Our science museum membership is one thing I am keeping forever. We have been members of the Science Museum of Minnesota for around ten years, and if they offered a lifetime membership I would seriously consider it. So what is so wonderful about having a science museum membership? I’m saving the best for last.
First, the basic membership–with the educators’ discount–pays for itself in two visits. That right there is worth it, as we visit the science museum fairly regularly throughout the year. The museum has wonderful, engaging exhibits that are very hands-on. The kids have never been too young or too old to enjoy the museum. Recently we dropped our Children’s Museum membership because our two oldest have grown out of it and our youngest is happy with the other options.
Bonuses, discounts, and money savers
Second, there is a free IMAX or OMNI film included each time we go. If we’ve already seen it and want to see it again, no problem. The museum has a yearly OMNIFest where six different films are shown depending on the time and day. We can visit every week for the duration of the film festival and see both new and classic shows. They are generally appropriate for the whole family; we started taking the kids when they reached four or five.
Third, members get a discount for special exhibits such as dinosaurs, King Tut, and the treasure of the pirate ship Whydah. The exhibits aren’t cheap, and we’re on a tight budget, so we don’t see every one, but we can pick the best and enjoy the show.
Fourth, there are a couple of money saving benefits such as the store discount and a set price for parking. Because the museum is in downtown Saint Paul, it’s handy to always know you can park in their lot and pay the same price, even when some big event is happening across the street at the event center or the theater. That means that we can go to those events, too, and still pay our membership price. The giant downtown branch of the library is also across the street, which can’t be underestimated!
And bonus museums all over the country
Finally, my favorite benefit is this: our science museum is part of the ASTC Travel Passport network. That means that our card is good for general admission to more than 350 museums and planetariums around the world, and we put it to good use. The passport program is good for any participating museum more than 90 miles from your residence and 90 miles from the museum where you are a member. None of our family lives within 90 miles of Saint Paul, so when we travel we take advantage of our museum membership as much as possible. Many of the closer museums also offer a discount.
Here are a few of our favorite museums so far, with many more that look amazing:
Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff
International Wildlife Museum, Tucson
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Flint Hills Discovery Center, Manhattan
The Works, Bloomington
The Bakken Museum, Minneapolis
Science Museum of Minnesota, Saint Paul
NM Museum of Space History, Alamogordo
Explora! Museum, Albuquerque
NM Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque
Buffalo Museum of Science
The Children’s Museum of Houston
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, McKinney
The Witte Museum, San Antonio
Natural History Museum of Utah, Salt Lake City
The Leonardo, Salt Lake City
Virginia Discovery Museum, Charlottesville
So what are you waiting for? If this amazing resource isn’t within your budget, ask the grandparents for a gift membership, or start saving now.
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