Food Stamps: Learn and Play with these Illinois Link Card Discounts

Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL.
benkrut / Getty Images/iStockphoto

There are roughly three-quarters of a million children in Illinois receiving SNAP EBT benefits, formerly known as food stamps, according to the Spotlight On Poverty & Opportunity website. But many families may not know that SNAP EBT recipients can use their card to get more than just money for food, non-alcoholic beverages, and seeds or plants and trees that produce food.

Just by showing your SNAP EBT card, you can get discounts or free entry at museums and attractions across the state. You can’t use your benefits to pay for admission, but you can save a lot of money if you know where to show your Illinois Link card for discounts.

Take a look at these discounts Illinois SNAP EBT recipients may qualify for and then plan some fun fall activities for your family.  

Museums Across the State

Many art and history museums across Illinois offer discounted admission to SNAP recipients as part of Museums 4 All, a federally funded program. Some of the Illinois museums participating in the program include the Peoria Riverfront Museum, the Chicago History Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. It’s a good idea to call ahead to ensure you can still receive free or discounted entry with your Link card and if there are any limits to the number of people you can bring.

Children’s Museums

Chicago’s famed Museum of Science & Industry on South Lake Shore Drive provides free entry to two adults and up to six children when you present your Link or WIC card at entry with a photo ID. Keep in mind that entry only covers museum entry, and does not include parking, the Giant Dome Theater, Fab Lab or other special exhibits requiring their own ticket.

Make Your Money Work for You

Wonder Works is another Chicago museum that offers fun for the whole family. A 501(c)3 organization, Wonder Works discounts its tickets to $3 for EBT participants as part of the Museums for All program.

In Peoria, you can get into the Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum for just $3 if you receive WIC or SNAP benefits through Museums 4 All. If you visit the museum frequently, you may decide to purchase a membership through the Explorer program, instead. If you reside in the Peoria Park District, you can get a membership for two adults and all children under 18 living in the household for just $15. The membership is good for unlimited visits. Illinois residents outside the Peoria Park District will pay $25 for the same membership. Through this membership, you’ll also get a 10% gift shop discount, special member pricing on events and birthday parties, and exclusive Members-Only hours on Tuesdays from 9am to Noon.

Natural Attractions in Illinois

Illinois is home to many beautiful arboretums, parks, botanical gardens and other natural attractions. You can gain free or discounted entry to many of them, including the Morton Arboretum and the Chicago Botanic Garden, with your Link card.

To request discounted tickets for the Morton Arboretum, you’ll need to email up to 72 hours in advance with your desired date, time and number of tickets you need (up to 8).

The Chicago Botanic Garden provides discounted entry to one vehicle per card.

Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium in Chicago offers discounted admission, which includes one show, for $1 per person for up to 8 people with one Link card. You can also upgrade to a second show and the Atwood Sphere experience for an additional $5, according to You must purchase your tickets at the box office.  

Make Your Money Work for You

Shedd Aquarium

Through the Museums For All program, Shedd Aquarium offers $3 admission for adults and free admission for children under 17 when you reserve your tickets online and present your Link card at the gate. Admission includes all exhibits, including the Underwater Beauty special exhibit and the Stingray Touch tank. Visitors can upgrade to the 4D Experience for $4.95 per person, according to

Half Price Amazon Prime

Illinois residents, as well as SNAP recipients in all 50 states, can receive 50% off Amazon Prime membership. Relax with Amazon Prime’s streaming service, get free next-day or two-day delivery on many Amazon products, and enjoy special deals on Prime Day and year-round with your $6.99 membership.  

Discounted Telecommunications Services

The federal Lifeline program offers $9.25 to help Link cardholders pay for either phone or internet service. Cell phone providers in the state of Illinois that participate in Lifeline include Life Wireless, Safelink Wireless, the Illinois Telephone Corporation, Yourtel America, and Access Wireless, according to the website

The Affordable Connectivity Program provides SNAP EBT recipients with a $30 monthly discount on internet service, plus a $100 discount on the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer or tablet. If you qualify for Lifeline, you will automatically qualify for the $30 ACP credit, and you can use both discounts simultaneously to further reduce your household broadband internet bill.

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