Memorial Day is first and foremost an opportunity to remember and honor members of the American military that have given their lives in service to our country. In doing so, many businesses use the day also as a chance to give a break to current or former members of the military and their families as a gesture of appreciation.
We've got a list of places where active duty and retired military personnel can find Memorial Day freebies, deals, discounts, and other special offers. Most of these are pitched toward Monday, May 27, but some of them cover the whole Memorial Day weekend. You will need a valid U.S. military ID to receive the military discounts, and it's always good to double check your specific location if the discount is offered by a chain.
Blue Star Museums
We'll start with the one fantastic deal that lasts all summer long. The National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and over 2,000 museums across America offer free admission from Memorial Day through Labor Day to active duty military personnel (including National Guard and Reserve) and up to five family members. You'll need your military ID, but if you can't be there with your family, no problem. As long as at least one family member has their dependent ID, they're good to go.
Fogo de Chão
Veterans and active duty personnel will receive 50 percent off their meal and up to three guests per service member will also receive 10 percent off their meal on May 27.
McCormick & Schmick's
Gold Star parents and spouses, veterans, and active members of the military and National Guard get a free entrée on May 27.
Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub
Military and veterans who show proof of service get a free entrée from the $9.99 Real Size menu with the purchase of any regular-priced entrée on May 27.
Texas de Brazil
As a way to say thank you, from Monday, May 27 to Wednesday, May 29, the steakhouse is offering active-duty and veteran military members 50 percent off of their lunch or dinner, and up to seven of their guests get 20 percent off as well.
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill is treating veterans and active military with a free lunch or dinner entree with the purchase of another entree on Monday, May 27.
Some locations are offering free breakfast to active duty and veteran service members.
Theme Parks and Attractions
Cedar Fair Parks
Cedar Fair parks are offering free admission for active and retired members of the military with valid ID and discount tickets for military families from May 25-28. Check the park's website for details, but generally, you'll need to purchase the tickets at the park and the discounted family tickets are good for up to six immediate family members. Here's a list of participating parks:
Dorney Park -- Allentown, Pennsylvania
Kings Dominion -- Doswell, Virginia
Worlds of Fun/Oceans of Fun -- Kansas City, Missouri
Cedar Point and Cedar Point Shores -- Sandusky, Ohio
Michigan's Adventure -- Muskegon, Michigan
Valleyfair Amusement Park -- Shakopee, Minnesota
California's Great America -- Santa Clara, California
Kings Island -- Kings Mill, Ohio
Carowinds -- Charlotte, North Carolina
Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
On Sundays and Mondays in May, any active, retire, reserve military members or dependents who show a valid military ID will receive 50 percent off the purchase of admission.
Colonial Williamsburg offers free admission with valid ID to all active duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans, national guardsmen, and their immediate dependents from May 25-27.
The hardware store is partnering with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to give away one million flags. For every flag they give away, the chain will also donate a second flag to the VFW to place on veterans' graves.
Customers with a Walgreens Balance Rewards card (which is free and available at checkout) and a valid military ID or proof of service will receive 20 percent off regular price eligible store items at any Walgreens or Duane Reade drugstore nationwide on Monday, May 27. The discount is good for veterans, active duty military personnel, and their immediate family members.