See the Intrepid for Free!

Visit the Intrepid for free!
Visit the Intrepid for free!

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum  is is a military museum in New York City that showcases the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier and houses the submarine USS Growler, the Concorde SST, and the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

Admission tickets usually cost $33 per person, but on Saturday September 23, 2017, admission is free thanks to the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day Live program.

This year, 1,250 museums and cultural institutions across the country are participaing in the Smithsonian program, which offers two free tickets to those who register online.

If military museums are not your thing, you can visit the City Museum of New York or the Cooper Hewitt design museum for free.  However, you must download you tickets in advance for this September 23, 2017 event.

If you’re in Washington, DC, you can get free tickets to the Kreeger Museum of modern art, the National Building Museum, or the Newseum.

Find a museum in your locale with this online search tool.

Museum Day Live! is an annual event.

The One (Travel Deal) That Got Away

Silent Auction Travel DealsOne of the best travel deals I’ve ever landed was purchased at a PTA silent auction at my daughter’s elementary school.  For something like $20, I picked up a family membership to a Virginia science museum.  The membership granted our family free admission to that museum for one year.

But the real deal was the local museum’s affiliation with the Passport Program of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC).

Over 300 science and children’s museums across the country and around the world participate in the ASTC Passport Program.

If you join one museum, your family can get free admission to any of the participating museums!

Among the offerings are gems such as:

  • the Museum of Flight in Seattle;
  • the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia;
  • the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago;
  • the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City; and
  • the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore.
Free Admission to the Pacific Science Center
Photo by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia

ASTC Passport Program Saves the Day!

I’ll never forget the time we visited my sister in Seattle.

We had ridden the monorail over to Seattle Center.  But the sky was overcast —  not a good day to go up the Space Needle.

All of a sudden it started pouring.  We ducked in to the Pacific Science Center.

Our whole family got in for free, thanks to the ASTC Passport.  It turned out to be a fantastic museum and we ended up spending several hours there.

Silent Auctions are Your Best Friend

In recent years, silent auctions for charitable causes have gone online.  The trick is to find a little known auction where there is less competition.

I stumbled across the annual fundraising auction for the Society of American Travel Writers last week.  I thought I was golden.  There seemed to be very few active bidders, and the travel prizes were great.  I placed a lowball bid for a trip to New Orleans.  The package included a stay at a Bed & Breakfast Inn, lunch, and a fat tire bicycle tour.  Unfortunately, I was outbid on that prize, but the winner still ended up with a great deal.

Passports with Purpose Annual Auction

Passports with Purpose annual AuctionAnother great annual event is a fundraiser sponsored by Passports with Purpose.

This event is a raffle, rather than a silent auction.  All proceeds go to support an international charity.  This year the beneficiary is Worldreader.

For a donation of $10, you can win a chance at dozens of great travel prizes — everything from tours to hotel stays to travel gear.

You can check out the prize catalog for the 2015 campaign here.  Proceeds will go to buy digital readers for libraries in Kenya.  It’s a great cause and an easy way for frequent travelers to give back.

The Secret Terrace Cafe at the Louvre

The Terrace Colbert
The Terrasse Colbert in the Louvre has a convenient outdoor snack bar.

There are at least 15 restaurants at the Louvre museum in Paris, and all 15 of them have a long line at lunch time.

Except one.

In the Richelieu wing, on the “first” floor (which is really the second floor), just past the entrance to the Cafe Richelieu, there is an open door which looks like a service entrance.

There is a banner on the door, but if you are coming from the opposite direction you will miss it.

The door leads past the Cafe Richelieu espresso machines to an exit onto an outdoor terrace overlooking the courtyard of the Louvre.

Welcome to the Terrasse Colbert!

Statuary of the Terrace Colbert
Statuary of the Terrace Colbert at the Louvre
Image via Wikimedia Commons

There, you will find some long tables set with chairs, and a small cafe.

This cafe is not mentioned in the official literature from the museum, so I suspect that it is seasonal.

You can rest your feet among the statuary and enjoy the view.

The snack bar at Terrace Colbert at the Louvre
The snack bar at Terrasse Colbert at the Louvre

The selection at the snack bar is quite limited — just a few types of sandwiches, soft drinks, and packaged ice cream.

But you will be able to rest your feet, enjoy the fresh air and the view of the famous pyramid, and avoid wasting precious time standing in line.

Enjoying the atmosphere at the Terrasse Colbert
Enjoying the atmosphere at the Terrasse Colbert

Here is a map to help you find this hidden gem!

Location of the Terrace Snack Bar at the Louvre
Location of the Terrace Snack Bar at the Louvre