Summer break is all about family bonding! But unfortunately, family fun does come at a cost. One way to cut down expenses on summer vacation is to visit a museum as they are extremely budget friendly, especially for larger families. Plus, museums are a great place for families to spend time together as they are both educational as well as entertaining. Check out the 15 tips listed below to reap further savings on your summer museum trips.
It is no secret that museum admission prices fluctuate. Museum prices typically depend upon the popularity of a museum, the day of the week, as well as the time of day. Thus, it is imperative that you scope out the museum admission prior to embarking on your adventure to ensure that it is reasonably priced.
#15 Research Events
It is fairly common for cities to host 'museum days' or even 'museum months' where local admission to participating museums is free! Some museums go as far as offering regularly scheduled free admission days throughout the year. Popular free admission days include Memorial Day and Labor Day. Check out your local city news online or nearby museum’s website to find out free admission availability.
#14 Dates Matter
Check museum dates as several museums offer free or discounted entry during specific times of the day each week (sometimes during an entire designated day). For example, Florida’s Dali Museum in St. Petersburg invites students, adults, and seniors to come visit for a mere $10 when admission price is typically $24 any other day of the week. 14$ dollars in savings can really add up, especially if you have a family of five. Thus, it is worth checking your museums discount days ahead of time.
#13 Use Coupons
It is fairly common for museums to honor discount coupons for students, museum members, and senior citizens. For instance, Chicago’s Famous Field Museum offers free basic admission to all active military members as well as $1 off admission for all students and seniors. All other attendees should walk through the visitor center prior to admissions to see if the museum is offering any other daily deal or discounts. In addition to museum discounts, visitor centers are known to offer further deals on other noteworthy attractions, landmarks, and restaurants. Download Groupon App to get best best pricing to local museums and attractions. Groupon deals are discounted already, but with the help of 20% Off Groupon Promo Code, your admission fee will be much lower than the regular price at the box office..
#12 Use Books or Free Stuff Sites
Sites like CaliforniFreebies.com offer full list of Museums with Free Admissions. Also I recommend books about Free Activities and Free Admissions in your area. If you hit California, try wonderful book What to Do with Kids in Southern California of Free OC - Guide to Free Activities in California.
#11 City Pass
Larger, metropolitan cities typically offer all-inclusive passes to their most visited sites i.e. landmarks, museums, and iconic restaurants. Oftenly, these city passes will score you serious savings by bundling prices. Atlanta’s City Pass provides entry into five of the regions most popular attractions for a whopping 40% discount. Talk about savings! Plus, the pass is active for nine days which is plenty of time to experience each attraction. Make sure to check out your area’s Citypass to see if you can reap summer vacation savings.
#10 Museum Membership
A membership may be worth it for those who live near a museum that regularly offers different, rotating exhibits. Generally, a museum member gets unlimited access to the museum as well as discounts at the cafe and gift shop. A membership to the Met Museum grants you access to all three museums as well as exclusive access to their private events/exhibits.
#9 Age Limits
While there is never a hard age limit on kids attending museums, keep in mind there may be a few places they can not go. Check out the museums rules before deciding to attend. You do not want to waste precious time, gas, and money heading to a museum that does not welcome all of your children.
#8 Pick Your Museum Wisely
Think of your children when choosing which museum your family will attend. Younger children will do best at an interactive museum meant for their age where the day will be filled with entertainment and fun. Older kids, interested in art or art history, may want to attend an adult museum where they can spend a few hours appreciating the education. Modern museums are also a great place to take your kids as they are jam packed with both interactive exhibits as well as educational displays. Do not waste money taking your kids to a museum they do not like.
Make the most of your visit and plan to attend a museum during a weekday prior to lunch time. Museum crowds tend to gather right after lunch, especially on discounted days and weekends! However, if you arrive at opening on a weekday, your family has a good chance of experiencing all of the most popular exhibits before lunch. Take the pressure off and arrive early!
#6 Avoid Field Trip Days
While field trips are a great way for students to learn outside of the classroom, they can cause serious crowding for other museum guests. All it takes is one call prior to your trip to ensure there will be no field trips or special events taking place the day of your visit.
#5 Plan Lunch
Pack water, snacks, and lunch if you plan on visiting for a couple of hours. Museum food can become rather pricey and you will save major bucks by bringing your own.
#4 Get a Discounted Meal
Remember, if you have a museum membership or are a student, you will most likely get a discount at the museum’s cafe! California’s Petersen Museum in Los Angeles offers a 10% discount on all food with their museum membership.
#3 Eat Outside the Museum
Museums are typically located near metropolitan areas full of delicious restaurants varying in price. If you do a little research before your trip you may be able to find a delectable meal for half the cost outside of the museum. Plus, this is a great way to show your kids more than just a museum during their summer vacation. If you already own a Citypass, make sure to use a restaurant already offered through your discount.
#2 Score at the Souvenir Shop
It is highly likely that your child will ask to take home a souvenir from the gift shop, especially if they enjoyed the museum. While several gift shop prices are off-putting, there are a few affordable toys if you look carefully. Be sure to plan accordingly and budget for one small item from the gift shop. For further savings, ask the visitor center if they have any discount coupons pertaining to the gift shop! Saving even a mere $2 in savings takes a $10 dollar item down to $8. Give your child a dollar limit and stick to it!
#1 Search Outside of the Gift Shop
Unfortunately, souvenir product prices are hiked way up! Oddly enough, most of their items can be found online or in a department store for half of the original asking price. Plan ahead and purchase one of these identical items prior to your visit. Thus, when your child asks to look in the gift shop, you can remind them that you already have a ‘special gift’ waiting for them in the car. This ‘surprise gift’ is a great way to distract them away from the gift shop and out of the museum to head home. In order to really keep the rouse going, purchase a bag from the gift shop to wrap your store-bought gift in. Your child will never know the difference.
Planning summer vacation while adhering to a strict budget can be quite the task. Just remember that your main goal is to keep your children enriched and entertained during this special time. It is important that you take the opportunity to let your kids explore the amazing worlds of art, science, and history through a memorable museum. These trips are truly once in a lifetime and they will not leave you with an empty bank account!