Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Little Travelers

Do your kids like going to children's museums? Mine do. So far we've had the privilege of visiting the Tacoma Children's Museum, the Hands on Children's Museum in Olympia, and the Seattle Children's Museum. They've been begging me for a trip to Bellevue but we haven't gotten to it yet.

Last year, my grandmother generously bought us a membership to our favorite children's museum, the Hands on Children's Museum in Olympia. We took advantage of our membership and enjoyed many visits with it. Our membership just ended. My grandmother, again, generously provided cash for a membership renewal. I've been trying to decide how to best utilize this money. Should we go with the same museum? Or should we go with something new? The other day my answer came in the form of another homeschooling mom cluing me in on a great membership which I am now sharing with you.

The Tacoma Children's Museum has a membership that they call Little Travelers. This particular membership comes with all the benefits of the basic family membership and something so worth the extra $25 you'll be amazed; unlimited visits into participating reciprocal museums. The closest museums participating in this reciprocal program are the Imagine Children's Museum in Everett, KidsQuest Children's Museum in Bellevue, Hands on Children's Museum in Olympia, Tacoma Children's Museum, and Portland Children's Museum. Sadly, Seattle does not participate. I know some of these are a bit further away but if you could pack up a lunch, gas up the car, and take a special day trip knowing that your destination was free (with membership) would you do it once or twice a year? I would. Plus, if you ever travel, there's 150 participating museums all over the US so you may be able to drop by the children's museum there too.

So what does this cost? First, let's look at what this would cost if we were to get a basic family membership covering at least 2 adults and 2 children at each museum and if we went to each one just once with those same 2 adults and 2 children.

Imagine - membership $70, visit $28
Kidsquest - membership $80, visit $28
Hands On - membership $90, visit $31.80
Tacoma - membership $75, visit $24
Portland - membership $80, visit $28

So, to get a membership at each one separately it would cost $395. To visit each museum just once, it would cost $139.80. Now how much do you think this Little Traveler's membership costs? Would you be surprised to hear that you can go to all five of these museums as many times as you want in a year for just $100? Yep, that's right! If you buy your Little Traveler's membership at the Tacoma Children's Museum, it will cost you $100. If you buy the same type of membership from Portland, you'll pay $125. Imagine will ask you for $130. Hands On charges $150. And if you buy it from KidsQuest, you'll pay a full $175.

THE SMALL PRINT: This membership does not get you birthday discounts nor discounts in the museum store at each museum. Only the museum from which you purchased your membership offers the extra frills. Guests are probably not included; Tacoma gives you 8 guest passes to their museum only and the reciprocal museums probably only admit named family members in for free. Each museum has the right to limit the number of people who can get in with the membership so you may need to call ahead and find out how many people your destination museum allows in on the reciprocal membership and possibly pay admission for the extra people in your group.

For complete details and a list of all 150 participating museums, go here.

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Michelle Olsen Sasak said...

If people want to check out the Children's Museum in Tacoma, the first Friday of every month is free from 10am-7pm. They can park at the Tacoma Dome Station parking garage for free, ride the Link Light Rail for free, and go to the museum for free :)

Christine said...

Hi Joann, I think we've met at the Hub a few times, you were pregnant last year right? I wanted to let you and your readers know that if you are a Pierce County Library patron you can check out a playpass for three weeks that gives you four free tickets to the Children's Museum in Tacoma - they also have an Art Pass for the Tacoma Art Museum.

I'm really loving your blog! Great job. :)

Christine DePoister

JoAnn said...

Hi Christine. Yes, we have met. And yes I was pregnant last year. We are doing the HUB this year because the mix of kids doesn't work for us this year. : (

I didn't know the Pierce County library had the play plass. I do know Tacoma Libraries carry it and it is the reason I don't buy a membership at the Tacoma Children's Museum but this Little Travelers membership has the other museums on it and that is worth it. I'd pay that much to renew our Olympia membership and my kids have been wanting to go to Bellevue.

Christine said...

oh, yes - I definitely see the advantage to the little travelers pass if you can make it to the other museums! Sounds like a great deal.

I haven't been to the Hub this year at all since it moved to Wednesdays, that is just such a busy day for us. Jon had a lot of trouble with it last year anyway, I think it was a bit to chaotic for him.

Nice to "see" you! :)

Shadowfur said...

I lOVE the childrens musem!