Say what you will about Bank of America's evil schemes to extract every available dollar from your checking account via absurd fees. This weekend, at least, you can get some free art out of the deal.
Culture vultures who charge everything on plastic will be highly appreciative of Bank of America's Museums on Us promotion. This Saturday and Sunday, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders can score free admission to 18 participating museums in Florida, eight of which are right here in our very own backyard.
Still, it's gonna be hard to tour all eight participating museums in just two days. So we've put together a handy guide to this weekend's free art: the best exhibits and the best bargains.
1. Bass Museum of Art
Historical and contemporary art worlds collide at this Miami Beach museum. With an impressive collection of ancient paintings, work on paper, sculpture, and decorative objects from all over the world, you can teleport through time over and over again from the Renaissance to the Baroque era.
Standout Exhibit: The Egyptian gallery is one of its kind in Florida, and may or may not showcase cursed relics and/or Brendan Fraser.
The Bargain: Regular admission costs $8 -- so you're not saving a huge chunk of change, but enough for a post-art empanada feast at nearby Go-Go.
Who Should Go: Well-rounded art admirers who appreciate more than just a red dot on white canvas.
2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-673-7530
2. IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame
This three-story fishing mecca contains The Catch Gallery which holds 34 interactive kiosks, an antique rod and reel display, and life-size replicas of 173 fish species (all record catches) suspended from the ceiling.
Standout Exhibit: Now showing through April, Cedric Loth's Fighting Back Collection combines the world of deep-sea fishing with a bit of humor brought to sculpture.
The Bargain: Go this weekend and save yourself the regular $10 admission price. But fishing junkies shouldn't count on keeping it for long; there's a giant Bass Pro Shop right next door.
Who Should Go: Sportfishing enthusiasts who can bare to put their tackle box to rest for a few hours.
300 Gulf Stream Way, Dania, 954-922-4212
3. Miami Art Museum
MAM may be moving to a new home soon, but that doesn't mean you should wait to see its collection of international contemporary art from the Americas, Europe, and Africa.
Standout Exhibit: Records are the medium used by artists on display at "The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl" now on exhibit.
The Bargain: Bank of America customers won't have to pay the $8 admission this weekend, which is nice, because that's probably about as much as you owe in late fees to the adjacent Miami Public Library.
Who Should Go: The museum's small size is perfect for art goers with minimal time to spare.
101 West Flagler St., Miami, 305-375-3000
4. Miami Children's Museum
This place is perfect for the kiddos, and the kiddos at heart. You can climb on, touch, and see things that will make you smile from ear to ear--and we mean that in the least perverted way. (It's a children's museum, you nasty.)
Standout Exhibit: Castle of Dreams, Meet Miami, World Music Studio--we couldn't pick just one, but
we the kids love it all.
The Bargain: Regular admission costs $15, or $12 if you can prove you're a Florida resident. If you bring a whole family of Bank of America cardholders this weekend, you can save some serious cash.
Who Should Go: Parents who want to educate their kids in ways other than just putting Baby Einstein in the DVD player.
980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, 305-373-5437
5. Miami Museum of Science
Art museums just don't cut it sometimes, which is why we love MiaSci. This Miami landmark will be moving to a grander location in three years, but for now you can still enjoy learning about the weather, energy, and underwater species.
Standout Exhibit: "Water, Wind, and Weather: Miami in a Changing Climate" is a high-tech, completely digital exhibit that will put some of your questions on Miami's erratic weather to rest.
Who Should Go: Science nerds, duh.
3280 S Miami Ave., 305-646-4236
6. Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale
Yes, it's Broward. Get over it and make the short trek to this art emporium. It wouldn't be a respectful South Florida museum if its over 6,000 works of art didn't have an international scope. And hey, sometimes you have to get away from home to realize how much you love it.
Standout Exhibit: The highly-acclaimed exhibit, "Offering of The Angels: Old Master Paintings and Tapestries From the Uffizi Gallery" is showcasing striking works from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Visit before it's over on Sunday, April 8th.
The Bargain: Regular admission costs a whopping $18, so your savings here totally cover the cost of fuel.
Who Should Go: Travel bugs on the cheap who can't actually afford a plane ticket to Florence, Italy.
1 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-525-5500
7. Museum of Contemporary Art
Discover the works of emerging artists from one viewing room to the next at MOCA, which has been a champion of modern artists in Miami for decades. It's also home to one of the largest collections of contemporary art in our fair city.
Standout Exhibit: The solo exhibition of Rita Ackermann's paintings are refreshing among MOCA's usual art installations. The New York-based artists paintings, drawings, and collages will be on display through May 6.
The Bargain: You'll save a measly $5 in admission costs by attending this weekend, which should really make you wonder why you don't visit the space more often.
Who Should Go: Contemporary art buffs who understand the meaning behind crazy, over-the-top art pieces--or at least pretend to do so.
770 NE 125th St., 305-893-6211
8. Museum of Discovery and Science
Head over to Fort Lauderdale for interactive-style exhibits ranging from adorable, real-life sea otters to an actual hurricane stimulator.
Standout Exhibit: The "Prehistoric Florida" exhibit is a great way to learn about the creatures that inhabited our area millions of years before our current surgically enhanced populace took over.
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The Bargain: This weekend, you can get in and see an Imax film for free -- what's normally an $18 dollar value. You'll have to factor in the cost of getting stoned in advance, though.
Who Should Go: People who need to stimulate all five of their senses in order to learn. No excuses, A.D.D's.
401 SW 2nd Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-467-6637