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Seattle's first Thursday Free Museum Day program

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For those planning a trip to Seattle, be sure to schedule your next vacation to include the first Thursday of the month. Seattle is one of only seven cities to participate in the Free Museum Day program, which means that if you are visiting Seattle museums on this day you will enjoy substantial savings.

No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the main campus of the Seattle Art Museum. The Museum is comparatively small but features a diverse collection, covering everything from European masterpieces to contemporary sculpture. Located in the heart of downtown the Museum is a great place to start a day of learning and discovery. Normal admission is $19.50.

In the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle continue your day with a visit to the Asian Art Museum. The Asian Art Museum (in fact part of the Seattle Art Museum) houses a world-renowned collection of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Southeast Asian and Himalayan art. Normal admission is $7.

Afterward, visit one of Seattle’s newest museums, the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), located in the South Lake Union neighborhood. MOHAI, in its current location since Dec. 29, 2012, features a wide variety of historical artifacts telling the history of Seattle and the Puget Sound region. Highlights include Boeing's first commercial plane, the 1919 Boeing B-1, and the Rainier Brewing Company's 12-foot tall neon "R" sign. Normal admission is $14.

From here, travel north to Ballard, a historically Scandinavian enclave, to visit the Nordic Heritage Museum. The Nordic Heritage Museum is dedicated to telling the story of immigrants from the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The Museum is small but well-maintained, with an emphasis on immigration the Pacific Northwest and the Ballard community in general. The Museum also serves an important role in serving the local Scandinavian community, offering special events, films, meals and meetings. Normal admission is $8.

Finally, round off your day with a visit to the Museum of Flight, located south of Seattle at the south end of Boeing Field. The Museum of Flight is the largest aviation museum on the west coast. The Museum’s exhibits may vary, but the centerpiece is its collection of over 150 historic aircraft, including the prototype Boeing 737, the first presidential jet, one of only five Aerocars in existence and the only surviving Boeing 80A. The Museum is open until 9:00 pm on first Thursday, and is free from 5:00 pm, making it an ideal ending point of a day exploring Seattle and its museums. Normal admission is $19.

By visiting the above five museums, certainly possible but maybe a tad ambitious, a couple would save $135. But don’t take my word for it. Explore the Free Museum Day website for a complete listing of all Seattle museums included and to determine which museum will best capture your imagination.

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