Access to the Museum, Art and Creativity

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 well as providing free learning art kits to partner social service organizations in the community. Click on pink text to learn more about each program.

Sensory Friendly Mornings

Sensory Friendly Mornings provides free access for families who would benefit from a sensory friendly experience and quieter setting at the Museum an hour before opening to the general public. The Museum’s interactive art installations vary from high-sensory activities to designated sensory-break zones that provide a range of experiences for these groups to enjoy with comfort and safety. The 2024 program takes place on February 10 from 8:30-9:30am. View 2024 dates here.

Sensory Friendly Mornings is made possible through generous support from the Conrad Prebys Foundation, the G.A. Foster Legacy Foundation, Samuel H. French & Katherine Weaver Fund, Sundt Foundation, U.S. Bank, The New Children’s Museum’s Board of Directors and Gala Donors + Attendees. 

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.

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. The Museum collaborates with the artist to host art workshops or provide learning art kits to community centers in San Diego. The artwork created through these workshops or kits are then used as inspiration for a new art installation in the Museum, and culminate on Mass Creativity Day, an all-day, outdoor festival of art, play and creativity with free admission to the Museum. Learn more about our Mass Creativity program here.

Past Mass Creativity community centers have included: 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.

Museums for All Initiative

Through the Museums for All initiative, visitors can present a WIC Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) or SNAP card and photo ID at the Welcome Desk to receive $2 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.

pARTners in Creativity

We partner with social service and local organizations that share our passion for providing educational experiences with art. Through pARTners in Creativity, we host group visits at the Museum, and provide learning art kits that include standards-based lesson plans with a video tutorial and supplies for children and families. Organizations currently part of our pARTners in Creativity program include: Autism Tree Foundation, Camp Hope, Monarch School, Sensory Friendly San Diego, SDCC (San Diego Center for Children), STEP (Support the Enlisted Project), Voices for Children, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Words Alive and USO San Diego.

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

pARTners in Creativity is made possible through generous support from BAE Systems, The Conrad Prebys Foundation, Samuel H. French & Katherine Weaver French Fund, Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, and Lockheed Martin. 

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 Adult military personnel. 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 and learning art kits 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 20, 2023 and ending on Labor Day, September 4, 2023. 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 BAE Systems, the David C. Copley Foundation, the Epstein Family Foundation, G.A. Foster Legacy Foundation, Lockheed Martin, U.S. Bank and the Walter J. & Betty C. Zable Foundation.

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 School Visits page for more information.

Virtual School Visits are an online alternative to the Museum’s onsite 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.

School and group visits are made possible by

California Arts Council, City of San Diego, The Conrad Prebys Foundation, David C. Copley Foundation, Dr. Seuss Foundation, The G.A. Foster Legacy Foundation, Samuel H. French & Katherine Weaver French Fund, Hervey Family Fund at San Diego Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Nordson Corporation, Qualcomm, The Rice Family Foundation, Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation, U.S. Bank, The New Children’s Museum Board of Directors, and Gala Sponsors + Attendees.

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.

Rx for Art and Play

The New Children’s Museum’s newest pilot program, Rx for Art + Play, helps low-to-moderate income families integrate literacy-based art and play into their daily routines, fostering children’s mental and behavioral wellness and familial wellbeing.

Partnering pediatricians are prescribing Rx for Art + Play to all children, ages three to five, at their annual well visits at three CPCMG clinics located in under-resourced San Diego communities within 10 miles of the Museum.

Rx for Art + Play is free and includes a literacy-based Art + Play kit for families to complete together, a year-long New Children’s Museum Family Membership for up to six people, and free parking during visits, creating an incredible opportunity for creativity and freedom of play for thousands of families.

Made possible by Github, The Parker Foundation, and The Dr. Seuss Foundation. 

Our access programs are made possible by