If one or more of your family members is enrolled in a program like WIC or Medical Assistance, you/they may qualify for FREE or specially discounted admission at places like the Minnesota Zoo or Science Museum of Minnesota!
Here is a list of the places you may get in FREE or for a discount, where, and what you need to qualify (note – all are subject to change at any time):
(This list was most recently updated in January 2020 so COVID may have affected many – please check before you go)
The Minnesota Zoo offers a “Free to Explore” program for families enrolled in any of the following programs:
|TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)||MN EBT Card|
|MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program)||MN EBT Card|
|SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)||MN EBT Card|
|MFAP (Minnesota Food Assistance Program)||MN EBT Card|
|General Assistance||MN EBT Card|
|Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare||MHCP Card|
|WIC (Women, Infants & Children Program)||WIC Folder|
Admission is free. You need to show the approved documentation listed above, plus photo identification and proof of Minnesota residency. Parking and other fees are not included.
Admission is regularly $13.95 – 19.95. Parking is $7.00 for automobiles (more for busses or motor coaches).
Military discounts are also offered, including FREE admission for military personnel and their families during special summer and winter promotions.
Visit their website for more information.
The Works Museum
The Works Museum in Bloomington offers the “Gateway program” which is an access program for kids and families with demonstrated need. Children and/or families that receive free/reduced price lunch at school, or assistance from TANF, MFIP, WIC, SSI, Section 8 housing, Medical Assistance or Medicaid Care, Minnesota Care or Basic Sliding Fee Childcare Assistance are eligible for discounted admission, memberships, and camps.
When eligibility is demonstrated at the front desk, you can purchase any of the following:
- $4.50 per person discounted daily admission price (regular admission is $9.00 per person) or
- $25 family membership (regular price is $75)
More info is on their website.
Note: If you don’t qualify, use my discount code for The Works Museum:
- Regular admission is $9.00 per person, but you can get admission for $7.00 per person with my special code! (Children 2 and under are free.) For $2 Off Admission: Use code TCFMB$2OFF in the “promo code” field on the shopping cart page. (Not valid for special events) Purchase via THIS LINK.
- You can also save on family memberships: $5 Off Family Memberships (includes Dual, Family, and Family Plus memberships only):
Use code FRUGAL5OFF at checkout. Purchase this at: https://theworks.org/hands-on-kids-museum/membership/.
Stages Theatre offers the “Open Door program” which provides free and reduced cost tickets, bus subsidies, and tuition assistance to low income families, schools, and social service agencies.
They also offer “Pay What You Can” performances. Patrons can reserve up to SIX (6) tickets for each of the performances listed on their website at no cost. Patron/Households can reserve tickets to a maximum of FOUR (4) pay-what-you-can productions per season. The day of the performance you can “pay-what-you-can” by making a donation of any amount on your way into the theater.
More info on their website.
Children’s Theatre Company
At Children’s Theatre Company, the ACT Pass program provides financial aid to low income households so they can attend select Children’s Theatre Company’s performances, classes, and camps. Currently, the ACT Pass program includes over 2,000 families.
For more information and to apply, visit their website.
The Guthrie in Minneapolis offers Gateway tickets for $5. To qualify, you must be at least 18 years old and be enrolled in one or more of the following: TANF, MFIP, WIC, General Assistance, Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Benefits, SNAP, Section 8 or free/reduced school meals. Up to four tickets may be purchased for select performances by phone or at the Box Office
For more information visit their website.
The Bell Museum offers Explore & Curiosity Programs. To qualify you must be at least 18 and enrolled in one or more of the following: TANF, MFIP, SNAP, General Assistance, Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, WIC, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Benefits, Food Stamps, Section 8, or Free/Reduced Price School Meals. Present any appropriate documents related to those programs at the Lobby Desk to qualify.
These programs offer:
Explore Museum Admission Passes
Qualifying guests receive free museum gallery admission passes and discounted planetarium show tickets ($4 for adults/seniors; $3 for youth).
Curiosity Memberships are available for purchase at our front desk for $15, and offer a year of free gallery admission and $2 planetarium tickets. Contact them at 612-626-9660 for more information or visit the Curiosity Membership page for details.
Minnesota Children’s Museum
Through the “All Play” Program, the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul provides free family memberships to low-income families. More info on their website.
If you don’t qualify, be sure to use my exclusive discount code TCFM to save $2 per admission when you purchase tickets on their website.
Read my review of our first visit after the Minnesota Children’s Museum re-opened in June 2017!
Minnesota History Center
At the Minnesota History Center, to qualify for discounted admission you must be at least 18 and enrolled in one or more of the following: TANF, MFIP, WIC, General Assistance, Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Benefits, Food Stamps, Section 8, or Free/Reduced Price School Meals.
Pricing is $4 adults (regular museum admission is $12); free for children ages 5-17 (regular admission $6).
You must provide proof of enrollment AND print and fill out the following form before visiting.
More information on their website here.
Science Museum of Minnesota
At the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, your admission is only $3 for museum admission, or $5 for the omnitheater and museum, if you are least 18 and enrolled in one or more of the following: TANF, MFIP, WIC, General Assistance, Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Benefits, Food Stamps, Section 8, or Free/Reduced Price School Meals.
Photo ID and documentation of any of the following is required:
- EBT card
- Medical assistance card (includes MinnesotaCare)
- Section 8 document
- WIC folder
- Supplemental Security Income verification
- Social Security Disability Benefits verification
- Free/reduced school meal approval
- RCA card (Refugee Cash Assistance)
- General Assistance verification
For more information, visit their website.
Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota
Minnesota Historical Society
If you qualify, you can visit any of their 26 sites around Minnesota for only $4/adults, or for FREE for ages 17 and under.
You must be at least 18 and enrolled in one or more of the following: TANF, MFIP, WIC, General Assistance, Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Benefits, Food Stamps, Section 8, or Free/Reduced Price School Meals. Please share with us proof of enrollment.
You must also print and fill out this form.
Here are their 26 locations:
More info about the Minnesota Historical Society’s Limited Income Program here.
Three Rivers Park District
Three Rivers Park District is offering a Recreation Pass Plus card which offers free equipment rentals, discounts on programs and events, and two free recreation passes per individual family member. With these passes you can enjoy archery, swimming, dog off-leash areas, disc golf, boat trailer parking and cross-country skiing.
The Recreation Pass Plus card is available for families and individuals who live in Hennepin County and are experiencing financial difficulty. Many programs qualify including SSI, Medical Assistance and WIC. You can apply online or by phone.
At YMCA locations everywhere, special rates are available for those who meet income requirements. More info on their website here.
Duluth Children’s Museum
Previously the Duluth Children’s Museum offered $3 admission for those with a valid EBT card. This is no longer listed on their website, but now they have “Essentia First Fridays,” sponsored by Essentia. Play for free the first Friday of each month, September through May, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Regular admission is $9.00. (We visited a couple years ago – though it’s not as big as the Minnesota Children’s Museum, it’s a nice museum for kids.)
Visit their website for info.
Great Lakes Aquarium
The Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth offers discounted admission rates for adults providing a current EBT card or medical assistance card (including Minnesota Care and Wisconsin BadgerCare) and valid photo ID along with any children or adults in their party the day of the visit.
Guardians (i.e. parents, grandparents, foster parents) of children with medical assistance documentation may use the child’s designation to purchase reduced price tickets or a reduced price membership for the attending group – even if the guardian(s) themselves are not medical or food assistance recipients.
- Children 2 and under are always free.
Reduced-priced individual or family memberships are available for those providing the same documentation. These membership applications must be processed in person at the Great Lakes Aquarium ticketing desk.
- 50% off of posted current membership rates
Note that parking is $5 per vehicle.
Read my review of our visit in 2018!
Do you know of other discounts for limited income households in Minnesota? Share them in the comments or email them to me at twincitiesfrugalmom @ gmail.com!
For families in need, there’s a Facebook group called Helping Hands MN that I highly recommend joining. There are over 14,000 members at this time (as of January 2020) and it’s a great resource for sharing resources for everything from baby formula to furniture.
Metro Transit has a Transit Assistance Program (TAP) which helps make public transit more affordable for low-income residents. Fare for bus rides is only $1.00 if you qualify. There are several ways to apply including online.
Amazon Prime Discount
Amazon Prime is only $5.99 for EBT and Medicaid cardholders! See my post here for more info.
There are also many other ways to save on family fun and more in the Twin Cities!
Deals & Events Calendar – View my calendar of local family fun.
Twin Cities Discount Guide for Families – My guide to all the ways you can save money (or even get free admission) at various places around the Twin Cities.
MELSA SmARTPass Program – FREE passes to local museums and performances! You just need a library card from one of the 8 library systems in the Twin Cities area.
Groupon – For discounted tickets, dining, shopping, travel and so much more.
Goldstar – See my Half Price Tickets page for half price and otherwise discounted tickets on local events from Goldstar!
Kids Eat Free – My list of Twin Cities restaurants where kids eat free with purchase of an adult meal.
100 Birthday Freebies – You and your kids can get tons of freebies on your birthday!