Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thankful Thursdays - 8/29/13 - Reciprocal Programs

We are thankful for Reciprocal Membership Programs. Have you ever heard of them? They are a great benefit that many museums (& zoos) offer to their members. Many varieties of reciprocal benefits abound, so be sure to read the fine print if you're thinking of getting a membership to your local museum. Some give you $3 off admission or free parking at another 'member' institution. Most of the zoo reciprocal memberships give you 50% off of admission at other member zoos. 

Our all-time favorite reciprocal programs include the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) and the American Horticulture Society (AHS). These two gems give you admission for free (or a greatly reduced rate) to other member-sites across the USA. 

The ASTC reciprocal program allows your Family Membership Card from your local museum to grant you free (or almost free) access to over 290 member museums! The only catch, is that the 'other' museum must be at least 90 miles (as the crow flies) from your house. There are even a few International museums on this list. So from Alabama to Wyoming, and Australia to Sweden, you can take your family on a discounted adventure! To see the list you can click here. They update it every September for the next November-October period. 

The AHS reciprocal admissions program (RAP) lets you visit gardens, arboretums, conservatories, and botanical collections at almost 300 locations nationwide. You can visit their website here for all the details. (They also have a 90 mile exclusion.)

The coolest part for us, is that one of our local museums, Minnetrista in Muncie, IN is a member of both the ASTC and the AHS reciprocal programs! So for the price of our annual Family Membership to Minnetrista ($70) we have visited the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA, as well as the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL. We also really enjoy visiting the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.

The girls, inside the submarine, Carnegie Science Center - 2010

So, if you're thinking about taking a trip...especially one more than 90 miles away from home, check into the reciprocal benefits of your local museum or garden. You'll be thankful you did!

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