Blue Star Museums

Whether you’re a military family currently stationed in central Indiana, temporarily visiting or have called Indiana home for years; Did you know Indiana is proud to support Blue Star Museums? “Blue Star Museums is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in collaboration with Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums nationwide, including children’s museums, fine art museums, history and science museums, zoos, aquariums, nature centers, theaters and National parks”. Blue Star Museums is one way our nation’s museums can express appreciation to our military for their service. As a young military family living in Indiana we love participating in visiting these great museums every summer.

Each summer Blue Star Museums offers free admission to the nations active-duty military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard). As well as, to members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and NOAA Commissioned Corps. In the past, service members and their families received free admission to the museums from Memorial Day through Labor Day, but beginning in 2019, participants can get into any of the museums from Armed Forces Day (May 18) through Labor Day (September 2).

Service members and their families can get free admission for themselves and up to five family members; including a spouse, children, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles. 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 for entrance into a participating Blue Star Museum.

Blue Star Museums in Central Indiana

  1. Indiana State Museum
  2. Indiana Historical Society
  3. Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art
  4. NCAA Hall of Champions
  5. Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfield’s
  6. Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
  7. Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library
  8. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
  9. Conner Prairie
  10. Carmel Clay Historical Society and Monon Depot Museum

My boys loved exploring some of these museums last summer and we plan on going to every museum listed for this year. Some special events or limited time exhibits may not be eligible for free entry, so be sure to call ahead to verify availability. Not all museums in central Indiana are participating in the Blue Star Museum program, but some museums may offer a military discount, be sure to call ahead and ask before paying full price admission.

Blue Star Parks

Every summer my family enjoys going outdoors and exploring nature and all the beauty it has to offer. Did you know that Military families can also receive an annual pass to national parks nationwide for free? Active-duty military personnel and their families can receive an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass for Free.

The pass grants military family’s access to over 2,000 national parks, wildlife refugees and other public lands. Military members or their dependents can receive a free pass from a select national park or wild refuge entrance by showing their Military or dependent ID. The program currently does not apply to military veterans and retirees. For parks with a vehicle admission, the pass will cover the car the pass owner is riding in. Parks that offer per-person admission, the pass will cover the main person with three accompanying adults ages 16 and older, there’s no entry fee for children 15 and under.

The program also does not apply to State parks, but some State parks may offer reduced admission to military personnel and their families. As always, it’s best to call ahead and check the park your thinking of visiting before heading out.

Indiana Parks that offer the Free Access Pass:

  1. Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge
  2. Brookville Lake
  3. Cagle’s Mill Lake
  4. Cecil M. Harden Lake
  5. Hoosier National Forest
  6. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
  7. Monroe Lake
  8. Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge

Blue Star Theaters

Blue Star Theaters is a collaboration between Theatre Communications Group and Blue Star Families. Participating Blue Star Theaters are offering discounted or complimentary admission to all military personnel and their families, as well as veterans. Education programs and other theatre opportunities may be discounted as well.

The Indiana Repertory Theatre is part of the Blue Star Theatre program. The IRT offers specially priced tickets to Military personnel, their families and Veterans. It offers one complimentary ticket to all active military personnel and offer half-price tickets (Premium and Standard seats only; $25 minimum price on tickets after the discount) to dependents and veterans.

As a young military family living in Indiana we are very grateful for this wonderful opportunity to be able to have each summer. We have enjoyed visiting these museums and parks; and hope they continue to offer this to military families each summer.