Want to know how to stretch your dollar when playing tourist in a new location every week?
We save a fourtune with a museum Membership that has traveling reciprocity benifits. There are so many choises, different prices and different benefits at each museum. I spent a few hours looking into and comparing some of the memberships. After all the research we bought a membership in Bakersfield, CA for $125 at Kern County museum. It was a little more but it includes ASTC, ACM, TIME TRAVELERS, and NARM.
We are planning to get the AZA also. Since ACM are only 50% off and not free, not sure that we would use them as much even if we had younger kids. Since I also spent hours on this last week I thought I should record all my notes to possibly help someone else out and save some time. 🙂 You cpan click on the links below to link to each site.
What do all these acronyms mean???
Here is some info to help you make sense of this and see what type membership is right for your family.
AZA–Association of Zoos and Aquariums over 200 zoos and aquariums throughout the country. Some offer 50% off and others are free depending on what your home membership offers. You can find these for as low as $40/year.
ASTC–Association of Science and technology offers free admission to over 400 museums. Every museum has it’s own regulations in regard to how many admissions are included on a family pass. Some are 4 total and others are 2 adults and all kids. There is a restriction that prevents you from using your membership reciprocity at any museum within 90 miles of your home museum where your membership is from and 90 miles from you address on your drivers license. Not all inforce this rule, but it’s worth considering. You can get a membership for as little as $60/year with ASTC privileges.
ACM–Association of Childrens Museums 200+museums offer 50% discount up to 6 people/family membership. Museums that offer this are required to charge a minimum of $125/family for an annual membership. These museums are primarily for younger kids.
TIME TRAVELERS — over 300 Historic museums Like Edison and Ford museum in FL. Each museum that participates in this can offer free or discounted entrance and they each set their own rules. You can find museums that offer a membership with this reciprocal for as little as $30/year.
NARM– North America Reciprocal Museum You will receive free admission to over 800 museums like Ringling Brother, Art and history museums. The NARM requires the museums to charge a minimum of $125 to include this reciprocal benefit. To get the best deals you can find a museum that offers multiple reciprocal benifits with one membership.
ROAM–Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums This Organization requires the Museums to charge a Minimum of $100/year for the Membership. All participating museums are free to visit as long as they are more than 25 miles from your membership museum.
SERM–SE reciprocal Museums (All located in the Southeast.) Mostly historical, cultural and art museums. Free admission to over 200 museums and discounts is the gift shops.
MARP reciprocal–(Museum Alliance Reciprocal Program) Free admission and discounts in the gift shop. These are mostly art museums.
The best prices I have found through my research are…
North Carolina Nature center for $69 has ASTC and AZA.
If you just want Time Traveler the Fauquier History Museum and Old Jail in Warrington Virginia was just $35 per family
If you want just Zoos, the cheapest AZA I found was $40/family at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park in Carlsbad New Mexico
Also The Ringling Bros Museum in Sarasota, FL has reciprocity for ROAM, NARM, MARP and SERM all for $135/ family. Not a bad deal since adult tickets just to this museum alone are $25. Each.
The Boonshoft Museum membership has 2 options. The family membership is $100 and has reciprocity to AZA and ASTC North Carolina is better but if you want ACM their adventurer membership for $135 includes ACM, ASTC, and AZA.
Just to give you a sample of how much we save….We are currently in VA and just this week we have visited 4 museums for free with our ASTC reciprocal membership. Tickets for our family of 4 would have been $241.35 for all 4 museums. In just this one week alone we are already saving money. We got in FREE to all 4 museums, saw 2 IMAX shows and a planitarium show. Our original investment in our membership was just $135 for the year.
Tha Nauticus and Battleship Wisconsin, ticket prices were $15.95/adult and $11.50/child under the age of 12. Our family of 4 would have cost $59.35
The Virginia Air and Space museum,
(Included free IMAX tickets) prices were $18/adult and $14.50/child. Our family of 4 would have cost $65
The Childrens museum of Virginia, (this included free tickets to a planitarium show.) tickets were Adults $11, children $10. Our family of four would have been $42
The Virginia Living Museum the ticket prices were $20/adult and $15/child under 12. Our family of 4 would have been $75
Even if your home membership offers admission to 2 adults and all kids it the household, don’t expect that at all museums. Each one sets their own guideline for how many are admitted with a family membership. Two of the museums we visited this week allowed 4 tickets/family membership.
Hope this information can help your family save money also.