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. All we'll need to pay for is the gas money to drive there. Now we can take advantage of the special programs that they have too, since we don't have to worry about the expense of admission and parking. It truly is a gift that will keep on giving all year!
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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 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...
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.