L.A. Zoo, NHM, and La Brea Tar Pits all Offering Free Admission for LAUSD Students During Strike

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Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Tuesday kicked off the first of an expected three-day strike by the Service Employees International Local 99 as they grapple with the Los Angeles Unified School District over increased wages and benefits. With the United Teachers Union of L.A. backing the 30,000 service employees, schools will remain closed for the duration, and that leaves parents and caregivers of LAUSD students wondering how they’re going to fill the hours normally spent in the classroom. Thankfully, a couple of Los Angeles institutions are coming in with an assist.

The Los Angeles Zoo, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, and La Brea Tar Pits & Museum are offering free admission to LAUSD students during the expected term of strike. In the case of NHM and the Tar Pits Museum, general admission tickets for students can picked up onsite (not online) at museum ticket counters from March 21-23. Adult chaperones will also get in free.


For both NHM and the Tar Pits, students will have access to free daily programming, as well as grade-appropriate, self-guided activities and lesson plans for pick-up onsite. One caveat: If parties want to check out special experiences like the Butterly Pavilion, they’ll have to pay an extra fee. You can head over to NHM and/or Tar Pits websites to plan your visit.

For the Zoo, tickets will available onsite at the Zoo box office only (not online). Also keep in mind that adult chaperones will pay $5 to be admitted and students will have to show proof of enrollment to get the gratis admission. Full details here.

Finally, if you do decide to take advantage of any of the above offers, here are a few add-on ideas (all free) so you can make a fuller day out of your excursion:

  • The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which is right next door to the Tar Pits, offers a free NexGenLA youth membership program, that provides all LA County youth under 18 (plus one adult) with free admission every day of every month. A fantastic program. Keep in mind LACMA is closed on Wednesdays.
  • Both the California Science Center and California African America Museum are on the Exposition Park campus near NHM, and both offer year-round free admission. CSS is open daily, CAAM is closed on Tuesdays.
  • If you have little ones you’re taking to the Zoo, you may also want to skip up to the Travel Town Museum (free admission), which is open 7 days a week.
  • Finally, if none of the above pique you or your child’s interests, be sure to check out our big list of free museums and museum days for more ideas.

Hope some of that helps!


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