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Free Museum Days in Houston

Bailey Maierson
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The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has free admission on Thursdays, along with other museums in the Houston Museum District. 

If you’re like me, you long for entertainment at little to no cost. Personally, I always recommend exploring the Houston Museum District for two reasons: the museums are air-conditioned (a necessity when living in Houston, especially during the summer) and, if you go on the right day(s), admission is free!

Even though it may be pretty busy, Thursday is by far the best day for a family outing to the Museum District. Several museums such as the Houston Museum of Natural Science, The Health Museum and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston offer free admission on this day. Fortunately these are all within walking distance of each other, so don’t worry about parking at multiple museums. 

At HMNS on Thursdays, you will be able to view all of the permanent exhibits for free, and you will receive discounted prices for the Cockrell Butterfly Center, the Burke Baker planetarium and the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre. Who wouldn’t want to watch an IMAX movie for free? While at MFAH on Thursdays, you can attend gallery talks and tours as part of your free admission. The museum’s online calendar lists the talks/tours provided. 

Cloud Column

Visit the Lillian and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden to see Cloud Column (aka the Houston Bean), artist Anish Kapoor’s latest installation.  

If you happen to cross the street when leaving the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, you will find yourself in the Lillian and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden. It’s not technically a museum, but it’s beautiful and free to the public from 9 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Featured in the garden is a tall, silver, cylinder-like object known as the Cloud Column, or the Houston Bean. The artist, Anish Kapoor, also created the famous Chicago Bean, which is otherwise known as Cloud Gate. (Read more about that here.) The sculpture garden has a peaceful atmosphere to it; it’s a great place to sit in the shade and read a book all while absorbing the beautiful art around you. 

Below is a list of museums that frequently host free admission days plus other free, special events, so be sure to check out their websites.

Free Days at Museums: 

Children's Museum of Houston 
1500 Binz St., Houston TX 77004
Mon - Sat: 10-6 p.m.; Thurs: 10-8 p.m.; Sun: 12-6 p.m.
Free Family Night on Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. Starting on Sept. 1, the museum will offer Yoga First Sundays. No need to register for the 30-minute children’s class, just grab a yoga mat and zen out. 

Holocaust Museum Houston
5401 Caroline St., Houston TX 77004
Mon - Fri: 9-5 p.m.; Sat: 10-5 p.m.; Sun: 12-5 p.m.
Holocaust Museum Houston is free to the public on Thursdays from 2-5 p.m. It is also free every day for members, college students with a valid ID and students ages 0-18. 

Houston Fire Museum 
2403 Milam St, Houston TX 77006
Mon: Closed; Tues-Sat: 10-4 p.m.; Sun: Closed
The Houston Fire Museum is free on Thursdays starting at 2 p.m. The museum also hosts a Free Play Day on the second Saturday of each month. Admission for children is free on this day. 

Houston Zoo 
6200 Hermann Park Dr., Houston TX 77030
Mon-Sun: 9-7 p.m. 
On the first Tuesday of each month, the Houston Zoo will offer free admission from 12 p.m. until closing at 7 p.m. This offer will begin in September and continue through May. 

Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens 
6003 Memorial Dr, Houston TX 77007 
Mon: Closed; Tues-Sat: 10-5 p.m.; Sun: 1-5 p.m.
Admission is free at Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens during their Family Days, which typically take place the third Sunday of the month. 

Houston Museum of Natural Science 
5555 Hermann Park Dr., Houston TX 77030
Mon-Sun: 9-6 p.m.; Thurs: 9-9 p.m. 
HMNS offers free admission on Thursdays along with discounted ticket prices for the Cockrell Butterfly Center, the Burke Baker planetarium and the Wortham Giant Screen Theater.

The Health Museum 
1515 Hermann Dr., Houston TX 77004
Mon-Sat: 9-5 p.m.; Thurs: 9-7 p.m.; Sun: 12-5 p.m.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet St, Houston TX 77005
Mon: Closed; Tues-Weds: 10-5 p.m.; Thurs: 10-9 p.m.; Fri-Sat: 10-7 p.m.; Sun: 12:15-7 p.m. 
Be sure to attend gallery talks and tours as part of your free admission on Thursdays. 

Lillian and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden 
900 Bissonnet St, Houston TX 77005
Mon-Sun: 9-10 p.m.

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