If you have museums or a zoo in your town, it may be worthwhile to see if buying a membership would save money in the long run.
We hadn’t visited any of the museums in Pittsburgh until recently. We wanted to change that, though. Nothing like being a tourist in your own town to have fun for a low price!
I looked into the membership options for the Carnegie museums. A membership works for the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Science Center, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Carnegie Museum of Art.
In addition, our membership card will allow us access to a bunch of museums around the country (so long as they aren’t within 90 miles of Pittsburgh). We’ll be able to visit some the next time we drive to Indiana, plus maybe plan some day trips around here.
If Shane and I visited the four museums just once, we’d pay $88 for admission, or $118 if we visited the history and art museums on separate days. Johnny is young enough to get in for free. Gotta love these cheap years, no?
The membership price for two adults is $100. According to museum staff, the two adults don’t have to live together or be related.
So, my friend Renee and I split the membership. (Hi, Renee!) We’re each named on the membership, so I can take Shane as my guest, or she could take her husband (or anyone!) as her guest. We just can’t each bring a guest at the same time. Make sense?
I was willing to pay $100 for the membership, so only paying $50 to split it with Renee made it a fabulous deal.
Note: Be sure to check with museum staff if you’re planning on splitting a membership. You’ll want to make sure it’s allowed!
If you aren’t sure about a membership, consider:
- How much would it cost in full price admission if you were to pay a la carte prices?
- Does the museum offer half-off or otherwise discounted days? Some museums offer deals on the first Friday of the month, for example. Check out their web sites or give them a call.
- Can you gain discounted tickets from an Entertainment Book or through AAA or some other association?
- Are you certain you’d visit often enough for it to be worth it? How often do the temporary exhibits change? Enough to bring you back a few times?
- Are there special members-only discounts? With mine, we get cheaper parking at once place and a discount at their cafes and perhaps the gift shop.
- Can you share a membership with someone?
- Which museums/zoos/etc. are included in a reciprocal membership? Would you visit any?
Since Johnny is liable to have a melt-down at any time, I wanted to have a membership in case we needed to leave early. It would stink to pay $30 admission and only stay for a half hour, you know? Now, if he has a problem, we can just come back another time.
I’m considering getting a membership for the Children’s Museum here as well. I’d have to make certain we’d go often enough for it to be worth it. I do know that the winter will be a long one (aren’t they always?) and going to a museum for Johnny to play at is probably better than going to the mall playground or a McDonald’s PlayPlace.
I’m probably going to hold off on the zoo membership for now, though. I think Johnny will appreciate the zoo perhaps next summer or when he’s closer to two years of age. Until then, we’ll probably buy single-day tickets if we happen to go this winter.
Do you buy memberships to museums or zoos in your area? What other tips can you suggest? How do you save money at museums or zoos?