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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Katie and her husband have called North Phoenix home since 2009. Katie is fully embracing boy mom life, as the mother to an energetic 3 year old who is known to introduce himself by saying “Hi, my name is Colton, I have fast shoes.” Katie is also welcoming a brand new baby boy scheduled to make his arrival mid-April 2017. In her spare time you will find Katie searching out the best deals for anything and everything or trying out new apps, software, and products that will increase her efficiency so she has more time to partake in her favorite activities: relaxing with her boys, taking power naps, and learning new skills! As someone who loves school and plans to be a lifelong learner Katie received her Bachelor of Science in Individualized Studies: Business & Marketing Education from Central Washington University in 2008 and then continued her studies at the University of Arizona where she obtained her Master’s in Higher Education with an emphasis in Access & Success in 2010. While working at ITT Technical Institute Katie was able to earn her MBA in 2012. She is an educational professional with almost 10 years experience in Career and Technical Education and Higher Education. She is passionate about assisting individuals in gaining success through access to education and career opportunities.


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