Above: Dallas Perot Science Museum
I know, this sounds too good to be true, but it's not. We learned this golden money-saving nugget from a relative as we stood in line to enter a children's museum together. We met in Utah on vacation to visit family (she's from Seattle and we're from Dallas) and decided to go to the local children's museum. As we stood in line she pulled out an annual family membership from a museum in Tennessee (She's from Seattle, remember). That museum in Tennesse is part of the ASTC (Association of Science Technology Centers), which means an annual family membership to their museum gets you into any ASTC museum for free.
She bought an annual pass to that museum for $60, which is more than half the price to our beloved Perot Museum in Texas or the children's museum we went to in Utah.
Still don't believe me? Check out the ASTC website http://www.astc.org/passport/. You can find a science museum near you and find out how much their annual memberships cost. Then you can do a search in Tennessee and find the one for $60 and buy it online. Plus, these memberships are good for dozens of museums around the world, not just in the United States.
With that said, they do state that there are exclusions and encourage travelers to call ahead to the museum they plan to attend to confirm they will accept the pass. Supposedly you can only use your pass at the museum you purchased it from OR at any participating ASTC museums located at least 90 miles away from the museum you are a member. See below from their FAQ's.
What are the benefits of the Passport Program?
The Passport Program is a travel benefit included in membership at your local participating science center or museum. The benefit includes free general admission at participating science centers and museums outside of your local area (90-mile radius from the science center or museum where you are a member and from your residence). Please contact your local participating science center or museum for more information.
PLUS, DON'T WASTE MONEY AT THE GIFT SHOP!!!
We love taking our kids to our local science museum and to new museums when we take our summer and Christmas vacations. It's always funny to hear the kids yell and point when we go inside the museum gift shops, "Daddy, Mommy, I see the science toys we sell for the business!" It's true, because we sell a lot of the same things you find in almost every science museum... including science kits, DIY crafts, space brick sets and Aeromax astronaut costumes.
Then the youngest kids beg, "Oooh, buy we get that one we sell for the business? Can we...can we... can weeeeee!"
To which I laugh, after seeing the gift shop price markup. "Sorry kids, Daddy can't afford to buy them here. How about you ask Santa for Christmas... Then I whisper to myself, "I know for a fact he can get these for much less than this gift shop is pric gouging customers."
And it's true, we sell these same gift shop items for way less than the gift shops normally charge. So save some money and buy your science kits from www.playfullyeverafter.com. Santa would be proud.