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How Hidden Perks of Museum Memberships Save You Money

Last summer in an effort to beat the heat and save money, our family purchased a Groupon for the Arizona Science Center. The offer provided unlimited visits for a family of four from Memorial Day to Labor Day for $39.99, and when we redeemed it at the Science Center we were offered the opportunity to upgrade to a full membership for an additional $40. The regular family of four membership cost $145, so I wasn’t about to pass up the chance to save over $65 dollars on something I knew we would continue to use. Plus for our family of three, if we went four times, it would work even out to about $20 a visit over the course of the year.

After upgrading our membership I got to researching what benefits were included so I could make sure we take advantage of all the perks of being members. One of the best unknown benefits of an Arizona Science Center membership is that they participate in the ASTC Travel Passport Program.

The ASTC Travel Passport Program provides benefits such as free general admission to other science centers and museums when you travel outside of your local area. There are science centers and museums in almost every state and even some foreign countries that participate in this program – click here to see the link of all participating organizations and the discount they provide.

museum membershipsSince June 2016 our family (my husband, myself, and our son who turned 3 in December) has used the ASTC Travel Passport offers this year to visit the following places:

  • The Science and Industry Museum ($18 per adult) – Chicago
  • Adler Planetarium ($12 per adult) – Chicago
  • The Museum of Flight ($21 per adult) – Seattle
  • The Imagination Children’s Museum ($10.20 per person) – Everett, WA
  • The International Wildlife Museum ($9 per adult) – Tucson

In some cases where we were traveling, we were able to bring grandparents and friends with us and use our membership benefits for them. The ASTC list has details for each venue on who they allow the membership to cover. Many venues are generous and as long as you have at least one of the card holders, you can use the additional membership spots to bring a specific number of adults and children.

If you are planning to travel or have family in another state that you see often be sure to check out the ASTC Travel Passport participating venues to see how much you might save by using your Arizona Science Membership in another location. You might find that the cost of an Arizona Science Membership can be offset by gaining free admission to the museums and science centers that you will be traveling to.

With the visits to additional museums, science centers, and planetariums our family ended up saving an extra $185 beyond the $65 we originally saved on membership to the Arizona Science Center by upgrading our Groupon Membership. Who knows … with 3 more months left on our membership, a trip to Flagstaff to beat the heat and visit Lowell Observatory ($15 per adult) might be in order!

By the way, if the Science Center isn’t your thing – do not worry! You can save money through similar reciprocity agreements with places like the Phoenix Zoo and three local museums! With a Phoenix Zoo Membership you can participate in their Affiliate Zoo program and receive free or discounted admission to more than 150 zoos and aquariums across the country. With certain levels of membership to either the Phoenix Art Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, or the Heard Museum members are able to participate in the North American Reciprocal Museum program which has 896 member institutions across North America.

Have you had a chance to use your membership for a Phoenix area attraction in another city or state? Share with us below in the comments or post about your experience on social media with the hashtag #nphxmoms.

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