If you’re like me, you want to give your kids not just an academic education, but a cultural one as well. Indianapolis has so many great museums to explore, but sometimes it can be hard to afford admission for the whole family (especially when you’re a single income family). One of my personal favorites is the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), but with admission running $18 for adults and $10 for kids, that can get real expensive, real quick. So how can we take advantage of all the great art the IMA has to offer, without having to dip into grocery money to do it? Let’s take a look…

IMA on a BudgetMembership
.  A family membership is $75. Depending on the size of your family, this might be covered completely in one visit. For us, we just have to visit twice in a year to cover it. Our family has been members in the past because it got us into special, temporary exhibitions like Matisse and Face to Face. For us, it a membership will be worth it. We live close enough to visit regularly and take advantage of special member previews. However, for a lot of people this isn’t the case. Luckily, we’ve got other options.

School Tours. The IMA is very welcoming of school groups, this includes HOMESCHOOL groups! It’s really easy to set up a field trip, you can even do it online. The cost per person for a school tour (either docent led or self-guided) is $5.

First Thursdays. The IMA is free from 4 p.m. — 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month.

Free Days. A few free days will be spread out throughout the year in honor of special days. Here’s the whole list:


Spring Equinox – Saturday, March 19, 2016 
National Museum Day – Tuesday, May 17 2016
Summer Solstice – Saturday, June 18, 2016
Winter Solstice – Thursday, December 22, 2016
Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration – Sunday, January 15, 2017

Access Pass. If your family qualifies for TANF, Hoosier Healthwise, or Food Stamps, you can take advantage of a program called Access Pass, which allows you to visit many local museums for only $1 per household member.

As a bonus, you can still visit 100 Acres as well as the LOVE and Five Brushstrokes sculptures for free. These outdoor areas are always free and open to the public.

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