Receiving food stamps in Illinois? If you have an Illinois LINK card (EBT card), you can receive discounted admission to more than a dozen awesome venues around the state! I know this is a long article but don’t leave too quickly! After the museums list, I’ll show you more exciting perks like how to get Internet for less than $1! =D
Please note that the museums with green titles are Museums for All participants. These venues accept EBT cards from all 50 states, so you don’t have to be a Illinois resident to get these great deals!
Get in FREE or cheap with an Illinois Link card!
For your convenience, we’ve organized our free and discounted museum admission list alphabetically by city.
Aurora Regional Fire Museum – $1 per person
Over a thousand artifacts, two thousand photographs and countless volumes are available at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum. However, only about a hundred of these fascinating artifacts are on display at any given time. Current exhibits focus on the brotherhood and the tools associated with firefighting. They’ve also opened a Children’s Discovery Room!
This museum is a Museums for All member but does not have an EBT rate listed on its website. It cannot exceed $3 per person. I will update this listing when I hear back from Museums for All.
Orpheum Children’s Science Museum – $1 per person (up to 4)
For just $1 per person (limit of 4 people), families can explore the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum. Parking is metered during the week but free on the weekends.
Adler Planetarium – $1 per person
When you show a LINK card or WIC ID at the Adler, you’ll receive a Basic Pass (including one show) for just $1 per guest, up to 8 guests. For an additional $5 per person, you can upgrade to an All Access Pass with unlimited shows and the historic Atwood Sphere experience!
Art Institute of Chicago – FREE
Enjoy the Art Institute of Chicago for FREE with your Illinois LINK card. This museum has fascinating exhibits and is the #1 rated Chicago attraction on TripAdvisor. Check out the museum’s current and upcoming exhibitions here.
Chicago Academy of Sciences & Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum – $1 per person
Enjoy exhibits and interactive classes as you learn about nature. Your $1 admission price includes all the events and activities that are normally included with the price of admission. Check out the calendar of events to find out what is happening today!
Chicago Children’s Museum – $3 per person
Illinois LINK card holders (or WIC recipients) can pay just $3 per person for up to 6 people. Families must include at least one adult and one child age 15 or younger.
This museum also offers free admission on Thursdays between 5pm and 8pm. Children (15 and younger) receive free admission on the first Sunday of each month.
Special discounts are also available for teachers, firefighters and police officers (admission is just $5). Veterans and active military can receive free admission every day with a valid ID.
Chicago History Museum – $3 per adult
Illinois LINK cardholders can receive admission for just $3 per adult through the Museums for All initiative. Although only this rate is limited to four adults per card, admission is always free for anyone age 12 and younger.
DuSable Museum of African American History – $3 per adult
The DuSable promotes the understanding and appreciation of the achievements, contributions and experiences of African Americans. Located in historic Hyde Park, the museum was founded in 1961 and features more than 15,000 pieces in its collections.
Admission is $3 per adult (18+). Children age 17 and under are FREE!
The Field Museum – $3 per person
The Field Museum tells the story of life on Earth through historical and scientific collections. Solve mysteries, explore new subjects and enjoy the exhibits for just $3 per person (up to 6 people) when you show your Illinois LINK.
Lincoln Park Zoo – FREE
Lincoln Park Zoo offers a free, family-oriented wildlife experience! Browse their animal collection, from aardvarks to yellow-spotted Amazon River turtles, by clicking here!
Pick up a pass from CPL and you can also save 10% on food and retail purchases throughout the park!
Museum of Contemporary Art – $3 or less per person
Art is for everyone, says the Museums of Contemporary Art in Chicago. A generous pay-as-you-will admission policy ensures that nobody will be turned away due to inability to pay. Although their suggested donation is $12 per adult and $7 per student, the museum suggests just $3 for Illinois LINK recipients. Admission is always free for all Illinois residents on Tuesdays!
Museum of Science and Industry – FREE
Visit one of the largest science museums in the world for just $3 or less per person! You’ll enjoy more than 400,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits, including a World War II submarine, a coal mine and so much more!
National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture – FREE
Located in the heart of Chicago’s Puerto Rican community, the NMPRAC is the only self-standing museum in the world that is solely dedicated to Puerto Rican arts and culture. Browse three galleries, multiple performance spaces, arts classrooms and more as you learn about the rich cultural heritage of Puerto Rico.
Shedd Aquarium – FREE
Low income families with an EBT card can get FREE admission to Shedd Aquarium! You’ll see all the permanent exhibits, the Amphibians special exhibit, aquatic presentation and seasonal Stingray Touch. For $4.95 per person, you can upgrade to a 4D experience.
Although there is a limit of 4 discounts per EBT card, you may be able to pick up a pass from CPL that allows four more people to get FREE admission! Check out the freebies you can get from CPL by clicking here!
Children’s Museum of Illinois – $3 per person
LINK cardholders and military/veteran families can pay just $3 per person for admission. Up to four people can be covered by this discount. Please note that children under 2 are always free and senior citizens (65+) are also admitted for $3 each.
Downers Grove Museum – FREE
The history of Downers Grove is showcased through textiles, photographs and other collections. This museum also hosts a public research library with searchable census records, cemetery surveys, telephone directories, school yearbooks, genealogies, newspaper articles, birth and death certificates. Photographs are also viewable upon request.
Chicago Botanic Garden – FREE + Discounted Parking
Although the Chicago Botanic Garden is always free, Illinois LINK cardholders can receive a reduced parking rate of $10 per vehicle (parking is usually $25-$30). Active duty military, reservists, former POWs and their families can receive free parking with ID.
Kohl Children’s Museum – $3 per person
Bring your Illinois LINK card and photo ID to receive $3 admission per person for up to 4 people. Guests under 12 months of age are always free.
The Morton Arboretum – $1 per person
This internationally recognized nonprofit organization provides an engaging, educational experience across 1,700 acres of woodlands, prairie, meadows, lakes and streams. There are 16 miles of hiking trails and a number of tree and plant collections. Of course, their award-winning children’s garden is a great place to take the kids!
With an Illinois LINK card, you will pay just $1 per person for up to 8 guests (as long as you’re all in one vehicle).
Active duty servicemembers can always receive free admission.
DuPage Children’s Museum – $10 per family per YEAR!
Got an Illinois LINK card (or WIC, IHFS Medical or ALL Kids)? You can get a $10 ANNUAL FAMILY MEMBERSHIP to DuPage Children’s Museum! The membership covers up to two adults and six children! You’ll get unlimited admission for an entire year, a 10% discount at the café and Explorer Store, and discounts on special camps. You’ll also get exclusive invitations to members-only special events!
Just bring your qualifying documentation (or Illinois LINK card) and photo ID to the children’s museum to apply for this program.
Naper Settlement – $1 per person
Explore 12 acres of learning at Naper Settlement’s family-friendly outdoor history museum. Learn about the past through exciting interactive exhibits, galleries and so much more. To learn more about Naper Settlement and the Naperville Heritage Society, click here.
Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn – $3 or less per person
Oak Lawn’s favorite place for learning, discovery and fun is now accepting EBT cardholders for a discounted admission rate! Current exhibits (as of Jan 2017) include a nanoscale exhibit, cafe, theater, imagination station, tree house, building station, air maze, and many play structures.
Wonder Works Children’s Museum – $3 per person
If you receive food stamps or WIC, you can visit Wonder Works Children’s Museum for just $3 per person! Socks are required to play throughout the 6,400 sq ft museum. There are six permanent experience zones, including a farm to market zone, building zone, gardening zone, outdoor zone and more.
Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum – FREE
This hands-on children’s museum is nestled in the historic Glen Oak Park Pavilion building, adjacent to the Peoria Zoo. Designed to bring families together in exploration and play, the Playhouse offers special programming for toddlers, families and more. There’s even an adult maker space!
Families who receive WIC or LINK card benefits can apply to participate in the PlayHouse Explorer Program. You’ll need to bring a driver’s license or state ID with you and apply at the admissions desk.
Peoria Riverfront Museum – $3 per person
From your backyard to a distance galaxy, the Peoria Riverfront Museum’s exhibits feature a wide range of art, history, science and more. LINK cardholders can receive admission for $3 per person, up to four people. This rate includes access to the planetarium. Please note that special exhibits and giant screen movies are not included.
Wait — you may also qualify for $1/month Internet & more!
If you qualify for EBT, you probably qualify for other low income programs as well! Don’t miss out on these fantastic deals we’ve found.
- Get Amazon Prime for just $5.99/month!
- Get Internet Service for less than $1/month!
- Free cell phone and cell phone service!
- Double Up Food Bucks give you twice as much food at your local Farmer’s Market!
- Discount spay/neuter services for your pets and help with your pet’s veterinary costs
You can use your Illinois LINK card to shop at these locations!
Several of our visitors have pointed out that EBT cards have even more uses, too! Check out these interesting statewide benefits.
- Farmer’s Markets can accept EBT and some have fantastic dollar matching programs. Click here for more information about Illinois’ doubling program.
- Organic delivery services, also known as community-supported agriculture programs, may also accept EBT.
- Schwan’s Trucks can accept EBT for food items but you’ll have to use a different payment method to pay the delivery fee.
- Costco accepts EBT on food purchases! If you buy an Executive Membership, you can even earn 2% cash back on your EBT purchases!
- Papa Murphy’s can be bought with EBT.
- Starbucks locations inside grocery stores! Not every location accepts EBT but some do!
- Subway locations inside grocery stores and gas stations can accept EBT for sandwiches that are NOT toasted. Not every location does, but some do!
You can use your Illinois LINK card to buy these items!
- You can buy seeds, plants and fruit trees with EBT funds.
- Look for hot deli food that has been packaged and placed in the refrigerated section for easy reheating. You can buy it on food stamps that way!
- Check the labels on Energy Drinks! Anything with a “nutrition facts” label is considered food. A “supplement facts” label means it is not covered.
- You can also splurge and buy some live lobsters and other shellfish.
- EBT benefits can buy edible (not just decorative) pumpkins, as well.
- You can buy a decorated birthday (or other celebratory) cake from the bakery as long as the non-edible decorations do not exceed 50% of the total purchase price.
- Did you know you can even buy gift baskets? Your EBT benefits can even help you purchase gifts for holidays, including pre-filled holiday stockings and tins, as long as the food value exceeds the non-food value. Check out the description on the federal SNAP website for more information.