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Free Museums for Military Families for 9th Year Running

Laura Orr, deputy education director at Hampton Roads Naval Museum, teaches children about the exhibits during the launch of the 2016 Blue Star Museums program. (U.S. Navy/Amy M. Ressler)
Laura Orr, deputy education director at Hampton Roads Naval Museum, teaches children about the exhibits during the launch of the 2016 Blue Star Museums program. (U.S. Navy/Amy M. Ressler)

Free summer fun? Check. Free education? Check. A free way to get to know your local community or vacation spot a little better? Check.

For the last nine years the Blue Star Museums program has connected military families and guests with free museums visits to some really stellar locations annually between Memorial Day and Labor Day. What started as a small program in 2009 between then new non-profit Blue Star Families and the National Endowment for the Arts has since exploded to a partnership featuring over 2,000 museums nationwide.

This year the program is still pushing forward, adding new partners including children's museums, fine art museums, history and science museums, zoos and nature centers. My family has personally used the program in at least six states. What's not to love? You can check out all of the museum options on this handy interactive map. Some places, like Alaska where I live, don't have many offerings. Others, like Florida, have too many to visit. Were I in San Diego, California, we'd definitely be hitting up the New Children's Museum, which typically carries a $10 per visit fee.

Active duty, reservists, Guard members and their dependents can use the program by presenting a military ID card. They can also bring in up to five family members with each ID.

And if free, private museum aren't your jam for some reason, much sure to get this Blue Star Families parks program on your schedule.

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