New Yorkers can now visit some of the city's top museums, zoos and concert halls for free when they apply for an IDNYC card.
The identification card, available to all New York City residents, was launched in January as an effort to allow vulnerable populations such as the homeless and undocumented immigrants to take advantage of city services that require a government-issued ID. However, even if you already have a state ID or passport, there are plenty of reasons to apply for the card. Thirty-three reasons in fact: That's the number of cultural institutions offering one-year memberships to those who sign up for a card by the end of 2015.
We've compiled some of our top recommendations for ways to take advantage of your IDNYC card across the five boroughs.
• New York Botanical Garden: Varied gardens spread across 250 acres in the Bronx at New York Botanical Garden, and the annual Orchid Show is one of the site's most anticipated events. Get year-round free admission with your membership in time for the exhibit's Feb. 28 opening (running through April 19), and marvel at lush indoor displays starring many varieties of the vibrant and delicate flower.
• Brooklyn Museum: Use your unlimited admissions to spend a couple afternoons exploring this massive museum, with collections ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts to modern street artists. Through March 1, see "Killer Heels," an exhibit that looks at the footwear's evolving history and displays 160 notable designs. Visit again in April, when the museum will display rarely seen notebooks and sketches from Brooklyn-born artist Basquiat.
• Carnegie Hall: The legendary Midtown performance hall hosts more than180 performances of orchestra music, jazz, folk, choral music and more each year. Hear for yourself with four complimentary rehearsal passes. Membership also grants perks such as half-price tickets to select presentations and early access to the best seats.
• MoMA PS1: One of the largest U.S. institutions for contemporary art, MoMA PS1 does not have a permanent collection of its own. Rather, it uses its Queens space to showcase cutting-edge experimental art from around the world. Get free admission with your membership and see exhibits such as "The Flat Side of the Knife," and immersive, multi-story installation by Samara Golden featuring upside-down beds, mirrored floors and staircases to nowhere.
• Staten Island Children's Museum: Keep kids entertained with free admission to this Staten Island museum's 40,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, including a construction area, a human-size ant hill and a stationary fire truck. Afterward, wander the landscaped grounds and 19th-century buildings of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, where the museum is housed.
-- Kelsey Rexroat is an editor at Travelzoo and based in New York. Travelzoo has 250 deal experts from around the world who rigorously research, evaluate and test thousands of deals to find those with true value.