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Free admission days at metro Phoenix museums

If you haven’t already checked out a Culture Pass, you need to. They’re available for “check-out” from your local Phoenix-area library and will admit four adults for free to one of several museums:

  • Arizona Historical Society
  • Arizona Museum of Natural History
  • Arizona Museum for Youth
  • Arizona Science Center
  • The Bead Museum which is now closed
  • Cave Creek Museum
  • Children’s Museum of Phoenix
  • Deer Valley Rock Art Center
  • Desert Botanical Garden
  • Desert Caballeros Western Museum
  • Heard Museum
  • Mesa Contemporary Arts
  • Phoenix Art Museum
  • Phoenix Zoo (only two admissions)
  • Pueblo Grande Museum
  • Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

It’s a great way to get in your culture fix without spending any extra cash. However, you’ll need to get a bit lucky, as the passes aren’t always easy to come by. In fact, the rack is nearly always bare at the popular libraries, less so if you’re willing to travel to some of the ghetto locations.

But you shouldn’t despair if you can’t snag one of those passes – many of the museums participating in the Culture Pass also have regular free admission days. Here’s the list, which is current as of May 20, 2009. I’ve included links and phone numbers so you can verify a museum is still participating before you show up.

Arizona Museum of Youth
Noon – 5pm first Sunday of each month
35 N Robson St, Mesa – 480-644-2467

Arizona Museum of Natural History
Noon – 5pm first Sunday of each month
53 N MacDonald St, Mesa – 480-644-2230

Children’s Museum of Phoenix
6 – 10pm first Friday of each month
215 N. 7th St, Phoenix – 602-253-0501

Desert Botanical Garden
1-8pm on the second Tuesday of each month
1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix – 480-941-1225

Heard Museum
11am – 5pm second Sunday of each month
2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix – 602-252-8848

Mesa Contemporary Arts
Noon – 5pm first Sunday of each month &
10am – 8pm Thursdays
1 E Main St, Mesa – 480-644-6560

Phoenix Art Museum
3pm – 9pm Wednesdays &
6pm – 10pm first Friday of each month
1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix – 602-257-1222

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
10am – 8pm Thursdays
7374 E 2nd St, Scottsdale – 480-874-4666

This is a great way to check out some great museums – leave a comment if you really enjoyed a particular place or if you find any other locations with free admission days. Thanks!

Update: As mentioned in the comments, Bank of America customers can now show their cards at the Phoenix Art Museum and The Phoenix Zoo the Musical Instrument Museum on the first full weekend of every month to receive free general admission. Check out more details here.

Photo credit: Rail Life

14 thoughts on “Free admission days at metro Phoenix museums”

  1. Scott,

    I write a blog, The Phoenix I wanted to write about free days at area museums. Could I link to this blog post and reference your blog?

  2. Pingback: Ansel Adams exhibit at Phoenix Art Museum — R Scott Jones
  3. Hello – thank you for the information on the museums. We went to the Phoenix Art Museum this week.

    I believe the Heard Museum free day is the 2nd Sunday (for the main Heard), not the 1st Sunday.

    Thank you again

  4. Hi there, thanks for the note. This Is Deb Krol with the Heard Museum. Please note that Heard Museum West closed two years ago, we no longer offer Culture Pass or Second Sunday free admission. Please though visit our website, as we are working on some new programming! Thanks and have a great day.

    • I just called the Phoenix Library and they still have Culture Passes available. You can actually look them up on the website to see which ones are available at various locations. If the status shows “In Library Use Only” that means it’s available for check-out. You’ll notice that some libraries, they go quickly, and others tend to have less traffic.

      I believe this works in a similar fashion for the other city libraries, but I haven’t researched it.


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