

South Carolina

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry (Charleston, SC) – more info here.

The Sandbox: An Interactive Children’s Museum (Hilton Head Island, SC) – more info here.

South Dakota

Children’s Museum of South Dakota (Brookings, SD) – $1 admission, more info here.


Children’s Museum of Brownsville (Brownsville, TX) – more info here. Said Executive Director Felipe Peña III, “We understand that there has been a lot of uncertainty for a lot of these families as of late. Because of that, we’re extending this offer to all affected federal employees in hope that perhaps a day spent with family at the museum can provide at least a little ease and peace of mind.”

Children’s Museum of Houston (Houston, TX) and Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center (Sugar Land, TX) – more info here.

Thinkery (Austin, TX) – more info here. Said Thinkery CEO Patricia Young Brown, “Maintaining affordable access for everyone is a top priority for Thinkery. We know the shutdown is putting a financial and emotional strain on workers and their families all over Central Texas. We hope that opening our doors to them until the shutdown ends creates an opportunity for those families to set aside those worries for a while and spend time playing and learning together.”


Creative Discovery Museum (Chattanooga, TN) – more info here. Said Executive Director Henry Schulson, “Creative Discovery Museum is committed to being accessible to all children and families. When situations arise that are difficult for families in our community, we do what we can to support them during that time.”

The Muse Knoxville (Knoxville, TN) – more info here.


Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum (Salt Lake City, UT) – more info here.


Children’s Museum of Richmond – including all locations: Children’s Museum Downtown (Richmond, VA), Children’s Museum Short Pump (Richmond, VA), Children’s Museum Chesterfield (Midlothian, VA), and Children’s Museum Fredericksburg (Fredricksburg, VA), more info here.

Children’s Science Center (Fairfax, VA) – more info here.

Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum (Winchester, VA) offered half price admission for federal workers and their families.


KidsQuest Children’s Museum (Bellevue, WA) – more info here.

West Virginia

Spark! Imagination and Science Center (Morgantown, WV) – from the museum: “The free admission offer is good for up to four people per federal employee from Friday, January 25, until the end of the partial government shutdown. Any federal employee currently not being paid because of the government shutdown (both furloughed, and those required to work without a paycheck) are eligible for this discount. To take advantage of this offer, guests must provide any form of federal employee ID.”


Betty Brinn Children’s Museum (Milwaukee, WI) – more info here.

Madison Children’s Museum (Madison, WI) – $1 admission, more info here. Said President and CEO Deb Gilpin, “We want to do our part to make the museum accessible to these families during a stressful time. We know we can be a haven for families. If parents are now home with the kids unexpectedly and money is tight, we hope this helps them get out of the house to enjoy a day at the museum.”


Jackson Hole Children’s Museum (Jackson, WY)

Children’s museums have a long history of stepping up to support their communities in times of need. For families dealing with the stress of the shutdown, they offer a retreat for playful learning.

If we have missed your museum in our roundup in error, please do not hesitate to get in touch! And if you’re a federal employee looking to visit one of these museums, please call the museum ahead of time for more complete information.

The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) champions children’s museums worldwide. Follow ACM on Twitter and Facebook