Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, Wichita’s museums provide lots of educational fun and entertainment. Most are moderately priced to begin with, but Wichita also has FREE museum days at times during the year. (And some of our museums are always completely free!)
Sometimes the free days are part of a bigger national program (and we’ve listed those here too). Others are paid for by generous local sponsors and are offered seasonally or year-round. And if you’re a member of a Wichita museum, you may get free admission to museums in other parts of the country through reciprocal programs.
Check out our list of free museum days, and let us know in the comments if we’ve missed any free museums in Wichita!
Free Days at Wichita Museums
- Old Cowtown Museum is free on Sundays April through September.
- Wichita Art Museum is free on Saturdays year-round.
- The Sedgwick County Zoo has $3 ADMISSION on Tuesdays during the month of July. (We love this! As you can imagine, it does get crowded, but it’s a great way to get cheap zoo admission!) And Zoo Admission is $3 on Wednesdays during the winter months too! (Definitely not as crowded, and still a great deal.)
- The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum is generally free on Final Fridays, but be sure to check the schedule. Even when it’s not free, it’s one of the most affordable museums in Wichita – and it’s fascinating, so be sure to check it out!
- And speaking of Final Fridays, most of Wichita’s art galleries and many museums are free during this local monthly event.
- One great ongoing discount for museums and other local attractions is Visit Wichita’s Explore Card. You’ll save $2 off the price of admission for up to 10 people in your party just by showing your pass. And the pass is FREE.
- The Kansas Aviation Museum has a great program for Little Aviators on Friday mornings.
- Exploration Place has offered a fun series of free outdoor movies in May and on those evenings, visitors get discounted admission to the museum.
An old rotary-dial pay phone at Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum:
Always-Free Wichita Museums
- Ulrich Museum of Art on the WSU campus is always free.
- CityArts galleries are always free. (CityArts is also a great spot to take art classes, which are not free, but they look like a lot of fun.)
- The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inside the Wichita Boathouse is always free when it’s open, which is normally Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except on major holidays).
- The McCormick School Museum might be one of the least known museum in Wichita and yet it is a fantastic treasure that is always free.
- Great Plains Nature Center in northeast Wichita is always free.
- The Kansas Wildlife Exhibit in Riverside Central Park is always free. (Locals call it the Riverside Zoo.) It includes over 25 species of animals and is located in the central part of Riverside Park.
- The WATER Center in Herman Hill Park (at the corner of Pawnee & Broadway) is a free hands-on, interactive environmental museum with aquariums and an outdoor guided nature trail along a creek that leads to the Arkansas River. (Thanks, Megan!)
Special Free Admission Passes
- In September, the Smithsonian Magazine usually holds a FREE Museum Day each year, where families can sign up to get passes for two free admissions to local museums.
- In the summer, military members and their families can get free admission to many Wichita museums (and throughout the country!) through the Blue Star Museums program.
- On Mothers Day or Fathers Day in Wichita, moms, dads, and grandparents are often given free admission to Wichita museums with the purchase of a child admission.
Local Attractions on the Cheap – when to go or how to find the best deals at local Wichita attractions and museums
Museum Reciprocal Programs
Another way you may be able to get free admission to museums in Wichita and throughout the U.S. is through reciprocal programs. Often when you purchase a membership to one museum, you’re granted access to a reciprocal program, which gives you either free or discounted admission to similar museums in other cities. These memberships are not all the same, so you’ll absolutely want to read the fine print. Here are some examples of reciprocal programs of museums in Wichita:
- Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum members get access to the Time Travelers program. According to its website, it has 300 historical museums participating in its program around the country, nine of which are in the state of Kansas. If you’re a member of one, you’ll get free admission, gift shop discounts, and/or other benefits at the others.
- Exploration Place membership gives you access to the widely accepted ASTC Travel Passport program, which includes free or discounted admission to science and technology museums worldwide. This reciprocating program, however, does exclude any museums within 90 miles of your residence and the museum of which you are a member. (And that’s a fairly common practice.) To give you an idea of the breadth of this program, their list of participating museums is 32 pages long!
- Botanica members receive free or discounted admission to over 300 botanical gardens, arboreta & conservatories through the American Horticulture Society reciprocal program. Again, this one may have some restrictions regarding local competing gardens within a 90-mile radius, but if you travel it can be a great benefit of membership.