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Sometimes, living life means sticking to a budget.
Sure, it’s fun to imagine that you have limitless funds and can do every cool and exciting thing that pops up in this awesome city, but it isn’t always realistic.
It doesn’t matter if you’re completely broke but longing for a fun night out, or whether you’re just trying to cut down on your spending, Everyone👏🏼Loves👏🏼A👏🏼Freebie.
Luckily, this city has no shortage of fun, free, and educational things to do. Here is your guide to free and discounted museum admission around Columbus.
“OAC’s Riffe Gallery showcases the work of Ohio’s artists and the collections of the state’s museums and galleries.”
Free Admission: The Riffe Gallery by the Ohio Arts Council offers exhibits year-round free of charge. The gallery shows both local and national works of art in varying formats.
“NVMM takes visitors on a narrative journey telling individual stories and shared experiences of veterans throughout history. Paying tribute to the sacrifices of servicemen and women and their families.”
Free Admission: Both Veterans and Gold Star Families receive free admission to the memorial. The museum also hosts special days with free admission, including “Military Brats” day!
Discounts: Active Duty Military, Seniors, and youths are all eligible for discounted prices, which range from $10-$15.
“COSI is Columbus, Ohio’s dynamic Center of Science and Industry. COSI brings science to life through more than 300 interactive experiences.”
Free Admission: COSI offers free admission for certified teachers.
Discounts: Active, Reserve, and Retired Military receive $2.00 off per person in the immediate family with proper ID. Seniors ages 60 and up receive a $2 discount on COSI general admission.
“The Orton Geological Museum is located in Orton Hall on the South Oval on the Ohio State University Main Campus. Part of the School of Earth Sciences, the Museum plays a key role in teaching, outreach, and research.”
Free Admission: Admission to the best-kept museum secret in Columbus is always free. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm and houses rocks, minerals, and fossils from Ohio and around the world. Plus they have a dinosaur!
“The Ohio History Connection’s mission is to spark discovery of Ohio’s stories. Embrace the present, share the past and transform the future.”
Free Admission: The Ohio History Center offers free admission for members. Memberships start at $45/year and include access to over 50 historic sites and museums around Ohio.
Discounts: Discounted prices include Seniors ages 60 and up for and college students (with school ID) for $10. There is also a Military discount of $2 with a military ID.
“The Ohio Statehouse Museum Education Center offers exhibits that encourage visitors to participate in the state government process.”
Free Admission: Admission to the Ohio Statehouse is always free. The Museum Education Center houses exhibits designed to encourage and foster involved and interactive citizenship. There are guided and non-guided tours available several times throughout the week.
“Columbus Museum of Art’s mission is to create great experiences with great art for everyone.”
Free Admission: The Columbus Museum of Art is always free on Sundays. There is also free admission for active military and their families from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with a valid Military ID.
Discounts: On Thursdays from 5 pm to 9 pm, everyone can go to the museum for $5.
“The Ohio Craft Museum is a program of Ohio Designer Craftsmen.”
Free Admission: The Ohio Craft Museum offers five major exhibitions each year, as well as other exhibits and permanent collections. Admission is always free.
“The Wexner Center for the Arts is The Ohio State University’s multidisciplinary, international laboratory for the exploration and advancement of contemporary art.”
Free Admission: Admission is free for members, college students (with valid ID), patrons under 18, active military and veterans.
Discounts: By becoming a member at the Wexner Center for the Arts, you will get discounts to many local activity centers, including COSI, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Franklin Park Conservatory and more. Memberships also offer discounts to events at the Wexner Center. For more info, please click here.
“The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum houses the world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics, including original art, books, magazines, journals, comic books, archival materials, and newspaper comic strip pages and clippings.”
Free Admission: The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is always free! The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm.
“The Cultural Arts Center is Central Ohio’s premier visual arts center.”
Free Admission: The Cultural Arts Center has two galleries, both of which offer free admission year-round. There are paid programs, workshops, and classes available at the center as well.
Discounts: If you’d like to take classes at the CAC, but you’re not financially able to, the center offers a Class Fee Assistance program thanks to the Friends of the CAC. If you’re interested in applying, please click here.
Originally published 1/7/19. Updated 4/12/2022.
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