Friday, June 15, 2012

Memberships to kid places make life worth living

It is about a thousand degrees outside, your kids are climbing the walls with nowhere to expend their energies, and you all have cabin fever because you haven't been outside in about a month. You are wishing you lived somewhere with a normal climate so you could just send those bratty kids outside to play. At a time like this I have a solution: I whip out a membership card and drag the kiddos off for a few hours of splashing-wet or air-conditioned fun.

The first membership I have is for the Children's Museum of Phoenix. That membership wasn't cheap. But if you consider that the cost of taking your kids there is $11 per person over the age of one (one? really? That is a bit much Children's Museum!), it starts to sound cheaper. So you're talking $33 for me and the two kiddos. If we go to the museum 5 times in a whole year, the 3-person membership ($160) pays for itself. And we go to the museum way more than 5 times in just the summertime alone. Because we have the membership, the museum is like a park or second backyard, but one that's cool all year round. My kids can run and climb and get their wiggles out. Sometimes we go three times a week! Now, I'm a fan of the museum on facebook, so I got my membership during a one-day discount they advertised only there--I only paid $140. Whew! Still a lot! But that's a big tip. If you are thinking of buying a membership somewhere, like them on facebook or visit their facebook page often, and/or sign up for their email list. With the membership I also get two FREE passes and I can get my husband a member card without paying extra, though we can't go at the same time with the kiddos. But it allows him to take them if I'm busy.

We also have a zoo membership, which I didn't buy for the longest time because I thought, "It is just way too hot, too much of the year!" However, I got really tired of fighting off other moms for a Culture Pass when my kids were in a zoo mood. Now I'm really glad we got it. The zoo's neato Yakulla Caverns splash pad is a big hit with the little ones. And it is not torture for me either--they have benches and shade covers, and it stays cool right by the water. And after we get cooled off we go and watch the orangutans from the comfort of their air-conditioned building. So that membership is worth it even in the summer. And in the cool months we go all over the zoo--it's a great outing and good exercise. Unfortunately, the membership only covers me. My husband can't take the card and go with the kiddos. So that's kind of a drag, but he hardly ever goes anyway. He can join us a couple times a year with the two FREE passes that are included. Our membership was $65 for adult and one kid (under 3 are free), but they just raised the price to $75. I loved this membership at $65 but it is still great at $75!

I've also got a McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park membership. I don't know if that one is such a great deal for most people, but with my train-freak kid we end up at that place enough for it to be worth the money. It was $100 for a two person membership (the little one is free until 3). So any grown up in our family can ride the rides or go in the museum with the two kiddos.

Anyway, having memberships means we can go for just a few hours. I don't have to chase the kids around the place for the whole day, just so we can get our money's worth. And the kids learn stuff, especially since they have the chance to experience it again and again. So that's why I say the memberships are so worth it!