Apply for ID NYC for Free Museum Memberships

Apply for ID NYC for Free Museum Memberships


What Is ID NYC & How Do I Sign Up?

The NYC ID is specific to New York City, not New York State. It is not a valid driver’s license, just an identification. You can apply for this ID card regardless of your immigration status.

The appointment system is very efficient. You can choose from a variety of offices in all of the boroughs that have varying openings and hours. There are lots of options. Pick your timeslot. This is all done electronically so it is really simple. It is also simple to reschedule too. I scheduled an appointment for Monday on just the day before. There are lots of openings. I thought there would be a huge waitlist but, nope! You can get right in, even day of if you’re flexible.

The appointment itself took about 15 minutes. I spent about 7 minutes waiting then 8 minutes in with the person filling out the paperwork. You need to bring photo ID (driver’s license) then something with your current home address on it. This can also be your driver’s license. In my case, I don’t have my license updated with my new address (oops) so I just brought in a bill. That worked. Then they take your photo, no teeth showing please, and you’re on your way.

It took me exactly two weeks to get my ID in the mail.

Select List of ID NYC Free Museum Memberships

If you have a driver’s license, it may seem pointless to get this NYC specific identification. That’s why the city teamed up with numerous museums & attractions to grant you free memberships! If you sign up for a NYC ID within this first year, by December 2015, you can apply for a free membership to a whole slew of places. I’m detailing out a select few below. Even once you have your card, you still have until December 2015 to sign up for the membership. Your membership will then be good for 1 full year.

Some fine print for these free memberships: Most are the most basic level of membership and may not actually be worth it to you. Some you have to apply in person but quite a few let you email your membership form and a scanned copy of your ID. For almost all of these institutions, you cannot be a current member or have not been a member for the past three years.

ny botanical gardens in the bronx

NY Botanical Gardens

Location: Bronx

Present your valid IDNYC at any ticketing window, Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The complimentary Membership can only be redeemed onsite. Recipients will be issued a temporary Membership card (valid for up to 30 days) and permanent cards will arrive by mail in approximately 2 to 3 weeks.

Community Grounds Membership Benefits

  • Year-round admission to the Garden grounds for an Individual or Family (2 adults & up to 2 children under age 16)
  • Access to over 40 specialty gardens and historic collections including the Family Garden, Azalea Garden, Rose Garden, Native Plant Garden, Home Gardening Center, Perennial Garden, Herb Garden, the Conifer Arboretum, and Seasonal Walk.


wave hill in the bronx

Wave Hill

Location: Bronx

Once you have received your IDNYC card, you must come to Wave Hill in person to apply for your IDNYC Wave Hill membership. Visit the Perkins Visitor Center to submit your application. Once approved, you will receive your membership package in 10 to 14 business days.

Membership Benefits

  • Unlimited free admission for one adult
  • 10% discounts in The Shop and The Café
  • Invitation to special events, trips, exhibitions, and receptions
  • Exclusive Members-only pre-sale opportunities for concerts and other special events
  • Free admission to the summer Sunset Wednesdays concert series
  • Reciprocal admission benefits at nearly 300 gardens across the country


bronx zoo free membership

Wildlife Conservative Society Including Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, NY Aquarium


Membership good for all 5 institutions but must be applied for in person at the Bronx Zoo

IDNYC Member Benefits

  • Free unlimited admission for the card holder to all five WCS wildlife parks
  • Members-only ticket discount for the card holder at Central Park Zoo and New York Aquarium 4-D Theaters
  • 10% restaurant discount at the Bronx Zoo’s Dancing Crane Café and Terrace Café, and Central Park Zoo’s Dancing Crane Café
  • 10% discount at select Bronx Zoo retail shops, the New York Aquarium’s Oceanic Shop, and at Central Park Zoo’s Zootique
  • Invitation to Members’ Evenings at the Bronx Zoo


bam brooklyn

Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Location: Brooklyn

Friends of BAM membership

  • Advance access to live performance tickets
  • 50% off performance-related talks
  • 20% off purchases at Greenlight Bookstore
  • 10% off at BAMcafé and over 20 local restaurants
  • Invitations to Member Mingles

BAM Cinema Club Membership

  • $5 off admission for one person to BAM Rose Cinemas
  • Priority access to BAMcinemaFest and other special events
  • Two $5 off admission passes for guests
  • Special members-only screenings and discussions with filmmakers
  • 20% off purchases at Greenlight Bookstore
  • 10% off at BAMcafé and over 20 local restaurants


brooklyn botanical gardens

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

You may apply in person Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; you must have your valid IDNYC with you. Eligible IDNYC members will be issued a temporary membership card and can expect to receive their official membership card (good for one year) and other membership materials in the mail within ten business days. Note that festival days at BBG are very popular (and busy)! IDNYC membership processing will not be available on festival days. We encourage you to sign up for membership in advance by visiting BBG before an event.

BBG Individual Level Membership

  • Membership card for unlimited free admission for 1/li>
  • 2 single-time-use guest passes/li>
  • Admission for member plus 1 guest to all members-only summer events/li>
  • Admission for 1 to the Members’ Plant Sale Preview/li>
  • 10% discount at Garden Shop and Cafe/li>
  • Privileges at botanic gardens across the country

    american museum of natural history

    American Museum of Natural History

    Location: Manhattan

    • Free unlimited general admission to the Museum
    • Individuals will receive complimentary tickets for Giant Screen Films shown in the LeFrak Theater, which shows 3D films.
    • Notice of upcoming educational programming: throughout the year, the Museum’s scientific and educational staff conduct numerous scientifically-based educational programs for members and the public to attend. Members will receive advanced notice of these programs via email.
    • Discounts in the Museum Shop
    • Individuals will receive an AMNH membership card that will allow them to receive priority service at the Members only ticketing desks.


    carnegie hall nyc

    Carnegie Hall

    Location: Manhattan

    Carnegie Hall’s “Friends” Membership

    • Four complimentary rehearsal passes
    • Early access to the best seats available
    • Half-price ticket offers on select Carnegie Hall presentations
    • Invitations to cocktail parties, discussions, & member-appreciation events
    • Discounts at nearby restaurants, parking, shops, hotels, and more with your Membership Card


    lincoln center

    Lincoln Center

    Location: Manhattan

    Friends of Lincoln Center Membership Benefits

    • Access to presales for Lincoln Center Presents performances: American Songbook, Great Performers, Lincoln Center Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival
    • White Light Festival
    • Invitation for two to one Mostly Mozart Festival members-only rehearsal
    • 50% discount on Lincoln Center tours (2 admissions)
    • Discounts at select Lincoln Center neighborhood establishments


    metropolitan museum of art

    Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Location: Manhattan

    Metropolitan Museum of Art Membership Benefits

    • Free admission for one to the Main Building and The Cloisters museum and gardens
    • Special offers on select ticketed programs
    • Discount on Audio Guide rentals in nine languages
    • Complimentary guided tours of the collection in ten languages.


    nyc ballet

    NYC Ballet

    Location: Manhattan

    New York City Ballet Membership Benefits

    • Admission for two to a total of four working rehearsals
    • Admission for two to NYCB Seminars
    • Invitation for two to a private members-only reception


    moma ps1

    MoMA PS1

    Location: Queens

    MOMA P.S. 1 Membership Benefits

    • Unlimited free admission to MoMA PS1
    • Exhibition Opening invitations
    • Special offers for select ticketed events
    • Conversations with MoMA PS1 curators and artists
    • Private receptions at MoMA PS1


    museum of moving image in queens

    Museum of Moving Image

    Location: Queens

    Museum of the Moving Image Individual Membership Benefits

    • Unlimited complimentary admission to the Museum’s galleries, excluding specially ticked exhibitions, for one person
    • Invitations to members-only exhibition openings
    • 15% discount at the Moving Image Café and Store
    • Discounts and deals at neighborhood restaurants/businesses


    Note: Membership does not include movie admission


    2 Replies to “Apply for ID NYC for Free Museum Memberships”

    1. Hello, HOW does one apply for these memberships? I got the NYC card but I think that going to each and one of these museums in person to apply is very discouraging.
      Thank you

    2. Hi, I Have my NYC ID card but when I go into the various web sites (American Museum of Natural History, Bronx Zoo…..) and join membership they require a credit card # or a promotional code. How do I apply to get free one year membership?

      Thank you

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