The soon-to-open Knock Knock Children's Museum plans to offer reduced admission to families in poverty and free field trips to kids in the city-parish's Head Start program, as museum supporters said Thursday they hope to knock down barriers that would otherwise prevent those youngsters from experiencing the museum.

The help for struggling families is thanks to a gift from the Dodge Family Fund, which will pay the reduced admission rates for 500 families as Knock Knock leaders search for other donors as well. The long-anticipated museum on a hill on Dalrymple Drive across from the City Park Golf Course is set to open this summer.

"When children come with their Head Start program, they'll be begging their parents to take them there as well," said Diane Dodge, founder of Teaching Strategies, LLC, at a Thursday news conference. She and her husband delivered the grant.

The museum's location has led to discussions about access for kids in its neighboring but poorer neighborhood of Old South Baton Rouge. The museum is expected to have walking paths for kids to easily and safely roam there from their homes.

But the museum's leaders have worried especially about kids in families struggling with financial hardships, those who come from families where going to museums is not a routine activity, those who lack the transportation to get there and those who have special needs.

To demonstrate that they are a family in need and eligible for reduced price admission, families can show their electronic benefit transfer cards when they go to Knock Knock. They would pay $3 per person for a family up to six.

The museum's leadership team is still deciding what regular admission prices to charge and prices for membership packages, using data about the market and other nearby children's museums to finalize their pricing. The Louisiana Children's Museum in New Orleans charges $8.50 plus sales tax per person for admission, while the Children's Museum of Acadiana charges $7 for admission.

Those interested in donating to the fund to allow more families to attend the museum can do so on the Knock Knock Children's Museum website.

Dodge said the model is better than one that might allow free or reduced admission one day a month because families can receive reduced admission any time at Knock Knock instead of worrying about missing a certain day because of other conflicts.

Every Head Start preschool class in the nine parishes in the capital region will also be eligible for free field trips. The field trips for Head Start children will include a period of time where a museum educator walks kids through a focused learning activity, along with time for the kids to explore the museum.

The museum has been more than a decade in the works, with a group of supporters slowly raising nearly $12 million during that time frame to build the 30,000-square-foot building. It started construction in April 2015.

"When the founders of the museum came to me many years ago, it was a dream," said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome at Thursday's news conference. "And they had to press to make this dream a reality."

The museum will include 18 learning zones that will give kids ways to play and interact while also learning new skills. Some of them include a storybook climber where kids can ascend atop of life-size books, a bubble playground, a star studio to dance in front of cameras, a play mechanic's garage and more.

Follow Andrea Gallo on Twitter, @aegallo.​