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How to get free admission to top Atlanta attractions

Visitors take pictures of the official portrait of the former first lady Michelle Obama in the first day open exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Washington.

Atlanta has a lot of great attractions, but seeing them all can get expensive. While deals and discounts are sure to pop up periodically, there are some paths to free admission that are always available. It may require patience to cash in on them, such as waiting until your birthday or the first weekend of the month, but eventually the time will come.

Here are some of the ways you can gain free admission to some of Atlanta’s top attractions, as well as some useful information on other special offers and discounts. In all cases, check the websites or call the attraction in advance for more details and instructions on how to get the offers.

Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. 535 Means St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-688-1970, www.thecontemporary.org.

Admission to ACAC is always free. Catch lectures, gallery tours, film screenings and more for free.

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Atlanta History Center. 130 W. Paces Ferry Road N.W., Atlanta. 404-814-4000, www.atlantahistorycenter.com.

Museums on Us: Bank of America/Merrill Lynch debit or credit cardholders receive free admission every first full weekend of each month. The offer is only for the cardholder.

Good to know: Teachers interested in booking a self-guided tour for their students can request a free planning pass when registering for a tour. The offer is only available to teachers scheduling self-guided tours. 

The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive, Atlanta. 404-659-5437, www.childrensmuseumatlanta.org.

Fulton County Days: Fulton County residents can buy one admission ticket and receive one additional general admission ticket for free on the opening day of each feature exhibit. Tickets are available for walk-in visitors only and are subject to availability. You also must have proof of residency such as a Georgia driver’s license or ID with a county code of 60, student ID from a Fulton County-based school, or Fulton County employee identification card.

Good to know: On Memorial Day, July 4, Veterans Day, Flag Day, and Armed Forces Day, all active, retired and reserve military personnel are admitted for free, and their families receive a discounted rate. A military ID must be presented to receive the special offer.

Georgia Aquarium. 225 Baker St. N.W, Atlanta. 404-581-4000, www.georgiaaquarium.org.

It’s Your Birthday: Georgia residents get free entry to the aquarium on their birthdays. Just show proof of your birthday (ID or birth certificate) at any ticket window and you get a Total Ticket, which gives you access to all galleries and shows.

Good to know: Other groups or individuals may be able to get free entry through special programs. Sponsored Education Admissions (SEA) grants free or discounted admission to Title I (K-12) schools and nonprofit groups.

Members of the military get free admission every Monday, Jan. 1 through Oct. 30 as well as Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day. Members of the military can also get a significant discount on admission by purchasing tickets through the ITT/MWR office at their local base.

High Museum of Art. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-733-4400, www.high.org.

Second Sundays: Everybody gets in free from noon to 5 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month.

Museums on UsUse your Bank of America/Merrill Lynch debit or credit card to receive free admission on the first full Saturday and Sunday of each month. The discount is offered for the cardholder only. Walk-up admission only. 

Good to knowActive and veteran military personnel get free admission plus one guest during regular hours. That comes along with free parking in the Woodruff Arts Center parking deck. Proof of service required, walk-up admission only.

The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. Photo courtesy of The Center for Puppetry Arts. (Fast Copy News Service)

The Center for Puppetry Arts. 1404 Spring St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-873-3391, www.puppet.org.

Fulton County Free Museum SaturdaysFulton County residents, students and employees get free admission to museum exhibits on some Saturdays. Here are upcoming dates: July 14 and October 13, 2018,January 26 and April 27, 2019. Complete the form online and bring it in the day of your visit. Free admission is just for the museum but if you’re eligible for it you can buy a ticket for a performance and workshop that same day for 25% off. 

GPL Passport to Puppetry: Get free museum admission when you check out the “Passport to Puppetry” at any participating public library in all 159 Georgia counties. The passport is valid for up to four museum admissions and you get 25 percent off a puppet show and the create-a-puppet workshop. The show discount must be redeemed the same day of the museum visit and is only for Family Series performances. Some other exclusions apply.

The World of Coca-Cola. 121 Baker St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-676-5151, www.worldofcoca-cola.com.

Active duty, reserves and retired members of the armed forces receive complimentary admission to the World of Coca-Cola. Free admission applies only for the actual armed forces member. Family members and guests must pay the regular admission rate. Show a valid armed forces ID card at the ticket window to redeem the special offer.

Zoo Atlanta. 800 Cherokee Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404-624-9453, www.zooatlanta.org.

Fulton County Family Free Days: The zoo is free for Fulton county residents during one weekend in August. Check the website for details and dates.

Zoo Atlanta Family Pass: Adults with a valid library card from any branch of a participating public library system throughout the state of Georgia (except the Auburn Avenue Research Library) can check out this pass once per year, per household. You check out the Family Pass DVD at the front desk, and when you return it, you get a receipt. The receipt is valid for 28 days. Show it and your library card at the gate to get free admission for up to four. If you have more than four people in your party, general admission rates apply. The pass cannot be used for fee-based events at the zoo.

Good to know: There are two Educator Appreciation Days — one in the spring and one in the fall — when teachers are granted free admission to the zoo.

In addition, nonprofit groups can write a letter to the Community Affairs Department to request ticket donations.

Sometimes in January and February, admission to Zoo Atlanta is 25 percent off. The trade-off? Only half of the animals are likely to be on exhibit (the others will be inside staying warm). Search for Wild Winter Days.

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