Science World in Vancouver with kids
Travel Tips

Save Money with Museum Reciprocal Memberships

Here’s one way to slice the travel-entertainment budget — join your local science center. Pacific Northwest and B.C. families have three stellar museums in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver to choose from, and even out-of-town visitors can get in on the fun.

If you’re a member of your local science museum — in the U.S. or Canada — check to see whether the museum is part of the ASTC Passport Program.├é┬áPassport Program members receive free reciprocal admission to other ASTC museums.

So if your family’s members of OMSI, you get into the Pacific Science Center for free.

If you’re members of Science World, you get into OMSI for free.

See? You’ll save over $40 USD/CAD for a family of four. If you arrive in Vancouver to grey, dumpy skies, head for Science World’s engaging live shows and hands-on action, just a quick Aquabus ride away from Granville Island. If you get sunburned in Seattle (ha!), head into the Pacific Science Center and cool off among the roaring dinos and fluttering butterflies.

One important thing to remember: Bring your current card and identification. At the reciprocal museum, staff can’t look you up. Even if you beg them. Or bribe them.

Trust me. I know. Bring your card and I.D.

Do you have a favorite museum?

Lora Shinn writes about family travel, Pacific NW travel, grown-up travel...and travel in general. Her travel-related articles and essays have appeared in Family Fun, Parenting, AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, AAA magazines and Redbook, among others.

3 Comments

  • Shannon M

    When I travel I always check ALL my memberships for reciprocity. You’d be surprised at how many museums have extensive partnerships. For example, membership of:

    Museum of Flight gets you into the Canadian Museum of Flight in Langley (just SE of Vancouver BC), the Olympic Flight Museum in Olympia WA, the Pearson Air Museum in Vancouver WA, the Oregon Air & Space Museum in Eugene OR, and the Air & Space Museum in San Diego.

    Woodland Park zoo gets you into the Oregon Zoo in Portland OR and the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson AZ

    Children’s Museum gets you 2-for-1 coupons for 12 kid’s museums in WA (including the ones in Everett and Bellevue) and 7 in OR (including the Children’s Museum in Portland)

    So pull out all those membership cards, go to the web sites, and see who the partners are. You may be surprised and you’ll certainly save money!

  • Diane Frendak

    We at ASTC always recommend calling the Passport venue you wish to visit and confirming your free admission benefits before hitting the road. That way, you’ll know whether the program’s local restrictions (based on residence and science center/museum location) apply to your family. Safe travels!

  • admin

    Absolutely, I agree, Diane. In my experience, all of the Pacific Northwest’s ASTC museum members accept other Pacific Northwest ASTC memberships. But always call to make sure, just in case something has changed.

    Shannon, thanks for your post! I’ll be posting something about the children’s museums soon.