Family Fun Guide: Easy ways to save at local museums & theaters
Here’s some good news in tough times: You don’t have to forfeit a fun outing with the family because of cost. With a little planning, you can go easy on your wallet during your next excursion. We’ve compiled family discounts offered at local museums and theaters, plus advice on how to save on admission. Click the link below to find a money-saving deal at an attraction near you.
Everyday Ways to Save
Even if an attraction doesn’t offer a special cost cutter, you can find ways to save on any day. Consider these tips.
• Go with grandparents. Make a museum trip an outing for grandparents and the kids. Often, admission is at least $1-$2 off for seniors. Check the website or call to find out if a senior discount is offered, for which ages and how much.
• Bring the baby. Several attractions are free for ages 3 or younger, sometimes even 4- or 5-year-olds. Plus, you’ll save money on a sitter. Before you visit, ask if strollers are permitted and make sure that the attraction is baby-friendly.
• Carry student IDs. If your kid is too old to get the child admission rate, he might qualify for a student discount, available at several museums and theaters, such as Winterthur Museum & Garden in Delaware ($2 off admission) and Painted Bride Arts Center in Phila. (25% off tickets).
• Consider a membership. Even if your family only visits a site seasonally or twice a year, you can often take advantage of a discount. For example, at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, a single visit for a family of 5 is $60. A one-year family membership is $105 — so the membership pays for itself after two visits within a year. An added bonus: With a membership, you typically receive other perks, like free guest passes and invitations to members-only events.
• Visit during special events. Get more bang for your buck and plan a visit when there are free family activities scheduled, such as Saturday afternoon history programs, crafts and music at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, or during preschooler storytimes at the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford on Thursday mornings starting in February. Look for events that say “Free with admission” in our Never a Dull Moment calendar. You can also find totally FREE events in the calendar.
• Make it a group outing. Gather the extended family or friends for a museum trip or show. Sometimes, a group as low as 10 people can qualify for a discounted rate, like at the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Kimmel Center in Phila., and at the Appel Farm Arts & Music Center in Elmer. Just remember to make a reservation.
• Look for deals online. Check attraction websites for special offers. The Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill, NJ has a page of coupons you can download and print at home and the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD has a Discounts & Promotions page on its website. Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ offers a Family Value Package available for online purchase only. The Value Package features tickets and meal vouchers for a family of 4 at more than 10% off.
Stephanie Halinski is calendar editor of MetroKids.