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Discounted entertainment for families

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Are you looking for discounted, low-cost or free entertainment for your family? Explore the options below and choose at least one new idea to try in the coming weeks.

  • Make the most of every summer day. Get tips on our Summer family fun on a budget (also in español) web page.
  • Enjoy one of the many free programs and events sponsored by your local library. Search your local library’s website for more information on its offerings. And don’t forget that you can also check out books, movies, and other home-entertainment resources from your local library! All you need is a library card, which is free. Looking for a nearby library? See the Minnesota Public Libraries web page for listings.
  • You can also get free passes to museums, plays, movies, and other arts events theatres through your local library. For example, the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA) offers the smARTpass program. It provides free admittance to Twins Cities-area arts events to library card holders. Visit the smARTpass website to find a list of upcoming events in the Twin Cities metro area. Library card holders can then opt to reserve two free tickets for an upcoming event.
  • Review your local museums’ websites to see if they offer a free day. Many museums offer a free day once a month. For example, many Twin Cities-area art museums participate in “First Thursdays.” This means admission to those museums are free the first Thursday of every month.
  • Call your local mall’s business office, or visit its website, to see if the mall offers free activities for children on certain days of the week. For example, the Mall of America offers Toddler Tuesdays. This is a program of free entertainment and discounts for kids, especially toddlers. Examples of events include character appearances, arts and crafts activities, and story times. As part of this program, children also eat free at over 20 Mall of America restaurants with an adult meal purchase.
  • Check with local restaurants to see if they offer free meals for kids, with an adult meal purchase. For a sample of Twin Cities restaurants that have this type of program, see Kids Eat Free on the Kids Activities — Minnesota blog. Find a restaurant that is kid-friendly and bring an easy-to-pack game or two to make a night of it.
  • Visit your local movie theatres’ websites to see if they offer free or discounted shows on specific days and times.
  • Make the most use of your “student” status. Most museums, theaters, and other entertainment venues offer student discounts on certain days of the week. Students must present their valid student ID at the box office to receive discounted pricing.
  • Capitalize on your “senior” status. Most museums, restaurants, and other places of business offer senior discounts, either all the time or on certain days or times of the week. Just ask if there is a senior discount and present your valid state ID.
  • Do you or someone in your family receive public assistance? If so, take advantage of any additional benefits and discounts these programs provide. For a summary of some of these discounts, visit Special discounts for families in need.

For more ideas, see Related resources below.

Related resource

Explore Minnesota™ — Explore this comprehensive resource for places to stay, things to do, where to go, festivals and events, and more.

Heather Lee, educational resource development and support manager

2016; reviewed by Mary Caskey, associate program director in SNAP-Ed.

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