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GO 419: Free admission weekend at National Museum of the Great Lakes

The east Toledo museum will continue its annual tradition of a free admission weekend, this year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Saturday to Monday.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Free admission at the National Museum of the Great Lakes started as a way to bring in more foot traffic after lockdowns were lifted during the COVID-19 pandemic. But now it has become an annual event.

The museum opened in 2014 as the first major development of the marina district in east Toledo.

Inside its 11,000-square-foot museum and aboard the two museum ships, the entire history of the Great Lakes region is laid out from its development beneath an ancient glacier to today.

"(The Great Lakes have) served us in so many ways over the years as a transportation system," Ellen Kennedy, a spokesperson for the National Museum of the Great Lakes, said. "They're 84% of North America's fresh water and they're really an invaluable resource."

You can also learn about some of the many Great Lakes shipwrecks over the years, including one of the most famous: the wreck of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald.

Credit: Jon Monk
The National Museum of the Great Lakes offers free admission Saturday to Monday.

Now, for the third straight year, history buffs and those looking to learn more about the lakes can get into the museum for free over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Saturday to Monday.

Guests don't need to register online beforehand, but organizers ask visitors to check in online prior to arriving so staff can gauge how many visitors to expect.

Kennedy said the free admission is "a way to kind of give back to the community for all of the support we've gotten since we arrived here in 2014."

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