Free Museum Days at these Miami Museums

bass

Bass Museum

Coral Gables Museum

Coral Gables Museum

Entrance at the PAMM

Entrance at the PAMM

Miami Children's Museum

Miami Children's Museum

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By: Angela Caraway-Carlton

Dramatic hanging gardens that look like a piece of art. Sculptures, artwork and exhibits that you’ve only read about or seen on TV. Interactive activities for kids that evoke creativity, or maybe even inspire what they’ll be when they grow up. You can discover it all at our Miami museums. The best part: Some of the museums are always free to visit, while many others offer complimentary days where everyone can roam free and even take part in special activities.

Here’s a list of days at Miami museums where it won’t cost you a penny — and, you’ll walk away with the added value of new knowledge and creativity. (Plus, you can save that money for a stop in the unique gift shops or restaurants.)

Free All The Time

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

With a shiny new permanent location in the artsy Miami Design District, this museum is free all year long to the public, though it’s suggested to reserve a ticket online before you go. The intimate museum is packed with contemporary art and offers three floors of exhibitions along with a roomy outdoor sculpture garden to wander. The museum is easy to navigate and can usually be toured within an hour. Once you’re done, there is so much public art to see around the museum. Even the nearby Museum Garage, a parking garage with five uniquely designed facades, is a piece of art.

FREE ON SELECT DAYS

The Bass

Situated directly across the ocean on South Beach in the historic Art Deco District, this museum is the perfect spot to blend a day of fun in the sun with culture. The long-treasured museum finished a huge revamp and expansion in 2017 and offers an expansive view of international contemporary art. Visitors will be wowed by the Old Masters in the permanent collection, with artists like Sandro Botticelli, Peter Paul Rubens and El Greco along with contemporary greats such as Ugo Rondinone, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Sanford Biggers and John Giorno. Visitors will want to save the date for Family Day, happening on the last Sunday of each month (except December), when entry is free to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parents and kids can engage in free activities like art projects, scavenger hunts and take-home art challenges from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. If you’re a local, admission is always free for Miami Beach residents, City of Miami Beach employees, museum members and children ages 12 and under. Insiders tip: Be sure to dine at the gourmet Café by Thierry Isambert and then venture outside to see Rondinone’s Miami Mountain, a tower of brightly colored boulders that stands tall in Collins Park.

Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)

It doesn’t get better than an art museum perched above the sparkling turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay. Here, you’ll be in awe of modern and contemporary international art of the 20th and 21st centuries, dramatic hanging gardens and suspended swinging chairs with epic bay views. Visit on the second Saturday of each month for PAMM Free Second Saturdays, where the focus is on families making art together. Kids and their parents can drop in on interactive art activities that are often themed around current exhibitions, as well as take guided tours of the museum. Members, children under six and active U.S. military are always free.

Miami Children’s Museum

Sure, it’s called a Children’s Museum, but parents will learn as much as their kids at this interactive museum, where education is made fun and traveling exhibits change often. Endless activities and hands-on exhibitions are spread out over two floors — from testing out their musical abilities to learning to shop at the grocery store to running and jumping for exercise (hello, the place to wear out your energetic child) to learning the importance of earning and saving at an oversized piggy bank exhibit, children won’t ever utter the words “I’m bored.” Show them the value of saving money every third Friday of the month from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., when visitors can explore the museum free of charge and engage in special activities like crafts and storytelling. Museum members, children under one, and U.S. military and veterans are always free.

HistoryMiami Museum

A trip to Miami isn’t complete without a visit to this museum, an affiliate of the prestigious Smithsonian Institution, that’s dedicated to preserving and celebrating the city’s diverse past and present. The museum extends over two buildings, and you’ll learn about everything from the Tequesta Indians, one of the first tribes in Miami, to the city’s signature Art Deco style. Free Family Fun Days happen on the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the day is jam-packed with activities that highlight the history and cultures of our vibrant city. HistoryMiami members are always admitted to the museum for free except during special events. Insiders tip: While not free, HistoryMiami also offers incredible tours (like an informative and beautiful boat ride to Stiltsville) that show off the gems of Miami.

The Wolfsonian-FIU

Located in the heart of South Beach, this museum is rooted in the 1850s to the 1950s — a century of growth and change — and you’ll be in awe of the more than 180,000 objects inside. Think household appliances that sped the pace of work to designs that bridged cultures; architectural plans fueled by ambition; and propaganda that helped turn the tides of war. The museum is free for everyone on Friday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., when visitors can embark on a 45-minute guided tour led by Wolfsonian staff members (each month brings a different guide with different perspectives) that delves deeper into the themes of the institution’s permanent collection or special exhibitions.

Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA)

Located in North Miami, this small museum has a big heart, always boasting roving innovative exhibitions of contemporary art, presenting up to 10 exhibitions each year. Their most popular night is the last Friday of the month, known as Jazz at MOCA, a free outdoor concert where the local community and visitors look forward to hearing some of Miami’s top jazz musicians perform. Before or after the concert, guests can browse the museum at no cost (but donations are encouraged). Also, Bank of America cardholders get in free on the first weekend of each month. Insider’s tip: The area surrounding the museum is dotted with rows of antique and furniture stores.

Coral Gables Museum

This is your chance to literally walk through history, as the museum is situated on the historic site of the old police and fire station, where visitors can explore the former jail cells and courtroom. This museum is a celebration of Coral Gables’ storied past and culture. Take the kids to Family Day on the second Saturday of the month, when admission is free and there are educational sessions, creative activities and performances for children. Members are always free.

Lowe Art Museum

Tucked away on the beautiful campus of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, this museum was created in 1952 and considered Miami’s oldest, offering an extensive collection of western and non-western art. Plan your visit on the first Tuesday of every month for free admission to browse the galleries of Renaissance and Baroque, Ancient and Native American, African and Asian art, along with a stunning studio glass collection and traveling exhibits. Don’t miss the outdoor sculptures that are sprinkled around the museum and campus. Museum members, UM staff, faculty and students, children under 12 and active military are always free.

Gold Coast Railroad Museum

The stars of this show: trains! This South Miami museum showcases railroad history and is home to more than 40 historic and restored railcars, including the "Ferdinand Magellan" Presidential Railcar, along with a model train room and numerous interactive displays like Thomas the Tank Engine play tables for aspiring young train lovers. All aboard for the First Saturday of the Month, when all guests can enjoy a free day of fun, games, and of course, trains.

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