Got a Library Card? Now You Can Get into 33 Museums and Gardens for Free

New Culture Pass Program Offers Free Admission to City's Institutions
The Guggenheim Museum is one of 33 New York City institutions that will participate in the Culture Pass Program. Photo by Moody Man via Flickr

New York is home to so many great museums, but visiting them all with your family can seriously add up. We're always on the hunt for free times to visit, memberships worth splurging on, and other ways to save on the best family fun in NYC, but if you've got a library card, free museum admission just got a whole lot simpler.

Culture Pass, a new program for library card holders at the New York, Brooklyn, and Queens library systems, was announced Monday. You'll need nothing more than a library card to receive free admission at a number of city institutions—33 to be exact—including big-name museums like The Guggenheim and The Whitney, as well as several of our favorite kid-friendly spots, like the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the Children's Museum of the Arts, and the New York Transit Museum. And it's not all museums: the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Wave Hill are on the list, too. Organizers expect to add more institutions as the program gets rolling.

Nabbing your free pass does, however, require a little advance planning. You'll have to log onto the Culture Pass website to reserve your free pass. Passes must be reserved and used on a particular day, and reservations open in two-month windows, with a new block being released on the first of each month. Some grant admission only for two adults, while others allow a family of four to visit for free. 

If the first day of the program is any indication, these Culture Passes are hot tickets; the website crashed Monday amid the initial crush of reservations!

A few key restrictions to note: To allow as many people as possible to access Culture Passes, each library card owner can visit a participating institution only once per calendar year and each card can only be used to hold two reservations at a time. If you change your plans, be sure to cancel your pass. Failure to use a pass means you're locked out of visiting that institution with a Culture Pass until the next calendar year.

You'll have to present a photo ID matching the name on your Culture Pass when you hit the museum, but parents of teens, take note: Culture Passes can be reserved by those as young as 13, so they can soak up culture this summer, too.

So, start browsing. Reservations can be searched by institution or available date and we've still got weeks of sweltering, hot summer to survive. Nothing like a little (FREE) industrial AC!