Three family-friendly museums in Downtown Mesa will offer free admission from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, for Merry Museums.

The evening event is part of the City of Mesa’s Museum Discovery series. Participating museums are Arizona Museum of Natural History, the i.d.e.a. Museum and Mesa Contemporary Art Museum.

Complimentary access is offered during Museum Discovery events on select days or evenings by City of Mesa cultural institutions. These free events are aimed at making science, art and hands-on activities accessible to families of all economic backgrounds.

Dino museum

The Arizona Museum of Natural History, located at 53 N. Macdonald, has dinosaurs that roar and so much more. Visitors can explore the Lost Dutchman’s mine, wander through an ancient Hohokam village or take a selfie with a T. rex. There is something exciting for everyone.

Children’s museum

At the i.d.e.a. Museum, guests can enjoy imaginative and creative experiences in ArtVille and the HUB Gallery. They are encouraged to journey into current art exhibition, Weather or Not: Art with Atmosphere, where visitors will experience the wonder and artistry of weather through hands-on activities.

Art museum

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, which is always free, is offering extended hours that evening. Visitors are encouraged to explore Flora & Fauna – an exhibition of contemporary art that looks at animal and plant life, as well as celebrates nature and its enduring influence in art. Solo exhibitions include Medieval Pinata by Roberto Benavidea, Biophilia by Mary Meyer, and The Memory of Birds by Carol Eckert.

FYIs during free events

Free days are very popular and attract crowds. If a museum nears visitor capacity, the staff at that museum may implement timed tickets at the door on a first-come, first-served basis to better serve guests. No advanced tickets will be distributed.

Should there be wait time for entry, visitors are encouraged to check out holiday-themed activities taking place at Merry Main Street – another City of Mesa family-friendly event – and 2nd Friday Night Out in Downtown Mesa. Both events – along Main Street – are within walking distance from all three museums. Enjoy food trucks, a Christmas market, an ice rink and more. Start your Merry Museum evening early to enjoy all these special activities within blocks of each other.

More discounts!

Please note: AZMNH and the i.d.e.a. Museum participate in Museums for All – a discounted admission program for economically challenged families, so they may experience the museum without the crowds typical on free days/evenings. Families who present their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card qualify for a $2 admission per person (up to 6 people) and may visit both museums during business hours that are convenient for their families.

Regular prices

Regular admission at AZMNH is $7 for children ages 3-12 and $12 for adults; museum members are free. At the i.d.e.a. Museum, regular admission is $9 for everyone ages 1 and up; museum members are free.

More museum activities can be found online at and



Mesa’s Department of Arts and Culture includes the Arizona Museum of Natural History, i.d.e.a. Museum and Mesa Arts Center, all located in downtown Mesa, Arizona. The mission of the department is to strengthen, for all, the creative, social and economic fabric of our community and region through inspiring, relevant, engaging and transformational cultural experiences and cross-sector collaborations.