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A library card could earn you a free pass to museums, gardens and more in cities across Iowa



Blank Park Zoo in 2019, 7401 SW 9th St, Des Moines. — Lawrence Lansing/Wikimedia Commons

Library cards have always allowed you to read about other people’s experiences for free, and now they can help have your own experiences. Also for free.

Adults with active library cards from the Iowa City Public Library (ICPL), the Cedar Rapids Public Library (CRPL) and the Des Moines Public Library (DMPL) — as well as many other public libraries all around the state — can now get free passes to selected locations and attractions. Each Iowa Libraries Adventure Pass is good for free admission for two adults and two children.

There are a couple of other requirements to get a pass. You need a photo ID, and for most libraries, including ICPL and DMPL, you need to owe less than $10 in fines. Cedar Rapidians don’t need to worry about the $10 threshold because CRPL and its partners in the Metro Library Network, Marion and Hiawatha, eliminated fines for overdue materials in 2020. (The Marion Public Library is participating in the Adventure Pass program, but Hiawatha isn’t.)

There are also a few restrictions. First, it’s one pass per library card per venue per year. So, if you choose Blank Park Zoo this summer, you’ll have to wait 365 days before getting another pass to do the zoo. Passes cannot be used for “any other special member events.” (So no Zoo Brew or Zoobilation.) Also, you need to print out the pass, and have the paper with you to be admitted.

The passes available depend on what your library has purchased for its cardholders.

For example, ICPL passes include:

• African American Museum of Iowa (Cedar Rapids)

• Blank Park Zoo (Des Moines)

• Figge Art Museum (Davenport)

• Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden (Des Moines)

• Grout Museum District (Waterloo)

• The History Center (Cedar Rapids)

• Reiman Gardens (Ames)

• Science Center of Iowa (Des Moines)

A complete list of participating libraries is available on the Adventure Pass page (North Liberty Public Library is in, Coralville Public Library is not), as lists of available passes and open dates.

More information and FAQs about the passes are available on the ICPL’s site, as well as the ones for CRPL, DMPL and other member libraries.


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