Most zoos, wildlife parks, animal rehab centers and even state parks offer some sort of membership deal. The question is, is the membership worth it?
I’m here to tell you why it is worth it and how to get your money’s worth.
1. You and your family get in for free as many times as you want. This means you can run to the zoo for a couple of hours on a Saturday and not force your tired kids to stick it out the whole day to feel like you are getting your money’s worth. Show up at the zoo, see some monkeys, grab a snow cone and head home.
2. Deep discounts on all educational programs. These programs are far underutilized. Check out your local zoo, I bet they have ten classes that you don’t even know about. There are mommy-and-me animal programs, overnight animal camps, night-time prowl the zoo safaris, birthday parties with live animals, behind-the-scenes tours, speaker’s series with big names like Jack Hannah, Jeff Corwin and Jane Goodall. All of these can be free or majorly discounted for your kids and family. Your kids will remember these experiences for the rest of their lives and will have no idea that it was almost free.
3. On top of the educational classes, you also get invited to special events. Most zoos have a Halloween spectacular or a Christmas light parade. Some have “member mornings” where you can have breakfast while they bring out cuddly animals for you and your children to touch and take pictures with. There also is probably an annual gala with live animals that you will get invited to. These are super fun and they usually bring out the show-stopping animals at these (such as cheetahs!)
4. Get your kids connected to nature. Many zoos now have a“nature swap” program that your kids can participate in. Your kids can scour their yard or the local park for nature items to “swap” at the zoo. They get points for these items which can be added up to “purchase” an even cooler item, such as a huge conch shell or a geode. With your membership, you can return to the zoo anytime your kids find an item without having to shell out any cash.
5. When friends and family come into town and you feel like you need to entertain them, you have a perfect money-saving option right at the zoo. Your family will get in for free and you will get discounts on your friends and families admission. Pack a picnic lunch, pay a minimal amount for guest tickets and enjoy the day.
A zoo membership has done wonderful things for my family and I hope it does the same for yours.