How to get free passes & discounted admission to museums & cultural attractions

By Rose Barnes, Health & Senior Services Librarian

Spring is just around the corner, and like me, you might be itching to get out of the house after months of mostly being inside over the winter. This time of year can be fickle, not quite winter and not quite spring; it’s a weird, in-between time when we’re all just ready for a change.

One way that I like to motivate myself to get out of the house is by using my Oak Park library card to check out free passes, discounted admission, and other deals through Museum Adventure Pass and Explore More Illinois.

Each program offers different attractions and offers that you can learn more about below!

Museum Adventure Pass

Museum Adventure passes focus on Chicago area cultural attractions. You can check what’s available online and either get them emailed directly to you or check on availability in the library and pick them up. Once you check out a pass, you’ll need to use it within seven days before it expires.

Two of my favorite places to check out passes for are the Chicago Botanical Garden and the Brookfield Zoo. Both passes are very popular, so make sure to check availability before heading out on your adventure. 

Just remember:

  • Passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis to Oak Park Public Library cardholders only.
  • Borrow one pass per cardholder, per museum/location, per loan period.
  • Availability of passes and museums varies daily.

Explore More Illinois

Explore More Illinois is great for when you want to get away from Chicago but need a little help deciding where to go. There are some attractions in Chicago—like the Children’s Museum and the Annoyance Theatre—but I especially like checking out attractions outside of the city. 

Like the Museum Adventure Pass, you can check what’s available online or stop by the library and pick up a pass. Two passes that I’m interested in checking out are the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library in Springfield and the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie. 

Just remember:

  • Passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis to Oak Park Public Library cardholders only.
  • Reserve up to three attractions at one time; attractions may limit the frequency of reservations.
  • Participating attractions and offers are subject to change; log in to see the most current offerings.

I hope these two free services encourage you to get out and explore something new this spring!

About Rose

Rose is an Adult Services Librarian specializing in health and senior services. She is a passionate reader, baker, and explorer who is always planning her next adventure.