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I have a tip for all of us thrifty parents, whether by choice or because it's necessary! My son's third birthday is this week, and to be honest, he doesn't need a lot of new toys! We're on a limited budget, but there's a great children's museum in Milwaukee that my son just loves. It would cost about $20 for us with admission and parking costs. This doesn't include the cost of the gas to get there though (it's about a 30 minute drive for us). So it can get a little expensive!
What I did was ask my parents and sister if they'd like to go in together on getting my son a membership for his birthday instead of a toy. He's young, so he won't notice that he didn't get a material gift, and the children's museum is educational to boot! They bought the membership ahead of time, so on my son's birthday, we're going to celebrate by playing at the children's museum.
I have always enjoyed using the passes our local library offers for the Museum of Science, Children's Museum, Museum of Art, and Botanical Gardens. This is a great way to educate your kids during the summer months that is fun and inexpensive.
I also found you can use local library passes while on vacation. You need to get a library card from your vacation destination's library. Then you can use their local library passes to museums and attractions using them to get in for much less or free.
On a rainy day, you can check out DVD's or VHS movies from the library depending on what you have available to watch them on. Pop some popcorn and have fun this summer!
By Mother Goose from Royalston, MA
I have been trying to come up with a spare $100 to renew my membership to the San Diego Zoological Society but never seem to have the spare cash. The last renewal solicitation I received spurred me to take action. I pinned the envelope on my bulletin board (beside the desk) and any money coming in from refunds, part of the extra money I earn babysitting , and other little bits will go into the envelope. I don't think it will take too long this way.
When we signed up for a family membership at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, it seemed like a lot of money, about $120 for free admission and some other perks. Looking back over the last 12 months, we have really gotten our money's worth from it.
If you bank or have a credit card with Bank of America, every first full weekend of every month you can take advantage of complimentary/free general admission to select museums, gardens, aquariums in the United States.
Visit the link below to find out which museum nationwide near you is part of the Smithsonian Museum Day and has free admission!
Think about joining a science museum nearby. We joined the one in Jacksonville where the membership rates are very reasonable when we went for a visit. We've been able to visit all of the science centers on the reciprocity list all over the country.