The Bowers Museum and Kidseum in Santa Ana, California, are popular stops for locals and visitors with a couple hours to kill in Orange County. Both museums celebrate world cultures through ancient arts.
I really like the Misson-style architecture and the grounds, and the interior of the museum packs a lot of culture in a doable, not overwhelming space.
A popular special exhibition going on now at Bowers is Mummies of the World (March 19 – September 5, 2016). Other Bowers exhibits include California, The Golden Years; Mystery from the Tomb; Spirits and Headhunters, the Art of the Pacific Islands; Ancient Arts of China; and others, plus an extensive permanent collection of Native American art and artifacts, and ceramics of Mexico.
Bowers also holds annual events and festivals throughout the year. Most notable: the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival in April, and the May Day Festival on May 1.
The Bowers Kidseum, an extension of the main Bowers Museum, serves as an interactive children’s museum and learning center. Little explorers also enjoy the free Bowers Cultural Festivals and Family Programs that encourage kids to explore and experience the cultures of the world.
Bowers Museum Free Admission Offers
Bowers Museum and Kidseum offer a few ways to get in free in you’re a local. (Sorry if you’re not! Scroll down for prices.) Free days tend to be crowded, so get their early for the best experience.
- Free Family Festivals — On the first Sunday of each month, admission to the Family Festivals in the Key Courtyard is free. Admission on Festival Sundays to Bowers Museum and Bowers Kidseum is free to Santa Ana residents and Bowers Museum members only.
- Free Santa Ana Sundays — Bowers offers free admission to all Santa Ana residents on Sundays (with proof of residency).
- Free for Military — The Blue Star Museums program provides free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day (includes active duty U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps – and up to five family members).
Target Free Days— The Target Corporation no longer sponsors free days for Bowers, in case you were wondering.
Know Before You Go
- Official Website: www.bowers.org
- Tickets: Available at the museum or on the Bowers website — Adults $13 weekdays $15 weekends; Seniors (Age 62+) $10 weekdays $12 weekdays; Students (2+) $10 weekdays $12 weekends. Special exhibits cost extra.
- Hours: Open dates and times vary.
- Bowers Museum Hours — Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm.
- Kidseum Hours — Saturday and Sunday 10am – 4pm.
- Ask about extended Spring Break hours.
- Closed: Mondays, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day.
- Address: Next door from each other in Santa Ana …
- Bowers Museum — 2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, 92706.
- Kidseum — 1802 North Main Street, Santa Ana, 92706.
- Location: Corner of 20th & Main Streets in Santa Ana – one minute from the 5 freeway, (Main St. South exit) and just minutes from the 57, 55 and 22 freeways.
- Parking: You can park at Bowers for around $6 I believe. And you can often find free street parking.