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!