Indiana Access Pass - theCityMoms

It’s not a fun moment for any mom: You see a great event you just know the kids will love, and your first thought is “How much is that going to cost?” Kids are expensive in general, and keeping kids active can really rack up quite a bill.

When I was growing up, I rarely saw the inside of a museum unless it was a school field trip. It wasn’t for lack of interest on my part or my parents: We were poor. By contrast, my four year-old daughter has been to all of our local Indy museums at least once and we frequent the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis monthly. It is a joy to watch the inspiration and learning she gains during these visits. We are truly blessed to have so many fine institutions so close by.

Still, many Hoosier families face a similar situation as mine did. According to data from 2016, 14 percent of Hoosier households are living in poverty.

Another 22 percent are ALICE households. A term coined by United Way, ALICE stands for Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained Employed. In other words, these are working families living paycheck to paycheck who cannot afford basic needs like housing, food, and transportation, let alone a trip to the museum. In fact, one-time admission to some local museums can exceed $100 for a family of four.

Enter the Indiana Access Pass, which is designed for families who are truly experiencing financial hardship.

MORE INTERESTING READING: The great Carmel, Indiana recess debate

This program – launched by the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in 2004 – allows individuals or families who receive state assistance to visit select popular attractions for just $2 per person. This admission price is available for up to two adults and household dependents. Some attractions even offer free parking and other perks like free admission for aides.

To qualify, one family member in the household must receive TANF {Temporary Assistance for Needing Families}, SNAP {food stamps}, or Hoosier Healthwise Insurance. The benefit? The Indiana Access Pass allows ALL Hoosier families to experience culture, art, and history, regardless of their socioeconomic standing. In other words, it makes family fun available to more Indiana families.

Attractions that participate in the Indiana Access Pass:

To enroll, eligible applicants must have proof of qualification for TANF; SNAP and Hoosier Works; or Hoosier Healthwise Insurance. They must also complete an application.

While the need for an application and eligibility verification may seem cumbersome, the program appears to be working. A recent article in the Indianapolis Business Journal noted that the Indianapolis Museum of Art has had more than 2,500 Access Pass admissions since 2014.

Tell us your thoughts about this program: What other local attractions should participate? 


Megan Bohrer - theCityMoms


As a transplant to the Midwest, Megan Bohrer still got excited by the first snow flurries of the season. Although her husband’s job as a private school administrator brought them to the area, Megan recently moved ‘home’ to Atlanta. And damn, we miss her.

When she isn’t chasing after her three children or putting herself through nursing school, Megan enjoys drinking craft beer, photography, playing soccer, and fantasizing about all of the Pinterest projects she will one day complete.



Joli Heavin is a professional fundraiser and grant writer who works for Children’s Bureau.

In her spare time, Joli enjoys running, reading, and cooking.

She is a lover of all things art and was once a classically trained singer and actress, but now primarily enjoys her roles as Clare’s mom and Matt’s wife.