Travels with Children

The adventures I embark upon with my four young children.

Adventures on a Budget

Going on adventures with kids doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money on admission.  Here are some tips for seeing the world without breaking the bank. 

  • Find out if the location has free or discount days.  Many museums will have free admission on a weekly or monthly basis; check their websites for details.  Amusement parks may offer discounted “twilight” admission. 
  • Purchase a museum membership.  Many museums provide reciprocal free or discounted admission to other museums within their associations.  It’s a great deal if you’ll be visiting several museums during the year.  The Association of Children’s Museums (www.childrensmuseums.org), Association of Science-Technology Centers (www.astc.org), and American Zoo Association (www.aza.org) are examples.  Some museums are members of more than one organization so you can really get a bang for your buck.  This year, I invested $224 in museum memberships, and if I had paid regular admission at those sites, it would have totaled $391.  I still have 4-6 months left on my memberships, so I’ll save even more before they expire.  (Hint:  You can purchase a membership at an out-of-state museum via the Internet without ever visiting the museum.  Memberships rates vary greatly from museum to museum, so doing some homework can really pay off.)
  • Broaden your horizons.  Even though I’m not an avid art lover, we’ve gone to art museums on free family days and had a great time while exposing the kids to something new.
  • If you’re a member of certain organizations, you may receive a discount on admission.  AAA and Farm Bureau are some examples.  Your employer may also offer discount tickets to attractions. 
  • Scour websites for other details.  Some museums offer free memberships or greatly reduced admission to families within certain income guidelines.
  • Go while the kids are young. 😉  Many places offer free or greatly reduced admission prices for children under 3, under 6, or even under 12.  Other places will give a family rate that is a better deal than paying for each individual.  Doing your homework ahead of time, especially via the web, can ensure that you get the best price available.
  • Look for coupons in visitor’s guides and welcome packets.
  • If you live in Minnesota, check out a Museum Adventure Pass for free admission to many metro-area museums.  See www.melsa.org/museumadventurepass for details.

On occasion, I do pay full price for admission, and it’s well worth it!

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