Library offering free trips to Zoo, Science Center and more

TR File Photo Adventure Passes are once again available at the Marshalltown Public Library, allowing for free family visits to the Blank Park Zoo, Science Center of Iowa, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and the Waterloo Grout Museum.

Known to be a place for checking out books, the Marshalltown Public Library is also offering free passes to the Blank Park Zoo and other Iowa attractions to check out.

The Adventure Pass is one of the library’s best kept secrets, Youth Services Director Joa LaVille said.

“It’s not meant to be a secret, but I would say it’s kind of a best kept secret,” LaVille said.

Iowa libraries offer the Adventure Pass, which allows anyone with a valid adult library card and a valid photo ID to check out free family passes to Iowa attractions. The Marshalltown Public Library offers passes to the Blank Park Zoo and the Science Center of Iowa – both of Des Moines – the Great Des Moines Botanical Garden and the Waterloo Grout Museum.

“Some of our low-income families, especially bigger families, have been able to do these things that they would not otherwise be able to do,” LaVille said.

She said the Adventure Pass is another way for the library to meet their goal of providing accessible and equitable activities for the community to enjoy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Pre-COVID, people are used to coming to the library and doing fun, educational activities that are free with their families,” LaVille said. “This is just another way of us fulfilling that mission, but it’s also on their own time.”

She said experiences such as visits to the Science Center of Iowa or Blank Park Zoo are enriching for children, important to their development and helps fight against summer learning loss. The Adventure Passes have also caused many people to sign up for their first library card LaVille said, and she has seen them return to check out books and use other library services.

The Adventure Passes include admission for two adults and two children, and the age for children is determined by the venue the pass is for. For example, the Science Center of Iowa classifies children as ages 12 and under for children’s tickets. One pass to each venue may be reserved once every 365 days, meaning multiple passes may be booked within a year but not to the same venue.

To check out an Adventure Pass from the Marshalltown Public Library, one must be located in the library’s dedicated service area as well as have an adult library card and valid photo ID. Guests do not have to be located in the library’s dedicated service area to go on the free trips, only the person who is checking out the pass. Requesting and printing a pass can be done through Marshalltown Public Library’s website. One may also call or visit the library in-person to receive a pass.

LaVille heavily advises checking the hours and COVID-19 restrictions of venues before reserving a pass, as the COVID-19 pandemic has altered some venue’s regular business hours and visiting times.


Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or tbabcock@timesrepublican.com.


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