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Honoring veterans: Puget Sound area museums, businesses offer free entry, meals

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SEATTLE -- Observed annually in the United States on November 11, Veterans Day is a holiday to honor and remember those who have served in the armed forces.

To thank the more than 19 million veterans in the United States, many restaurants and businesses are offering freebies and deals to those who served. Some are even extending their generosity to active military and their family members.

Locally owned restaurants, museums and attractions are also participating. Here are some of the free attractions for veterans and their families:

  • Washington State History Museum, Tacoma: Free admission for veterans and up to five family members.
  • Museum of Flight, Tukwila: Free admission for veterans
  • LaMay, America's Car Museum, Tacoma: Free admission for veterans
  • Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle: Free admission for veterans and their spouses. Four more family members with valid ID get $5 off admission.
  • Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium: Free admission for veterans, and half-off general admission for immediate family.
  • Northwest Trek:  Free admission for veterans, and half-off general admission for immediate family.

Participating restaurants and businesses

  • Brown Bear Car Wash (multiple locations): Free car wash for veterans and current military members. The car wash will also donate $1 from each car washed on Veterans Day to Puget Sound Honor Flight.
  • Sports Clips (Seattle, Bellevue and Shoreline): Free hair cuts for veterans, and $1 from every haircut donated to Help a Hero scholarship fund.
  • Ivar's restaurants (multiple locations): Free entree for veterans
  • Starbucks: Free cup of coffee for veterans

Find more local Veterans Day deals here.

National chains

  • Chili's is offering veterans and active military members a free meal from a selection of menu items including Chicken Crispers, Margarita Grilled Chicken and Chicken Bacon Ranch Quesadillas.
  • Applebee's also has active and retired military members covered with a free dine-in meal.
  • Cracker Barrel is serving up a Southern homestyle holiday, thanking veterans with a complimentary Pumpkin Pie Latte or Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake. The Old Country Store will also be donating 10% of sales on select rocking chairs to the nonprofit Operation Homefront.
  • Denny's is giving the diner vibe to active, non-active and retired military personnel from 5 a.m. to noon with a Build Your Own Grand Slam deal.
  • At Golden Corral's Military Appreciation Night, anybody who has served in the military can get a free "thank you" dinner.
  • O'Charley's is also offering a free entrée from a limited menu for all veterans and active duty personnel. The menu includes Chopped Steak, Low Country Shrimp and Peach Chutney Chicken.
  • IHOP is making sure veterans and active military can enjoy a free red, white and blueberry pancake combo.
  • Dunkin' is giving a sweet salute to its customers from the armed forces with a free donut of their choice.
  • Visit Target in-store or online to get a 10% discount. Don't forget to get your discount coupon from their site, though.
  • Great Clips will give a free haircut to veterans on this holiday. Don't need a haircut right now? That's cool. They'll also hand out a free haircut card to be used at a later date.
  • Goodyear Auto Service's "Free Checks for Vets" program is performing free checks on tires, brakes, alignment, shocks and struts, batteries and wiper blades for active and retired military. Plus, they will provide free tire installation for any tire purchase.
  • Amazon is giving veterans and active military a year of Amazon Prime for $79 (it's usually $119).
  • The National Park Service invites veterans and their families to enjoy free entrance at its more than 400 national parks this Veterans Day. The free entrance does not cover amenity fees for activities such as camping, boat launches or tours.
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