It's a lovely and touching thing, when an institution of some sort, be it a cinema or restaurant or gallery, pauses to say thank you to our military members. A free day, or an on-the-house meal, or a gratis event is usually part of the plan, one that incorporates both the person being thanked and the person's loved ones, too.
But Blue Star Museums, a summertime program from National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Defense, and Blue Star Families, extends that day-long thank you to nearly 100 days, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
It's the program called Blue Star Museums, and it returns for another run in 2016 with the help of its partners as well as hundreds of participating museums across the nation.
What to do, where to go and what to see
How does it work? The "nation's active-duty military personnel, and their families, including National Guard and Reserve..." will see their admission waived at over 2,000 institutions across the U.S., places that cover culture and sculpture and history and nature.
Around California, those free-to-see destinations include the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas, the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum in Long Beach, Heritage Square Museum in Los Angeles, and the Ojai Valley Museum, as well as dozens of others.
"(U)p to five family members" may enter with the member of the military, and the IDs will need to be shown (types listed here).
Best of all? There is no limit on how many spots you can call upon. There are 96 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with loads of idea-filled, painting-packed, brimming-with-beauty to take on. How many can you and your crew do over the summer of '16?