Entrance to San Diego Botanic Garden. Photo by Rachel Cobb

The San Diego Botanic Garden is offering free admission to active-duty military and their families starting this weekend,

The 37-acre Encinitas garden is taking part in the Blue Star Museum program, which also offers free admission to National Guard and Reserve members — the ID-card carrier and up to five immediate family members.

The program starts Saturday — Armed Forces Day.

Kids will enjoy exploring two children’s gardens — Seeds of Wonder and the Hamilton Children’s Garden, featuring Toni’s Tree House, as well as a Mountain Stream, Garden Music and Garden ABC Plant exploration areas.

Blue Star participants also get free admission to special summer events, including Thursday Family Fun Nights each Thursday from June 6 to July 18 (except for July 4); Fairy Festival on June 22; and Insect Fest on July 20 and 21.

An unidentified Botanic Garden member provided support for the program, officials said.

The Blue Star Museum program is a partnership among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and museums across the country.

Named one of the “Top 10 Botanic Gardens in North America” by USA TODAY/10BEST.com, San Diego Botanic Garden off Interstate 5 boasts 5,000 plant species and the nation’s largest bamboo collection.

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