One more reason to love your local library? FREE passes to local museums and attractions. Many library districts offer some sort of pass that gives you FREE entry to every place from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and Dinosaur Ridge to the Butterfly Pavilion and Denver Firefighters Museum. For a family of four, this can be a considerable savings and a way to explore a new or favorite attraction, without having to deal with the crowds of community-wide free days. You do need a library card for each specific district to take advantage of these freebies, but don’t worry if you don’t have one. Any Colorado resident can get a card for any library as long as you present some sort of photo ID at one of the library locations. Once you have signed up, then you can typically reserve your pass online, just as you would put a hold on a book or DVD. A few systems even let you download and print out the pass. Here’s what’s available.
Arapahoe County Library District offers FREE Exploration Passes good for admission to the Butterfly Pavilion, Dinosaur Ridge, Molly Brown House, Clyfford Still Museum, Denver Firefighters Museum, Morrison Natural History Museum, Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. Passes are available in limited quantities each day and allow different numbers of people to enter the attraction at no cost. Because the Exploration Pass page can be sorted by date, the simplest method is to pick your day and see what’s available. Be sure to read the “Pass Information” for each attraction. Some passes admit four people, others only two. And you are limited in the number you can get in a 30-day period.
Jefferson County Libraries has a Culture Pass which can be used at the Butterfly Pavilion, the History Colorado Center, Denver Firefighters Museum, Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, Dinosaur Ridge, Golden History Museums, MCA Denver, the Platte Valley Trolley and Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. You can reserve a pass up to 30 days ahead of time and book a maximum of two passes every 30 days.
Douglas County Libraries offers FREE Adventure Passes good for admission to the Butterfly Pavilion, Dinosaur Ridge, History Colorado and Denver Firefighters Museum. Passes are available in limited quantities each day and allow different numbers of people to enter the attraction at no cost. Because the Adventure Pass page can be sorted by date, the simplest method is to pick your day and see what’s available. Be sure to read the “Pass Information” for each attraction. Some passes admit four people, others only two. And you are limited in the number you can get in a 90-day period.
Westminster Library offers an Adventure Pass with free admission to the Butterfly Pavilion, Clyfford Still Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver (Platte Valley) Trolley, Dinosaur Ridge, Golf Westminster, Little Monkey Bizness, Standley Lake Regional Park and Westminster Recreation Centers. Because each pass has different terms and conditions (such as which passes are online and which are physical), the best way to figure out what’s what is to check out the Adventure Pass site.
Aurora Public Library offers Denver Museum of Nature & Science Family Plus Membership cards (a $125 value) you can check out just like a book or DVD. The pass allows seven people, over the age of two, FREE entry to the museum. You can visit the museum as many times as you like in those seven days. Plus, you get all the other benefits during a visit that a member does: more than 30% off IMAX & Planetarium show tickets, 10% off Museum Shop purchases, 10% off T-Rex Cafe & Deli purchases and discounts on special exhibition tickets. Library patrons can check out the membership cards for one week and enjoy the Museum for an hour or a day, every day they have the card. You can put a membership card on hold, check it out and return it — just as you would any other library materials. The Library also offers passes to Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys and the Museo de las Americas. The easiest way to locate and reserve a pass is to use the online catalog. Search for Denver Museum of Nature & Science or the name of the other museums or Colorado State Parks and the pass information should pop up.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has teamed up with all libraries across the state to offer the Check-Out Colorado State Park Program. Each library has just two seven-day hang-tag park passes good for entrance to all 42 state parks, and they can be reserved just as books can.