Enjoy NYC on the cheap by taking advantage of FREE or pay-as-you-wish admission at museums, zoos, gardens and cultural institutions. We are lucky there are dozens of deals on different days and hours during the week and on weekends
Here’s the list for Wednesday.
Be sure to make your ticket reservation in advance, where required, since museums are still requiring social distancing – along with mask wearing.
As always, you can visit our Free and Cheap Events Calendar for more budget-friendly events and activities in the greatest city on the planet.
Also visit our list of Best Museums for Kids.
If you do not already have an IDNYC Card, get one. It’s FREE, and offers FREE admission at more than 30 NYC museums, zoos, gardens and cultural institutions, along with shopping and theater discounts.
You can also use it as a library card at all three NYC systems, NYPL (which serves Manhattan, Bronx and Staten Island), Brooklyn Library and Queens Library.
Sorry visitors – this is for NYC residents only.
Wednesday – NYC Free Museum & Zoo Admission
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my. From tiny toad to giant cat, there are more than 6,500 species over 265 acres.
This is one of the top zoos in the world, and a top destination for both NYC residents and visitors to New York City.
Open daily 10am to 5pm weekdays, to 5:30 on weekends, and 4:30 in winter months when it gets dark early.
Advance online reservation for tickets required on Wednesday and every day. DO NOT come to the zoo without an advance timed ticket.
The Wednesday Bronx Zoo Tickets Store opens Monday afternoon at 5pm for that Wednesday’s reservations.
- Max of 4 tickets per order.
- Every visitor, age 3 and up, is required to have a Wednesday ticket for entry.
- Ticket reservations require name and valid email address, and can only be used on the date specified.
- Be ready for contactless entry to the park.
- Tickets should be shown via mobile device or can be printed.
- Wednesday Limited Admission tickets are park entry only.
- Individual attraction tickets required for premium exhibits and rides. $6 per person, per attraction.
From sea lion shows to penguin feeds, sand tiger sharks and common cuttlefish, there is an ocean full of marine animals for you to meet at the Aquarium.
The same rules apply as for sister attraction Bronx Zoo, both of which are operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society.
• Max of 4 tickets per order.
• Every visitor, age 3 and up, is required to have a Wednesday ticket for entry.
• 4D Theater not included in Donation Admission
• Ticket reservations require name and valid email address, and can only be used on the date specified.
• Be ready for contactless entry to the park. Tickets should be shown via mobile device or can be printed.
• For complete visit information, NYAquarium.com/planahead
- 602 Surf Avenue, Coney Island
Garden Pass admission (grounds-only admission) is free to New York City residents all day on Wednesdays.
The free pass includes such features as the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and outdoor collections.
The free pass does not include access to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, indoor exhibitions, special events such as the current Holiday Train Exhibit or Tram Tour.
There also are special community access programs and discount admission offers not limited to Wednesdays, for residents of the Bronx, school groups and others, including Blue Star families.
Admission is free Wednesdays 3-6pm and Sundays from 9-11am.
Free hours are suspended on Sunday, August 15 and Sunday, October 31.
Tuesday through Sunday, 8am to 6pm,
Tuesday through Sunday, 8am to 4:30pm
- Queenss Botanical Garden is at 43-50 Main Street, Flushing
This wonderful garden adjoining the Brooklyn Museum has suspended it’s free on Tuesdays perk in these post-Pandemic days.
BBG is world famous for its cherry trees, which bloom in glorious pink and white splendor each spring.
However, BBG has retained its pay-as- you-wish feature – in the winter.
Pay What You Can Winter Weekdays: Tuesday–Friday, December–February
Not as large as as the Bronx Zoo, this is a charming smaller zoo – ideal for younger children and their parents who don’t like crowds or taking trams to see the animals.
The Staten Island Zoo also is home to Staten Island Chuck, the groundhog who has predicted the weather on Groundhog Day each February for decades. You know what happens if Staten Island Chuck sees his shadow. Or doesn’t
Admission is free after 2pm on Wednesday, until closing at 5pm. Parking is always free.
- 214 Broadway, West Brighton, Staten Island
- Click here for directions and additional information.
Suggested Admission Every Day
These NYC museums have pay-what-you-wish admission every day. You could choose to pay nothing – but please don’t. Please pay something, even if it’s just one dollar.
Enjoy NYC on the cheap. Just don’t be cheap.
Pay-what-you-wish admission is available to residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, but timed-entry reservations must be booked in advance
Pay-what-you-wish for New York state residents as well as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut students.
Now a branch of The Met, the same pay-what-you-wish admission rule applies.
Timed-entry reservations must be booked in advance.
Timed-entry tickets are required; NYC residents can enter for free or pay-what-you-wish.
Timed-entry tickets are recommended.
Timed-entry reservations are recommended.