Indianapolis annually offers free admission to popular attractions on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Check with each attraction as advance reservations are required in some instances
Every year, most Indianapolis attractions offer free admission and themed programs for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
If you’re thinking of traveling for an educational day trip, be sure to plan ahead as space is limited.
Many, if not all, of our favorite Indianapolis family-friendly venues are free to the public on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. While we write often about free museum days in Chicago, free museum days at Indianapolis attractions are much more rare.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the best known of those free days. Not only are these attractions free, most of them have special events and content aligned with Dr. King’s life and legacy.
– Even though admission may be free, advance reservations are recommended by many of these locations (but not all).
– Remember, Indianapolis is in the Eastern time zone. An early start to your day is the best way to maximize your time there.
– Save even more money by packing your own lunch and snacks.
– Parking is mostly free for these venues, but not always.
– We base the savings on a family of four — two adults and two paying kids. Every location has a different definition of a “kid.”
– Can’t make it to Indy on Jan. 16? The other popular free museum day in Indianapolis is President’s Day.
Here’s the scoop on what’s free in Indianapolis for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
The museum opens its doors with free admission to all children and families to celebrate the life, achievements, and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You need to get tickets to be able to visit the museum for free. Enjoy a special performance by the Griot Drum Ensemble on this day, as well as storyteller Portia Jackson and artist Ashley Nora. An older review of a visit to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum is available here.
AVERAGE SAVINGS FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR: $72 to $90 (no, that is not a typo!)
Throughout the day, Conner Prairie (in Fishers, Ind.) will have activities, live music, film, and discussions. This year’s theme is “Be Love” and many activities will reflect that. Do you have teens? There will be a special teen room with soft spaces to relax and think, sympathetic lighting, snacks, and music. Learn about symbols of activism and be encouraged to create symbols of your own using art materials and iPads.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Tickets are only available at the ticket desk the day of.
AVERAGE SAVINGS FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR: $40
In celebration of his life and legacy, guests are invited each year to join the Indianapolis Zoo to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Along with its other partners in White River State Park, parking and admission to the Zoo and its attractions are free on this day. You can reserve tickets ahead of time by clicking here.
In the spirit of service and community, visitors are encouraged to make monetary donations to Gleaners Food Bank. Dip jar donations will be collected throughout the park.
Zoo is open weather permitting, so if it is in question, call. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Our review of a visit to the Indianapolis Zoo is here.
AVERAGE SAVINGS FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR: $48
Let’s face it, the name of this museum makes it sound b-o-r-i-n-g. And yes, it’s all about Indiana. But our kids had a blast there a few years ago (read more on indywithkids.com.) Admission is free; monetary donations for Gleaners Food Bank are appreciated.
Parking is free in the White River State Park underground garage. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
See some of Dr. King’s most iconic speeches, experience activities that explore civil and human rights, and reflect on what you can do to ensure Dr. King’s dream lives on for future generations.
AVERAGE SAVINGS FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR: $58
Enjoy free admission to the Eiteljorg Museum on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Monetary donations for Gleaners Food Bank are appreciated.
This museum is focused on Native American art and was recently renovated, adding more interactive experiences. It also has a themed play area for children.
Parking is free in the White River State Park underground garage.
AVERAGE SAVINGS FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR: $56
Newfields is closed on Mondays, so it does its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration and program on Sunday. A number of events happen throughout the day, including performances by jazz pianist Christopher Pitts, spoken word poet Januarie York, storyteller Natalie Pipkin and the Kenyetta Dance Company. Click here to reserve free tickets.
If you haven’t been to Newfields before, we highly recommend going back in warmer weather when you can explore the gorgeous grounds.
AVERAGE SAVINGS FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR: $56
In the past, admission has been free on this day. NCAA Hall of Champions is not typically open on Monday, but they have opened their doors on this day in the past. Admission is free; monetary donations for Gleaners Food Bank are appreciated. Specifics related to 2023 have not yet been announced. Parking is free.
AVERAGE SAVINGS FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR: $16
(Looking for ways to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day without leaving home? We’ve got a list of Champaign-Urbana Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations and events here.)