If you’ve ever gasped when totaling the price tag for a family trip to a museum or other attraction, this post is for you! Let’s break down the ways that you can save some serious money on visits to local museums, arboretums, and other fun attractions!
My suggestions here largely come from personal experience. (No shocker here) I’m a parent who likes to be out-and-about. But I’ve cringed when faced with a triple digit number to “get out somewhere new that we can all enjoy for a few hours.” Money-saving is in just about all parents’ interests. Likewise, these visits can be truly memorable and educational experiences. A.k.a. it IS worth it to go. So these tips are tried and true methods that get us the best of both worlds – the experience and the savings 🙂 .
Take Advantage of Your Library Card
Local libraries are AMAZING resources. They often have free passes that can be checked out with your library card. Here’s a few places around here that you can get into for FREE with a pass from the specified library:
Academy of Natural Sciences: Indian Valley, Lansdale, North Wales
African American Museum in Philadelphia: Indian Valley, Lansdale, North Wales
American Swedish Historical Museum: Lansdale, North Wales
Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles: North Wales
Bucks County Childrens’ Museum: Indian Valley, Lansdale, North Wales
Chanticleer Gardens: Indian Valley, North Wales
Eastern State Penitentiary: North Wales
Glencairn Museum: Indian Valley, North Wales (not recommended for children)
Grounds for Sculpture: Indian Valley
Independence Seaport Museum: Indian Valley, North Wales
John James Audubon Society: North Wales
Mennonite Heritage Center: Indian Valley
Moravian Pottery and Tile Works: Indian Valley, North Wales
Morgan Log House: Lansdale
Morris Arboretum: Indian Valley, North Wales
Museum of the American Revolution: Indian Valley, Lansdale, North Wales
Mutter Museum: Indian Valley, Lansdale, North Wales
National Constitution Center: Indian Valley, Lansdale, North Wales
National Liberty Museum: Indian Valley, Lansdale, North Wales
National Museum of American Jewish History: Lansdale, North Wales
Pearl S. Buck International: Indian Valley, Lansdale, North Wales
Penn Museum (University of Penn Archaeology & Anthropology) : Indian Valley, Lansdale, North wales
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts: Indian Valley, North Wales
Philadelphia Insectarium & Butterfly Pavilion: Lansdale, North Wales
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens: North Wales
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania: North Wales
Simeone Automotive Museum: North Wales
Tyler Arboretum: North Wales
Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum: North Wales
Woodmere Art Museum: North Wales
A word to the wise about library passes though. Each library has it’s own procedures and rules regarding check-out. Likewise, each museum will differ in how they offer the pass. Some (like the Academy of Natural Sciences) provide a digital pass that will be emailed to you for the date you select. Others (like the Bucks County Childrens’ Museum with Indian Valley) are a physical pass that you will need to pick up and return on specified dates.
If you are using library passes, try to plan in advance as far as possible. Because these are amazing, they will check out early.
Consider an Annual Membership
Though it feels super pricey up-front, it’s true that an annual membership will save you major bucks for places you’d like to visit multiple times a year. Personally, I look for memberships to places that I’ll visit throughout the year (or at least the majority of the year). Typically, visiting two-three times pays for the membership in itself. I try to shoot for at least six times a year to feel like I really got my money’s worth.
You can save money on this membership by looking out for their deals. For example, we got a membership to Legoland Philadelphia and Elmwood Zoo for 50% off! How? Black Friday deals 🙂 . Subscribe to the email list for your favorite places and be on the lookout for deals.
Memberships could also have additional perks. For example, a membership to Elmwood Zoo gets you a discount at Legoland Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Zoo, and the Lehigh Valley Zoo.
Look for Special Pricing Days
The Please Touch Museum offers a First Wednesday promotion on the first Wednesday of each month. Admission is only $2 from 4-7pm. Veterans and Active Duty personnel can also get steep discounts.
Crayola Factory sometimes runs free tickets for preschooler days, free birthday admission, and discount days for occupations such as teachers, social workers, and first responders.