One day admission to attractions like the Metro Richmond Zoo, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and the Children’s Museum of Richmond add up after multiple visits. To save on ticket prices for local family fun, consider memberships. Often, memberships make admission prices affordable if you plan to visit several times in a calendar year. Further, some RVA attractions offer reciprocal memberships to other locations in Virginia and beyond, which makes purchasing a membership sensible for families who travel often. Memberships are also a great option as an intangible holiday or birthday present for children or families. Below, RVA on the Cheap breaks down the numbers to share local memberships that are worth the investment.
Children’s Museum of Richmond: (2626 West Broad St., Richmond, VA, 23220) offers four types of memberships: Patron, Grandparent, Family and Family Plus. Because CMoR has two locations, one in Richmond and one in Chesterfield, right away, families have the benefit of access to two separate facilitates with unique exhibits in each. Each type of membership includes a discount at the gift shop and discounts on birthday parties. Without a membership, admission is $9.00 (free for children under 1 year old), so if one parent and two children visit CMoR the cost is $27.00. If those three intend to visit the museum more than 5 times in a calendar year, the Family membership will be the most economical and over time there will be substantial savings. Another reason to invest in this membership: the ACM Reciprocal Network, which is included in all memberships at CMoR. By purchasing the membership at CMoR, your family will have access to hundreds of other Children’s Museums, including a few in Virginia.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden: (1800 Lakeside Ave., Richmond, VA, 23228) has several levels of membership, including one with a large discount for students at only $25. Each membership offers discounts at the Garden Shop, savings on camps and classes and admission to Member Nights during the popular Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights. With current daily admission $14 for adults and $8 for children ages 3-12, a family of four will pay $44 for one visit. If that family plans to frequent the garden more than twice in a year, the family membership will maximize savings. Further the value by signing kids up for Lewis Ginter Summer Camps, taking advantage of the member discount. An additional benefit to the membership is access to the other gardens participating in the American Horticulture Society; there are 11 participating gardens in Virginia.
Maymont (1000 Westover Blvd., Richmond, VA, 23220) offers a variety of membership options, including discounts for seniors, teachers, students; as well as savings for 2 year membership plans. A family of four with two adults and two children would spend $28 on tickets to the Nature Center. The family membership is $60, so the family will save if they return to the Nature Center three times during the year. Benefits of the Maymont membership include: discount on birthday party packages, and a 10% discount on merchandise at the Nature Center.
Metro Richmond Zoo (8300 Beaver Bridge Rd., Moseley, VA, 23120) has three levels of membership, depending on age, extras (carousel rides, animal food, train ride). Daily admission to the zoo would cost a family of four with two adults and two children (older than 1 year) $67; thus, the Silver membership would be the economical option if that family wants to visit the zoo more than twice in a calendar year. As you check membership options at the zoo, be mindful of the add-ons: with unlimited train, skylift and carousel rides, the Gold Membership will be best for families who enjoy these extras.
Science Museum of Virginia (2500 West Broad St., Richmond, VA, 23220) offers three types of memberships, each with a 10% discount for military, Virginia state employees and educators. Science enthusiasts will love the “infinite” option, a membership that will not expire for an additional $50. The Science Museum of Virginia membership provides substantial savings. Check out the math: a family of four with two adults and two school aged children would cost $58, not including Dome theater passes. With the Supernova membership, which costs $150 annually, the family will save if they visit the museum more than twice in a year. Further optimizing savings, the membership includes four dome theater passes and four exhibit guest passes, extras not included in daily admission. Members at each level have the benefit of free admission to participating Association of Science and Technology Centers, including the Virginia Living Museum in Norfolk and Nauticus in Newport News.
When making plans for family fun, don’t let the price of daily admission be a deterrent. Purchase memberships to venues where your family will want to revisit to optimize fun and savings. Memberships are also an excellent avenue to minimize clutter and maximize experiences. Consider requesting memberships in lieu of toys for birthdays and holidays.
— By Lindsay Garrison
Richmond on the Cheap contributor Lindsay Garrison is a Richmond, Virginia based mom to two young children. A graduate from Chesterfield Schools and Randolph-Macon College, Lindsay is proud to call Richmond home. In the years prior to planning activities and outings with her own children, she was a French teacher. During her tenure she earned accolades for her creative teaching style and ability to connect with her students. Lindsay now applies the skills she learned when she was planning student trips to France, to her own family adventures. She can’t wait to take her own children to France one day! Follow the Garrison’s family adventures on Instagram: @thegarrisonsrva
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