Discounted Entertainment for Families
Heather Lee, Educational Resource Development and Support Manager
May 2016; reviewed by Mary Caskey, Associate Program Director — SNAP-Ed.
English | español
Are you looking for discounted, low-cost, or free entertainment options for your family? Explore the options below and find one new idea to explore in the upcoming months.
- 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 that are sponsored through your local library. Search your local library’s website for more information on the offerings. And don’t forgot that you can also check out books, movies, and other home-entertainment resources from your local library! Need to find a nearby library? See the Minnesota Public Libraries web page for a listing.
- Get free passes to museums and theatres through the new smARTpass program, offered by the Metropolitan Library Service Agency. It replaces their earlier museum pass programs and is available to anyone in the Twin Cities with a library card. (Signing up for a library card is also free!) Visit the smARTpass website to find a list of upcoming events taking place throughout 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 art museums participate in “First Thursdays,” which mean they are free the first Thursday of every month.
- Check with your local mall’s business office to see if they offer free activities for kids during certain days of the week. For example, the Mall of America offers Toddler Tuesdays®, a program of free entertainment (character appearances, arts and crafts, story time, etc.) and discounts especially for toddlers. As part of this program, kids also eat free at over 20 different Mall of America restaurants with an adult meal purchase.
- Identify the days of week that local restaurants 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.
- Look at your local movie theatres’ website to see if they offer free or discounted shows during specific days and times.
- Make the most use of your “student” status. Most museums, theatres, and other entertainment places offer student discounts on certain days of the week. Students just need to present their valid student ID at the box office to receive the discounted pricing.
- Capitalize on your “senior” status. Most museums, restaurants, and other places of business offer senior discounts on all days or certain days (or times) of the week. You just need to ask if there is a senior discount, and present your valid Minnesota ID.
- If you or someone in your family is on economic assistance, make sure that you take advantage of any additional benefits and discounts that that economic assistance allows you. For a summary of some of these discounts, visit Special Discounts for Families on Economic Assistance.
For more ideas, see the related resources below.
Kids Activities — Minnesota. (n.d.)
Learning Opportunities to Discover — Get tips to help support your child’s learning away from school.
Explore Minnesota™ — Explore this comprehensive resource for places to stay, things to do, where to go, festivals and events, and more.