Benefits of Museum and Zoo Membership Programs
Top Four Benefits of Zoo and Museum Memberships
- Reduced rates for education programs
- Members only events and newsletter
- Discounts on gift shop purchases, food and parking
- Reciprocal admission program
Living in Columbus, Ohio, we have always had a pass to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium as well as COSI, the Center of Science and Industry. We are a family of eight so visits anywhere add up quickly. Our membership passes allow us to pay one up front membership fee and then enjoy free visits to the museum/zoo for the following twelve months.
After our COSI pass expired, I bought a museum pass using a Living social deal for $30. Last weekend, we were able to visit a Natural History museum on a day trip and received free admission for two adults and six children.
Our whole family was free.
We have not even visited ‘our museum’ yet, and our membership has paid for itself.
Depending on the size of your family, joining a museum or zoo can pay for itself in its first visit. A few factors to consider before purchasing a membership are:
- How many times will you have to visit before the membership pays for itself?
- How many times do you honestly think you will go to the museum or zoo each year?
- Do you have any trips coming up to other cities?
- Besides free admission, what are the other benefits of museum/zoo membership programs?
Reduced Rates for Zoo and Museum Programs
Zoo and Museum members receive priority enrollment and discounted rates for programs. Programs can range from education classes, after hours fundraisers as well as overnight family experiences. Programs are popular year round, but especially during the school breaks.
Are you looking for summer or winter break programs for your children?
Check your program benefits to see how much you can save on hands on educational experiences for your children using your membership program.
Children Love the Zoo
Are you a member to a zoo or museum?
Members Only Events and Newsletter
When new exhibits are revealed, many museums and zoos offer members only previews. Our zoo has members only night for the first evening of the Zoo Lights. Special encounters with Santa and the elves as well as free carousel rides are offered to zoo members on the first night of the Zoo Light season.
Being a paying member of a zoo or museum, you are privy to newsletters/email correspondence revealing upcoming events, new exhibits scheduled to arrive as well as behind the scenes information about the location or even staff members. When I am done looking at the information that pertains to me as an adult, I let the kids read the articles and enjoy the pictures. Our children look forward to the zoo magazine.
Understanding the Cost of One Family Visit to the Zoo Versus Purchasing a Membership
2 and Under
Ages 2 to 9
Discounts on Gift Shop Purchases, Food and Parking
Who doesn’t like a discount?
When you join your zoo or museum, many offer a percentage off their gift shop and/or food purchases. Check your membership benefits to understand the discounts specific to your location.
Our zoo offers 10% off purchases at the gift shops. Additionally, some locations offer free parking to members. On a recent visit to the National Zoo in Washington D.C., admission was free to the public but parking was $22. Parking was free for members of the zoo.
It is important to understand the complete savings available by purchasing a membership. When you start including gift shops and parking, the savings can add up quickly!
Enjoying Reciprocal Zoo and Museum Locations
Zoo and Museum Reciprocity List
Reciprocal Admission Program
My favorite benefit of the zoo and museum membership is the reciprocal admission program. A few years ago, we took a trip to Pittsburgh as family. We visited the Pittsburgh Zoo, the Carnegie Museum and an Aviary for no cost using this program.
Reciprocal zoos and aquariums offer 50% off or free admission for two adults and four (or six) children. The reciprocal admission policy varies by location so make sure you check the list of reciprocating locations as well as calling prior to your visit.
Zoo and Museum Membership Quiz
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Memberships Quickly Pay for Themselves
We love the flexibility being members to our zoo and museum offers. When your admission is free, it doesn’t matter if you stay one hour or the whole day. We just enjoy the quality time with our children.
If you have not yet purchased a membership yourself, look at the membership benefits for your local zoo and/or museum. You might be surprised at how affordable and even cost saving these educational activities can be.