ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Save with Season Passes

Updated on April 19, 2016
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Busch Gardens Williamsburg

With summer approaching quickly, thoughts are turning to the fun places we will visit when the weather turns warm. Our family of four enjoys day trips to amusement parks, zoos and museums. We also like to travel to visit family and just see new places. With a little advance planning, we can make the most of that time without breaking the bank.

What are Annual Memberships?

Annual memberships, or season passes, offer you unlimited admission to the organization, and often offer additional perks such as free parking and discounts on food and merchandise. The cost of the membership is usually a little less than two visits to the organization.

Why would they do that? Aren't they losing money? Not really. If you buy a season pass to an amusement park, chances are that you will purchase food or other items each time you visit. Each time you tell your friends and family that you are going to the amusement park, you are potentially creating interest for new customers.

What's the difference between an Annual Membership and a Season Pass? The difference is in the operating dates of the organization. A museum is open all year. They will offer Annual Memberships. Some annual memberships are for the calendar year (January through December), while others offer 12-month memberships that begin from the date of purchase. A water park is only open during the warm weather. They will offer a Season Pass that has a specific begin and end date for their specific park. Many amusement parks now have Halloween and Christmas events that take place after the regular season. Make certain to check your season pass to see if these events are included or not.

Look for these programs

  • ACM - Association of Children's Museums
  • ASTC Travel Passport - Association of Science-Technology Centers
  • AZA - Association of Zoos and Aquariums
  • NARM - North American Reciprocal Museum
  • RAP - Reciprocal Admissions Program
  • Look for others at your favorite place

Visit More Places

Many museums and zoos have reciprocal agreements with other museums and zoos that offer free or discounted admissions. For example, if you purchase a membership at the Philadelphia Zoo, you will be able to get 50% off admission at the San Francisco Zoo, or free admission to ZOOAmerica in Hershey, PA.

Amusement parks that are part of a larger organization provide similar perks. The Six-Flags parks and the Busch Gardens parks all offer levels of membership that allow you to visit their sister parks for no additional cost.

If you are planning a trip, look for places that offer reciprocity with your membership. We have visited some interesting places in North Carolina, Louisiana, Missouri, and West Virginia that we would have passed by if they hadn't been included with our membership. One year we were able to visit six different Six-Flags parks in one season. The annual membership cost us about $100 per person. Park admission would have cost of about $300 per person. That was a savings of $200 per person. Not bad for a family of four.

North Carolina Aquarium at Manteo
North Carolina Aquarium at Manteo

Favorite Way to Spend A Day

What is your favorite way to spend the day with your family?

See results

Bargain Hunt

Now here is where you can really save some money. The Liberty Science Center in NJ offers a family membership for $140 which includes unlimited admission to their center and participates in the ASTC Travel Passport Program, which offers free general admission to participating museums. The Franklin Institute in PA offers a family membership for $120 and also participates in the ASTC program. You can enjoy both museums, and save $20 by purchasing you membership at the Franklin Institute.

To find the best bargain in your area, look at the list of places that reciprocate with each other. Visit their web sites and compare the cost of the membership. Be certain to look for any restrictions that might apply. Some organizations will not reciprocate with those within 90 miles of each other. So if you want to visit all the museums in Pennsylvania, it might be beneficial to purchase a membership in New York that reciprocates with the places you want to visit.

Compare Six Flags Park Memberships

Regular Season Pass
Gold Season Pass
Great Escape (NY)
Great Adventure (NJ)
New England (Mass)
America (MD)


These memberships also make great gifts. One year I gave my nieces and nephews family memberships to their local zoos, museums, and state parks. They had a lot of fun exploring these places all year round, and always had something to do on a rainy day.

With a little bit of internet searching, you and your family can explore many new places and still stay within your budget. Do you know other reciprocal programs? Please share.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)