As the holidays approach and you search for that perfect family gift, one option to consider might be a membership to a science or children’s museum. Museums offer fun and adventure for the whole family while fostering great learning experiences. With a museum membership, you can visit as many times as you like. Here are some of the perks of museum memberships and some of our local favorites that make a nice holiday gift for that special child on your list:
Your Passport to Adventures around the World
Many museums in our area are members of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) and/or the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM). What’s great about these affiliations is that once you become a member you’ll receive free or discounted admission to hundreds of museums across the country and in some cases all over the world.
365 Days of Fun Starting as Low as $65
Some family memberships, like the Discovery Museum and Planetarium in Bridgeport, CT start at $65 and a few museums offer dual affiliations with both organizations like the Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, CT and Brooklyn Children’s Museum in New York. ASTC museums generally cater to older children, about 8 years old and up, and offer exhibits focused on science, technology, space exploration and the environment. ACM museums are generally for younger children, toddlers to 10 years of age, and offer many hands-on activities that allow children to explore the world around them.
Always Something New and Interesting
My parents have been thoughtful enough to purchase a membership for me and their grandchildren for the past several years and we’ve had the opportunity to visit museums across the country. We’re officially members of The Fernbank in Atlanta, GA (close to my parents’ house) which is a great natural history museum with a fantastic collection of dinosaurs. That museum is part of the ASTC and we’ve used that membership to visit museums from coast to coast. We make sure we visit every summer we spend with the grandparents, and according to my mom, “There’s always something new and interesting at The Fernbank”.
Our Local Favorites from Boston to New York
From great IMAX movies, exhibits on the environment, space exploration, anthropology, and of course our favorite -- dinosaurs, we’ve had great adventures and learned a ton about our world, and the universe beyond. Here are some of our favorite museums from Boston to New York:
- The Museum of Science in Boston, MA
- The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, CT
- The Children’s Museum in West Hartford, CT
- The Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, CT
- The New York Hall of Science in Queens, NY
- The New York State Museum in Albany, NY
- The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ
We’ve used our membership for many free activities across the country while traveling. A couple of years ago I took the kids to Southern California for spring break and in between Disney, Six Flags, and Universal, we enjoyed a free afternoon at the famed LaBrea Tarpits in Los Angeles, courtesy of our ASTC membership. So far we’ve used our membership to visit museums in 10 states. Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, an aunt or uncle, a museum membership is a great affordable gift the whole family can share. A year full of learning and adventure is just a membership away! What are some of your favorite museums?