Want to get into some of the Valley’s most popular museums for free? Every year, Smithsonian magazine hosts Museum Day Live, a day when participating museums and cultural destinations offer free admission to you and a guest. This year’s event is Saturday, September 26.
To get in for free, you’ll need to register at the Smithsonian magazine’s website and pick the museum you wish to visit. You can then request one 2-for-1 ticket to one participating venue. The ticket will be available to download immediately up to the date of the event. You’ll need to print your ticket or have it accessible on your phone to get in.
It’s important to note that your ticket will get you into only the museum you select, not all participating museums, and it is good for only two people. If you bring your family, you will need to pay regular admission for the other members of your party.
So, which Valley museums are participating? In Scottsdale, you can visit the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, the state’s only permanent museum dedicated solely to modern works of art, design, and architecture.
In Phoenix, don’t miss the world-renowned Heard Museum, dedicated to the art and culture of the indigenous peoples of the Americas (with an emphasis on the American Indian tribes of the Southwest). The museum boasts an impressive collection of approximately 44,000 Native American objects, many of which are on display in the museum’s 12 exhibit galleries.
The Desert Botanical Garden is another can’t-miss attraction, especially if you can go for free. Located next door to the Phoenix Zoo in Papago Park, this 140-acre garden showcases over 21,000 plants, more than one-third of which are native to the area. Of those, 139 species are rare, threatened, or endangered.
Also worth a visit is the Pueblo Grande Museum in Phoenix where you can walk through a 1,500-year-old archaeological site left by the prehistoric Hohokam people. Three galleries in the museum display artifacts and discuss the Pueblo Grande village site.
You might also want to consider using your Museum Day Live ticket to visit the Superstition Mountain Museum along the Apache Trail. In addition to recounting the lore of the Lost Dutchman’s goldmine, you can learn about the area’s geology, explore Native American culture, and see what remains of the Apacheland Movie Ranch, including the Elvis Memorial Chapel.
Here are the other participating museums:
In the Phoenix area:
Arizona Museum of Natural History, Mesa
Deer Valley Rock Art Center, Phoenix
Cave Creek Museum, Cave Creek
Fleischer Museum, Phoenix
In the Tucson area:
Arizona State Museum, Tucson
DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, Tucson
Downtown History Museum, Tucson
Fort Lowell Museum, Tucson
Arizona History Museum, Tucson
The University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson
Sosa-Carrillo-Fremont House, Tucson
Jewish History Museum, Tucson
Elsewhere in the state:
Jerome State Historic Park, Jerome
Rim Country Museum, Payson
Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Wickenburg
Besh Ba Gowah Archaeological Park, Globe
Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior
Tubac Center of the Arts, Tubac
The Museum of Casa Grande, Casa Grande
Old Trails Museum, Winslow
Homolovi State Park, Winslow
Zane Grey Cabin, Payson
Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum, Bisbee
Phippen Museum, Prescott
Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, Yuma
Pinal County Historical Museum, Florence
Feel free to reach out with any questions or for recommendations on which museum you should visit.