Oh, The Places You Can Explore For Free

By Michael Berick

los angeles events

Run around National Parks for free on select days throughout 2017. PHOTO COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

The New Year begins with something that everyone can rally behind – free stuff!

SoCal Museums is a group of museum professionals who want to raise public awareness about our local cultural institutions. On Jan. 29, everyone can benefit from this mission during Museum Free-For-All Day. Folks can check out more than 25 area museums without having to pay an admission fee.

You can investigate the Old West at the Autry or outer space at the Columbia Memorial Space Center (which will be open Jan. 28 for free). Learn about a world of cultures at California African American Museum, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, the Skirball, the Fowler and Japanese American National Museum. Kidspace and the Zimmer are also participating, as are such popular destinations as the Natural History Museum, Descanso Gardens, California Science Center, Craft & Folk Art Museum, MOCA, LACMA, the Broad, the Hammer and both Getty museums. How many can you visit in a day?

For more information and a full list of museums, visit www.socalmuseums.org/free.

Meanwhile, the National Parks Service’s Centennial Celebration might be over, but the agency still has some gifts to share thanks to National Park Service Free Days (www.nps.gov) throughout the year. Entrance fees will be waived 10 times during 2017, starting with Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 16 and continuing on Presidents Day Feb. 20, National Park Week Weekends April 15-16 and 22-23, National Park Service Birthday Aug. 25, National Public Lands Day Sept. 30 and Veterans Day Weekend Nov. 11-12.

In California alone, you can explore Death Valley, wander Muir Woods, venture to the Lassen Volcanic National Park or hang out at Joshua Tree. How about a weekend trekking from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to Yosemite? The NPS also is bringing back its “Every Kid In A Park” pass program (www.everykidinapark.gov), which offers a free annual pass to all national parks for any fourth grade student and anyone traveling with the student.

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