The San Antonio Botanical Garden is offering  $3 admission to those receiving federal food assistance – a huge savings over the regular $12 ticket price.

The Botanical Garden has been collaborating with the Association of Children’s Museums  (ACM) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services since May of last year. The garden’s $3 admission program is part of the ACM’s national program Museums for All.

“The Botanical Garden is proud to join Museums for All and provide a pathway that alleviates the financial barrier for our working families. We strongly believe that every member of our community deserves the opportunity to connect to the natural world and experience all the Botanical Garden has to offer,” Melinda Cerda, interim director of the Botanical Gardens, said in a news release.

Museums for All aims to provide a structure and guidelines to make implementing accessibility programs easier for the over 400 museums that currently belong to the program. The San Antonio Botanical Garden reached out to AMC when it learned about Museums for All and used its guidance to build the program for recipients of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

“We researched existing programs last year and found Museums for All, a nationwide program that encourages people of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly,” said Katie S. Erickson, the Botanical Garden’s director of programs. “We are excited to be a partner organization and provide equitable access.”

Those receiving food assistance can present their SNAP or WIC card to become eligible for $3 per person admission for up to four people. The San Antonio Botanical Garden anticipates approximately 5,000 people per year to will use this program.

“It was the botanical garden’s goal to extend that invitation and increase their accessibility when they reached out to us in May,” said Brendan Cartwright, AMC’s program manager of special initiatives. “We have over 2 million visitors to our museums, and we hear these stories about how they would not have had the opportunity to visit the museums without this program.”

The initiative began in spring 2018, after the opening of the Family Adventure Garden and the Culinary Garden and Teaching Kitchen. A team of garden staff and board members began surveying the ways in which the Botanical Garden attraction could become more accessible to lower income families.

“The San Antonio Botanical Garden identified community engagement as a key priority area to fulfill its mission to connect and inspire all people with the plant world,” Erickson said.

Laura Morales is a freshman studying journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and a contributor to The Daily Texan.