I am a membership mom. Here’s why you should be one too.
If you are anything like me, you are always looking for exciting and educational things to do with your kids. I started off taking my daughter to places like the Texas State Aquarium, The Botanical Gardens of South Texas, and the U.S.S. Lexington. Occasionally, we’d take tiny road trips to the DoSeum in San Antonio, or the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville. I mistakenly always paid for individual tickets. Eventually, I did the math; one or two trips for most places pays for a whole year’s membership. We now have, or have had memberships at just about every activity in the Coastal Bend (and then some.) The current membership favorites in my household are The Texas State Aquarium, Texas State Parks, and the Gladys Porter Zoo. Of course, we also have a Sam’s Club membership, because… what is more glorious than brownie brittle in BULK!?
There are a few things I look for when I purchase our memberships.
- COST: The first and most important thing I look for is cost. Is this membership worth it? How many trips do we need to make to make this expenditure worth it.
- FUN: Is this a place that my daughter (and I) will enjoy coming back to over and over again?
- PERKS: If I buy a membership here do I get a discount in their gift shop? How about their food?
- GUESTS: Do I get any guest passes or guest discounts?
- RECIPROCITY: Do I get discounts at other locations, or similar activities with this membership.
For my adventurous family, the most amazing part of our aquarium and the zoo memberships is that they participate in the AZA Reciprocal Admissions Program (https://www.aza.org/reciprocity.) Essentially I can take those membership cards with me to zoos in other states or cities and get free or discounted admission. We have used our reciprocity as far away as Oklahoma. Our state parks pass gets us into any state park in Texas. We have used it at the Goliad State Park, Choke Canyon State Park, Lake Corpus Christi and Goose Island.
The membership craze is almost an addiction to me. I am always going over these five things in my head for everything we do. I typically budget a certain amount of money for our memberships so I don’t go nuts buying memberships everywhere.