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Blue Star Families: Summer Museum Tour

May brings the end of another school year and the beginning of the summer travel season. For many military families, that means making a visit back home to see family or possibly moving to a new duty station. Summer can also be a great time to explore the area around Fort Leonard Wood and experience all that Missouri has to offer. This is where Blue Star Families and the National Endowment for the Arts shine with their Blue Star Museums program. 


The Blue Star Museums program offers free admission to over 2,000 museums, nature centers, and zoos to military personnel and their family members (including National Guard and Reserves).


This summer, there are 24 Missouri organizations participating in the Blue Star Museums program. While all of these are exceptional options for families, we’re highlighting our top three favorites below.


The Magic House, St. Louis:

This immersive children’s museum will keep your kids entertained for the entire day. With plenty of permanent indoor and outdoor exhibits, as well as engaging temporary exhibits, you can visit the museum multiple times and still enjoy a fun, fresh experience.


Typical summer hours are Monday – Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and parking is free. While there is food available for purchase at the museum, you are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it in the museum’s Garden Pavilion area. Before you head to the museum, check out their upcoming events and special programs to maximize your visit.


With endless indoor and outdoor exhibits, this museum is perfect for summertime! You’ll find an accessible maze and treehouse outdoors and plenty of interactive exhibits indoors. Kids will be able to move and stretch, as well as enjoy the Creation Station, which is packed with arts and crafts materials.


You can visit the museum Tuesday – Sunday, but their hours vary each day. There is free parking and you’re invited to bring your own food into the museum to enjoy in their Picnic Zone. Before you visit, check out the many resources the museum provides so you’re able to maximize your visit.


Missouri State Museum, Jefferson City:

Located on the first floor of the Missouri State Capitol, the Missouri State Museum is an excellent museum to add to your summer list, especially if you’re new to the state. The museum will provide a comprehensive look at the state’s natural and cultural history through various exhibits. We highly recommend pairing a visit to this museum with a tour of Missouri’s State Capitol building. The capitol building can be explored on your own, but a tour is recommended. All tour reservations must be made 24 hours in advance of your visit.


Before you visit, print off a copy of this scavenger hunt to increase your group’s engagement while at the museum.


Before your family heads out to visit one of these Blue Star Museums this summer, check out the Blue Star Families Museum Toolkit. This document will help you get the most out of your visit and ensure you are completely prepared. For a complete list of Blue Star Museums across the nation, click here

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