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Reciprocal Memberships: Are they Really Worth It?

Tonya Prater, Owner

Next time you visit your local science museum or zoo be sure to ask about their annual pass rates. As my children have grown and we now pay the adult rate for their admission, it has often become more economical if we purchase a season pass; which normally pays for itself by the second visit. And…if your local science museum is in the ASTC passport program, as a bonus, you’ll be able to receive free general admission at over 300 science centers worldwide.

If you do a bit of research before you buy, you may find a science museum that offers reciprocal benefits in both the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) and the American Zoological Association (AZA) such as Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton, Ohio. They offer family memberships that include two adults and all children 17 and under beginning at the current rate of $79. If you choose to purchase an Adventurer Membership for $100, you will also receive reciprocal benefits to the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM).

But, the question is, are the reciprocal memberships really worth it? Well, you tell me. Since last March, we’ve visited the newly opened, Tellus Science Museum north of Atlanta in Cartersville, Georgia, the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama not once, but twice, the Great Lakes Science Center and the
Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Cleveland, Ohio, the Adventure Science Museum in Nasville, Tennessee, the Southern Museum of Flight and the Birmingham Zoo in you guessed it, Birmingham, Alabama. Bringing our grand total of savings at $484.75 plus tax.

So, what do you think? Is a savings of almost $500 worth it? I certainly do! And if you’re thinking that it’s only beneficial for us as a traveling family, would you be surprised to know that we used our memberships much more when we were at home, visiting our local science museums and zoo?

So, whether you are a traveling family, a large family looking for savings, parent’s of older children or you’re just interested in inexpensive family fun, reciprocal memberships just may be the way to go.

**** Before purchasing your membership, look over the above websites so you can see if the reciprocal benefits will be a good fit for your family. Many of the museums offer limits on the number of children permitted, so large families may not be able to gain free admission to all attractions, and there may also be geographical limitations, but reciprocal memberships should still reduce admission fees.

Today I’m joining:

Mary @ The World Is A Book

Wednesday 25th of April 2012

This is such a wonderful idea with so many great details. We haven't done the reciprocal museums yet but have done the botanical garden ones. Such money savers!

Nicole at Arrows Sent Forth

Tuesday 24th of April 2012

I've been thinking more and more about reciprocal programs and what a great deal they are. Someone suggested to me that I map out what museums I think I might visit over the course of a year and join the one that is the cheapest to join (usually the smaller, community-based ones) and then enjoy the reciprocal benefits at the more expensive ones. Not a bad idea!


Tuesday 24th of April 2012

I wrote a similar post and found the same as you-Reciprocal programs are fantastic! Thanks for linking up today!


Tuesday 24th of April 2012

We love annual passes! Annual memberships may have reciprocity with local attractions at no extra cost. Also, if you do not already subscribe to Groupon it may be worth your while. We bought an annual pass to one of our favorite museums for $30 last year through Groupon. The reciprocal benefits included weekday admissions to 3 or 4 other local parks and museums and we visited all of them. We usually purchase a membership to a different place each year so we don't get tired of it.


Tuesday 24th of April 2012

Groupon is a great source, isn't it? I've not been fortunate enough to snag a museum membership yet, but I've got my eyes open and my credit card ready! :)

walkingon travels

Tuesday 24th of April 2012

Great tip! We are starting to visit more and more museums. I'm already looking into a membership at our local science museum. It would also get us into the museums back east that are close to all of the granparents, cousins and aunts and uncles, so it will definitely be worth it. Thanks for linking up today! Protection Status
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