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.