Are you planning a trip to Washington, D.C. and wondering if it’s worth it to visit the Smithsonian museums? The answer is yes, it’s definitely worth it! The Smithsonian museums offer a multitude of exhibits and collections that are sure to pique your interest and educate you on various subjects. And the best part? The cost to get into the Smithsonian museums is absolutely free!
That’s right, you read that correctly. The Smithsonian museums do not charge admission fees, making them a budget-friendly option for travelers and locals alike. Whether you’re interested in natural history, art, or aviation, you can explore these museums without worrying about the cost. This is especially beneficial for families who want to take their children to educational exhibits without breaking the bank.
So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of the free admission to the Smithsonian museums and explore all that they have to offer. Don’t forget to donate a few dollars, if you can, to help support these incredible institutions and the valuable work they do preserving history and educating the public.
If you’re planning a trip to Washington, D.C., one of the items at the top of your must-do list should be a visit to the Smithsonian museums. From the National Air and Space Museum to the National Museum of Natural History, there is no shortage of fascinating exhibits to explore. But before you head out for a day of discovery, it’s important to know the admission fees you can expect to pay.
- The best news of all? Admission to all Smithsonian museums is completely free! That’s right; you can spend a full day exploring the fascinating collections at any of the Smithsonian museums without paying a dime.
- While general admission is free, some activities and experiences within the museums may come with a fee. For example, a 3D film at the National Air and Space Museum costs $9 for adults and $7 for children, and IMAX films range from $9.50 to $12 for adults and $7.50 to $10.50 for children.
- If you’re planning on visiting multiple museums during your trip, it’s worth considering the Smithsonian’s membership program. For an annual fee, members gain access to special events and exhibitions, as well as discounts in museum shops and restaurants. Individual memberships start at $75, while family memberships start at $150.
In short, admission to all Smithsonian museums is completely free, making it a fantastic option for budget-conscious travelers and families. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that some experiences may come with a fee, and that the membership program may provide additional benefits and discounts for frequent visitors.
The Smithsonian Institutions has been a beloved institution in the United States since its founding in 1846 by James Smithson. Today, it is a network of 19 museums, galleries, and zoos that offer a diverse range of exhibits and experiences for visitors of all ages. From history and culture to science and technology, the Smithsonian has something to offer everyone.
Cost of Admission
- Good news! Admission to all Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C. is free.
- However, some museums require timed-entry passes during peak visitation times. These passes are free but must be reserved in advance online.
- The National Zoo also offers free admission, but parking fees apply.
- Special exhibits or programs may require additional fees, but these are generally optional and not necessary to enjoy the museum.
- Donations are always appreciated to help support the museums and their programs.
Plan Your Visit
With so many museums to choose from, it can be overwhelming to plan a visit to the Smithsonian. Here are a few tips to help make the most of your trip:
- Start early: Many museums open at 10am, but arrive early if you want to avoid crowds.
- Check the website: Before you go, check the museum’s website for hours, exhibits, and any special programs.
- Bring water and snacks: Depending on the museum, food and drink options may be limited. Bring a reusable water bottle and some snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day.
- Take a guided tour: Many museums offer free tours by knowledgeable volunteers. These can be a great way to learn more about the museum’s highlights and history.
- Be patient: With so many visitors, lines and crowds are a common occurrence. Be patient and courteous to other visitors to make the most of your experience.
Overall, the Smithsonian Institutions offer an amazing opportunity to explore the history, culture, and science of the United States and beyond. And the best part? Admission is free! So pack a snack and plan your visit to this iconic institution today.
|National Museum of American History||14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001||Open daily 10am-5:30pm|
|National Air and Space Museum||Independence Avenue at 6th Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20560||Open daily 10am-5:30pm|
|National Museum of Natural History||10th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20560||Open daily 10am-5:30pm|
|National Museum of African American History and Culture||1400 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20560||Open daily 10am-530pm|
Table 1: Popular Smithsonian Museums and Their Hours of Operation
Visiting museums can be a great way to learn more about the world around us, but it can also be expensive. Fortunately, there are several discount offers available for visitors to the Smithsonian museums. Here are some of the ways you can save money on your next visit:
- Free Admission: Many of the Smithsonian museums offer free admission year-round, including the National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum, and the National Museum of Natural History. Visitors can also enjoy free admission to the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s main building, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
- Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day: On one day each year, Smithsonian Magazine offers free admission to over 1000 museums across the country, including several Smithsonian museums. The event typically takes place in September, and visitors must download a ticket from the Smithsonian Magazine website in order to participate.
- Membership: Smithsonian membership offers several benefits, including free admission to all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo, priority entrance to selected museums, and discounts on museum store purchases. Memberships range from $50 to $500 per year, depending on the level of benefits desired, and can be purchased online or on-site at a Smithsonian museum.
Discounted Rates for Groups and Military Personnel
Visitors can also take advantage of discounted rates for groups and military personnel:
- Groups: Groups of 10 or more visitors can receive a reduced admission fee at several Smithsonian museums. Group rates vary by museum and can be found on the Smithsonian website.
- Military Personnel: Active duty military personnel and their families can receive free admission to all Smithsonian museums year-round. Veterans and retired military personnel receive a discounted rate at many Smithsonian museums.
Travel packages are another way to save money on admission to the Smithsonian museums:
- Washington D.C. Explorer Pass: The Washington D.C. Explorer Pass allows visitors to choose three, four, or five top Washington D.C. attractions, including several Smithsonian museums, and save up to 40% off regular admission prices. Prices start at $77 per adult and $57 per child.
- CityPASS: The Washington D.C. CityPASS allows visitors to visit five popular Washington D.C. attractions, including the National Museum of American History and the National Air and Space Museum, and save up to 47% off regular admission prices. Prices start at $84 per adult and $64 per child.
|Free Admission||Year-round free admission to selected Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo|
|Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day||One day each year, free admission to participating museums, including several Smithsonian museums|
|Membership||Free admission to all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo, priority entrance to selected museums, and discounts on museum store purchases|
|Groups||Discounted admission rates for groups of 10 or more visitors at several Smithsonian museums|
|Military Personnel||Free admission for active duty military personnel and their families year-round, and discounted rates for veterans and retired military personnel at many Smithsonian museums|
|Washington D.C. Explorer Pass||Choose three, four, or five top D.C. attractions, including several Smithsonian museums, and save up to 40% off regular admission prices|
|CityPASS||Visit five popular D.C. attractions, including selected Smithsonian museums, and save up to 47% off regular admission prices|
By taking advantage of these discount offers, visitors can save money and enjoy a fun, educational experience at the Smithsonian museums.
One of the best ways to explore the Smithsonian museums is through virtual tours. These tours are available online and offer viewers the opportunity to explore the museum collections from the comfort of their own homes. They are a great option for those who are unable to visit the museums in person, or for those who want to preview a museum before visiting.
The virtual tours provide a 360-degree view of the different exhibits, allowing viewers to see the details and context of each display. They also include informative descriptions and commentary about the exhibits, providing a rich learning experience for viewers.
Benefits of Virtual Tours
- Accessible to everyone, regardless of location
- A great alternative for those who are unable to visit the museums in person
- Can be used as a preview for those planning a museum visit
Types of Virtual Tours
There are a few different types of virtual tours available for the Smithsonian museums. The first type is a general virtual tour, which provides an overview of the different exhibits and collections. These tours are great for getting a taste of what the museums have to offer.
The second type of virtual tour is a more in-depth tour of a particular museum or collection. These tours are designed to provide a detailed look at a particular exhibit or collection, and are great for those who have a specific interest in a particular topic.
How to Access Virtual Tours
To access the virtual tours, simply visit the Smithsonian museums’ website and navigate to the “Virtual Tours” section. From there, you can browse the different tours and choose the one that interests you the most.
|Smithsonian Museum||Virtual Tour|
|National Museum of Natural History||Butterflies and Moths|
|National Air and Space Museum||Explore the Solar System|
|National Museum of American History||The American Presidency|
Overall, virtual tours are a great way to explore the Smithsonian museums. They provide viewers with a rich learning experience and allow anyone to explore the museum collections from anywhere in the world.
Events and Programs
While admission to the Smithsonian museums is free, there are some events and programs that require a fee. These events and programs offer visitors a chance to engage with the collections in unique ways and attend special exhibits or performances. Here are some of the events and programs offered at the Smithsonian museums:
- IMAX movies: The Smithsonian museums have their own IMAX theaters that show a variety of films. Tickets range from $9.50-$15 depending on the movie and the age of the attendee.
- Planetarium shows: Visitors can attend shows at the planetarium at the National Air and Space Museum for $9.50-$15 depending on the show and the age of the attendee.
- Tours: The Smithsonian museums offer a variety of tours, some of which require a fee. For example, the National Museum of American History has a VIP tour that costs $35 per person.
In addition to the paid events and programs, the Smithsonian museums offer a range of free programs throughout the year. These programs include lectures, workshops, concerts, and festivals.
If you are interested in attending events and programs at the Smithsonian museums, it’s recommended to check the museum’s website for a schedule and to purchase tickets in advance.
|Event/Program||Cost (per person)|
|IMAX movie||$9.50-$15 (depending on movie and age)|
|Planetarium show||$9.50-$15 (depending on show and age)|
|VIP tour of National Museum of American History||$35|
In conclusion, while visiting the Smithsonian museums is free, there are opportunities to engage with the collections in new ways through paid events and programs. These programs offer visitors a chance to have a more in-depth experience with the exhibits and collections. Additionally, the museums offer a range of free programs throughout the year, making it easy to engage with the collections in a variety of ways.
Planning a trip to the Smithsonian museums with a group is a great way to save money on admission fees. The museums offer group rates for parties of 10 or more people, which can make a big difference in overall cost. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning a group visit:
- Group rates vary by museum and exhibition. It’s important to check the individual museum’s website for specific pricing information.
- Some museums offer guided tours for an additional fee. This could be a great option for groups who want a more in-depth experience and a chance to ask questions.
- Groups must make a reservation in advance to qualify for the group rate. This can usually be done online or over the phone. Be sure to check the specific museum’s policy for group reservations.
If you’re traveling with a large group, it may be worth considering a bus tour. Many tour companies offer packages that include transportation to and from the museums, admission fees, and even lunch. This can be a convenient and cost-effective way to see several museums in one day.
Here’s an example of group rates for some of the most popular Smithsonian museums:
|Museum||Group Rate (10 or more people)|
|National Museum of American History||$8 per person|
|National Air and Space Museum||$9.50 per person (excludes planetarium and IMAX tickets)|
|National Museum of Natural History||Free admission, but timed-entry passes required for groups of 10 or more people|
Group visits are a great way to explore the Smithsonian museums without breaking the bank. With discounted rates and plenty of resources available for planning, it’s easy to make the most of your visit with friends, family, or colleagues.
The Smithsonian Museums provide excellent opportunities for visitors to learn and be inspired. From hands-on interactive exhibits to informative talks and lectures, there are plenty of educational options available.
- The Smithsonian Associates program offers a wide variety of educational programs for all ages, including lectures, tours, and hands-on experiences. These programs are led by experts in their fields and provide a unique opportunity to learn directly from professionals in various fields.
- The Discovery Room at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is a perfect example of the museum’s commitment to education. This interactive space is designed specifically for children and their families and encourages hands-on exploration of the museum’s collection.
- The Smithsonian offers a wealth of online resources, including virtual tours, digital exhibits, and educational resources for teachers and homeschoolers. These resources are accessible to anyone with an internet connection and are an excellent way to learn more about the Smithsonian’s collections from anywhere in the world.
School and Group Programs
The Smithsonian Museums also offer a variety of school and group programs, designed to enhance and supplement classroom learning. These programs are available to schools, homeschool groups, and other organizations, and can be adapted to meet the needs of different age groups and learning levels.
Programs can range from hands-on laboratory experiences to guided tours of museum exhibits. Some programs even offer the opportunity to interact directly with museum curators and researchers, learning from professionals in various fields.
The Smithsonian is committed to providing accessibility to all visitors. All museums are wheelchair accessible and offer assistive listening devices for visitors with hearing impairments. Additionally, many museums offer sign language interpreters, closed captioning, and other accommodations upon request.
The Smithsonian also offers a variety of programs and resources for visitors with disabilities, including audio-described tours, hands-on tactile exhibits, and special programs for visitors with autism.
Internships and Fellowships
The Smithsonian offers a wide variety of internships and fellowships for individuals looking to gain hands-on experience in fields such as art, science, history, and cultural preservation. These opportunities provide valuable training and can lead to a wide range of career paths.
The Smithsonian also offers research opportunities for scholars and scientists, including postdoctoral fellowships and research grants.
|Smithsonian Internship Program||Offers 10-week summer internships in a variety of museum positions, from exhibit design to scientific research.|
|Smithsonian Fellowships||Provides research opportunities for scholars and scientists, including postdoctoral fellowships and research grants.|
|Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Internships||Offers internships in conservation biology research and animal care through the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.|
The Smithsonian is a world-renowned institution with a commitment to education and research. Whether you’re interested in hands-on learning experiences, online resources, or career opportunities, the Smithsonian provides a wealth of options for visitors of all ages and backgrounds.
How Much Does it Cost to Get into the Smithsonian Museums?
Q: Are all Smithsonian museums free?
A: Yes, all Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C. are free to the public.
Q: Are the Smithsonian museums open every day?
A: Almost all museums are open every day, including weekends and holidays. Check their website for specific hours of operation.
Q: Are there any special exhibits or events that require a fee?
A: Yes, there may be special exhibitions or events that require a fee. Check the museum’s website for details.
Q: Are there any discounts available?
A: While general admission is free, some exhibits or events may have fees. However, certain groups, such as seniors, students, and military personnel, may receive discounted rates.
Q: Where can I find more information about the museums and their exhibits?
A: The Smithsonian website provides detailed information about all of their museums, exhibits, and events.
Q: How can I support the Smithsonian museums?
A: Donations can be made directly to the Smithsonian or by becoming a member of the Smithsonian Associates program.
Q: Can I donate to a specific museum or exhibit?
A: Yes, donations can be designated to a specific museum or exhibit.
The Bottom Line
Thanks for reading about how much it costs to get into the Smithsonian museums! With free general admission and a variety of exhibits and events, the Smithsonian museums are a great way to learn and explore. Don’t forget to check their website for specific information and visit again later for updates on upcoming events and exhibits.