Access to the Museum

The Museum has a wide range of programs that provide free or deeply discounted access to the Museum for thousands of children and families. As the Museum safely reopens in phases, these programs may be modified or put on hold.

pARTners in Creativity

We partner with social service and other organizations that share our passion for providing educational experiences with art. Through pARTners in Creativity, we host group visits for children and families from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, with special needs or other life challenges. We have worked with numerous organizations over recent years, including: Braille Institute, Community ConNext, Migrant Education, Monarch School, Ronald McDonald House Charities, San Diego Center for Children, SDYS Foster Care, Sensory Friendly San Diego, Support the Enlisted Project (STEP), USO San Diego, Vista Hills, Voices for Children and Words Alive. Voices for Children’s CASAs and their case foster children are also offered free visits.

Please contact our education department at education@thinkplaycreate.org for more information about pARTners in Creativity.

This VSA program is provided in 2020-2021 under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

pARTners in Creativity is made possible through generous support from Kiwanis Club of San Diego and Maryanne and Irv Pfister.

Accessibility Mornings

The Museum hosts Accessibility Mornings quarterly throughout the year. With a variety of high-sensory activities and designated sensory-break zones, Accessibility Mornings provide children with disabilities and their families with the opportunity to explore the Museum with comfort and safety before the Museum opens to the general public (and then stay for the day if desired).

Due to the Museum’s closure during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Accessibility Morning program was put on hold. In its place, we are providing online art resources and virtual arts programming from partner organizations. Click here to access these resources. Stay tuned for updates on 0ur 2021 program.

Salute Our Troops: Military Access

The Museum embraces military families and strives to provide an affordable, enriching place for them to feel appreciated and at home. When the Museum is open, we provide discounted admission to military personnel and their families. Some military groups further serve their constituents through our Museum Pass program. See also the pARTners in Creativity program that provides tailored art-making workshops for Support the Enlisted Project (STEP) and USO San Diego.

As a participating museum in the Blue Star Museums program, we provide free admission to those currently serving in the United States Military and up to five family members starting on Armed Forces Day, May 15, 2021 and ending on Labor Day, September 6, 2021. Qualified members must show a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID) or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card.

Our military effort is sponsored in part by U.S. Bank, BAE Systems, the David C. Copley Foundation, the Epstein Family Foundation and the Walter J. & Betty C. Zable Foundation.

Museums for All Initiative

Through the Museums for All initiative, visitors can present a WIC Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and photo ID at the Welcome Desk to receive $1 admission for up to 4 people.

Museums for All, is a collaborative initiative between the Association of Children’s Museums and the Institute for Museums and Library Services that encourages families of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum habits.

Schools and Groups

Thousands of children each year come for school visits at little to no cost through our School Visits/Title I Access Program. We also work with an increasing number of organizations who serve children with disabilities and other life challenges.

See our education page for more information about our education resources and this program’s generous supporters.

CASAs

Our Museum maintains a partnership with Voices for Children and its CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program, granting free admission to children and CASA volunteers. To take advantage of our program, just come in to the Museum with your CASA identification card and your case child or children to enjoy a free day at the Museum. For more information contact us at education@thinkplaycreate.org.

Museum Collaborations

The Museum participates with San Diego’s 40+ museums through the San Diego Museum Council to provide free and discounted access for San Diego residents and tourists. The Museum provides 50% off in February (during Museum Month) and free admission for kids in October (through Kids Free October). The Museum is also an active member of the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) that nationally includes over 200 children’s museums. All Museum members receive 50% off admission at ACM member organizations across the United States.

Access to Art and Creativity

During our closure, we have worked with our community partners to respond to their needs. Despite not being able to offer face-to-face interactions, we are reaching thousands of families with our Think Play Create Learning Kits, designed and assembled by our in-house team. We believe that providing learning kits, craft and art supplies to those who cannot afford it, helps children, educators and families get through these challenging times with creativity and hope. Our Think Play Create Learning Kits serve the following access programs:

pARTners in Creativity

We are providing learning art kits to social service organizations that are part of our pARTners in Creativity access program. Kits include standards-based lesson plans with a video tutorial, additional learning activities and art supplies for children and their families.

Organizations in our pARTners in Creativity program include: Braille Institute, Community ConNext, Migrant Education, Monarch School, Ronald McDonald House Charities, San Diego Center for Children, SDYS Foster Care, Sensory Friendly San Diego, Support the Enlisted Project (STEP), USO San Diego, Vista Hills, Voices for Children and Words Alive.

This VSA program is provided in 2020-2021 under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

pARTners in Creativity is made possible through generous support from Kiwanis Club of San Diego and Maryanne and Irv Pfister.

Mass Creativity

Mass Creativity is an artist-led community outreach program that involves the community to help provide inspiration for a new art installation in the Museum created by an artist-in-residence. Our 2020 Mass Creativity artist-in-residence, Panca, worked with the Museum to create a new installation called El Más Allá (slated to open Summer 2021) inspired by free virtual workshops with seven community centers. As part of the program, we provided art kits inspired by Panca’s installation to the community centers. Learn more about Mass Creativity 2020 here. Information about Mass Creativity 2021 coming soon.

Mass Creativity community centers include: Barrio Logan College Institute, Casa Familiar Civic and Recreation Center, City Heights Weingart Library, Paradise Hills at Skyline Library, The San Diego LGBT Center, Solutions for Change and South Bay Community Services.

Mass Creativity is made possible by Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Dow Divas Investment Club, US Bank, Cox Communications, Southwest, The Gossard Family, The City of San Diego, Chula Vista Cultural Arts Commission, County of San Diego and First 5 San Diego.

Lindsay Community School

Throughout the closure, the Museum provided weekly virtual tutorials with lesson plans and art supplies for pregnant and parenting high school students of the Lindsay Community School. The program is centered on supporting these students’ specific needs as caregivers through experiences that allow them to tell their stories and connect with each other. View lesson plans here.

This program is made possible thanks to the generous support from the California Arts Council, a state agency. 

Virtual School Visits

Virtual School Visits are an online alternative to the Museum’s school visits program. Our Virtual School Visit classroom kits include an online video tour of the Museum’s art installations and studio spaces with standards-based art activities and supplies, and are made free to educators at Title 1 schools. Learn more about Virtual School Visits here.

The Virtual School Visit experience is made possible by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Additional support by County of San Diego, Nordson, Qualcomm and the Rice Family Foundation.

Innovators LAB

We are offering Innovators Toolboxes through the Museum’s makerspace, The Rosso Family Foundation Innovators LAB to our community partners. These STEAM-based kits are designed by artists and other professionals that include activities, art supplies and tools for hands-on exploration with art and science at home. Kits will provide fun design challenges and projects that build a child’s creativity, imagination and critical-thinking skills.

This project is made possible by the generous support of The Rosso Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, SDG&E, Cox Communications, Solar Turbines, Lockheed Martin, ResMed Foundation, Thermo Fisher Scientific, General Atomics Sciences Education Foundation and BAE Systems.

In addition to the program funders listed within each of the categories above, access opportunities are generously supported by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

Masks Required

Masks are required for all guests (ages 2+) inside the Museum, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are not required in our outdoor spaces. Click here to read our full Safer Play Policy before visiting the Museum.