Tuesday, July 05, 2005

More Museum Memberships!

We were given a membership to the Nashville Zoo, and boy, have we made it worthwhile!

Since we're likely to hit at least one museum on our trip, I thought I'd investigate memberships. Here's my savvy strategy for getting the most for your money:

Most science museums belong to a reciprocal agreement called the ASTC Passport Program. Being a member of one participant gives you free admission at all the others, with some exceptions. Our museum's membership costs $75; many Florida museums charge $100 and up.

I found the ASTC's current list and clicked away.

Aha! The Anniston Museum of Natural History has a family membership for only $35.

Would I have preferred to support our local museum? Yes--but $75 was not in my budget. Instead, I'm supporting another worthy institution.

Should we take advantage of the museums in our destination cities, here are the savings:
  • Fairchild Tropical Gardens ($15 admission per person)
  • Miami Museum of Science ($10 per adult, $6 per child)
  • MOSI Tampa ($16 per adult, $12 per child)
  • Total savings: around $112, minus our $35 investment.

    UPDATE: My summer/fall list of reciprocal museums has a big, bold addition across the top. Now local museums have the right to ask for your zip code. If you have a museum membership from another city but are seeking reciprocity in your own city, they have the right to refuse your free admission. They may not ask you at all. So using this strategy does pose more risk than it originally did.


Anonymous said...

Ohh, good idea!

Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

I live in Tampa. Have you been to MOSI? It's a great museum. Are you going to be in the Tampa Bay area long? At my Tampa homeschooling group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Homeschool-TampaFl/)I have a list of area things to do.

Meredith said...

Oh, thanks! I will check that list out tonight, Mrs. Happy Housewife. While we won't be spending much time in Tampa this trip, we visit the area at least once a year.

We are flying into Tampa so that we can pick up my husband's grandma in Clearwater--and then drive her south to Miami/Ft. Lauderdale. I was hoping we could visit MOSI before leaving for the airport on the day of our departure. Dh and I toured it a few years ago and were impressed!

Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

Yes, MOSI has been improved greatly in the past few years. Plus, they're adding even more this Friday. Have you been to their website - http://www.mosi.org/?I live pretty close to the airport (in Citrus Park) so let me know if you need anything.

Anonymous said...

Great idea for checking around other museums for memberships!

With the zoo, we bought our family membership, but the Nashville Zoo lets any two adults buy a family membership together that covers all their children. A girlfriend from church and I bought one as a "family" figuring that since most of the time we'd be going without our husbands, we didn't really need them to be the other adult in the family. Plus you always get to bring one free guest, so any time we went on the weekends, as long as we didn't go on the same weekend, we could take our husbands along. That lowered the zoo membership price by half, of course.

Meredith said...

I didn't know you could do that at the zoo--how clever! I have split a Sam's Club membership with a friend.

Anonymous said...

At ASTC, we encourage families to support their local science centers and museums, and use the Travel Passport Program benefit when traveling outside their hometown. Admissions staff at Passport Program sites are aware of "bargain shoppers" and will take measures to stop the abuse of the program's intent.

Meredith said...

I want to note that at the time we joined the Anniston Museum (where we often visit with grandparents)--THE AST HAD NO PROHIBITION OR NOTE ABOUT THIS PRACTICE ON ITS WEBSITE OR MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION.

We are happy to support our local museums, but when the choice is not visiting at all or supporting a less expensive museum in the grandparent's city, we will do the latter.