Gateway to Play:

Access for All

The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is committed to ensuring all children and families have opportunities to experience the joy of learning through the power of play at the Museum, regardless of income, language, cultural factors, ability, or special needs. The Museum understands that some children and families experience barriers to participation. We offer many ways for these valued community members to enjoy our exhibits and programs free of charge or at greatly reduced rates.

2023 | Gateway to Play by the numbers

Access Family Memberships
$ 1 k
1 in 3 had an annual income of less than
1 %
of CMSM memberships were Access memberships
Median age of children served


Gateway to Play for children and families offers opportunities such as Free Family Fun Days or Gateway to Play Museum membership or daily admission.

Gateway to Play Discount offers discounted admission to those who qualify for public income-related assistance. Show your EBT card (or other public assistance documentation) and a form of identification to receive $3 daily admission for up too 5 people. 

Gateway to Play Scholarships is for families who experience barriers to play. Qualifying families may receive free or “pay as you are able” scholarships toward membership. To apply for Gateway to Play Scholarship, download and complete the membership form and survey (versión en español aquí). Bring completed forms to the Museum front desk and stay to play! 

Impact Partners are nonprofit organizations serving children and families who experience participation barriers offers free family admission passes and streamlined Gateway to Play scholarship opportunities for their constituents.


The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota welcomes children and families of all abilities. We have developed strategies and special programming for those experiencing sensory challenges.

Sound-muffling headphones are available by request at the Museum front desk. Do not hesitate to connect with a Museum staff member if you need assistance at any time, or if you would like direction to a quieter space to relax or regroup.

To help prepare for your visit to the Children’s Museum, please watch our social story, which includes a run down of what to expect and a helpful checklist of possible activities during your visit.

Sensory Awareness & Accessibility Playtime

These quarterly events invite children with sensory challenges or other special needs and their families to experience and enjoy the Museum free of charge at a time when there is a limited number of visitors present.

2024 Schedule:

Sensory Sensitive Play Experiences at the Childrens Museum of Southern Minnesota

Wheelchair Accessibility

The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota strives to be a place that is accessible to all visitors. All entrances are accessible to visitors who use wheelchairs and the Museum has a lift for visitors with limited mobility to access Cecil’s Imagineering Loft. Service animals are welcome in the Museum. 

Many of our exhibits have been designed with inclusivity in mind, ensuring that children of all abilities can join in on the fun. Explore Cecil’s Imagineering Loft, Kato Engineering Explorers’ Lab, Loose Parts Play Hub, Northwoods Cabin, and more!

Military Service Recognition at the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota


The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota seeks to recognize Military Service members and their families for the significant contributions they have made on behalf of our community and nation. Military members and their immediate family members receive a 10% discount on daily admission rates.

Blue Star Museum Initiative

Traditionally hosted at museums across the country between Armed Forces Day  and Labor Day weekends, Blue Star Museums offer free admission for active duty military personnel and their families.

Military Appreciation Days

These special events take place at the Museum twice a year to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Military Service members–past and present–and their families and includes free Museum admission.

This work is funded in part through grant support provided by U.S. Bank Foundation