Sunday, March 14, 2010

Annual Memberships and Passes Can Save BIG!

I just got my family a membership to the Denver Zoo and to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
We have had one to the zoo before, but I do not renew it every year.

If you enjoy going someplace you have probably already figured out that an annual pass can save you a ton of money. If not, now is the time to look into it!

Things to consider:

*What types of activities does your family enjoy doing over and over again?

*How often are you really going to be able to go?

*What other benefits does the membership get you?

*Is it partially tax deductible?

Here in Colorado there are so many things to do and see it can be hard to narrow it down. You can get memberships for everything from the community center to the Art Museum.

I think it is always wise to only get a couple memberships a year that you will actually use. I also like to rotate-don't get the same memberships year after year unless it is something your family is passionate about.

Sometimes I actually have to do math to figure out if a membership or annual pass will save us money.
For example, we are going to take a trip to Mesa Verde this summer. We are planning to stop at several other National Parks and Monuments during the trip. I have been to the NPS website and looked up the entrance fee for each place we want to stop. I also decided we might do another camping trip at Rocky Mountain National Forest which is also part of the NPS. Even with all those stops it looks like the Annual Pass will NOT save us money.

Another example is the Denver Art Museum. They will be hosting the King Tut exhibit this summer and fall and I really would love to take the family to see it. However, we can go to the museum itself for free the first Saturday of each month (we went once last year). The exhibit would be discounted with a membership, but not enough to make it worth it. It is cheaper for us to just pay to see the exhibit.

For the Denver Zoo, it was a no brainer. It costs so much to take the family to the zoo that it will pay for itself in 2 trips. Plus, members get discounts and free tickets for friends. Our Family Plus membership will also allow me to bring a friend each time I go! This will come in handy in the summer when DH is working. One of my good friends has a membership, too, so we can go together. Oh, they had also mailed me a "special deal" so I only paid $99.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is one I have not done before. We have taken the kids only a couple times, but it is so cool! A membership will get us a discount on IMAX and planetarium tickets as well as other perks. We've never taken the kids to IMAX because of the cost, but we will now! The Family membership I got will come with 3 adult entrance tickets I can use to bring friends. This membership will pay for itself after two trips and one IMAX movie.

One of the best parts about having a membership or annual pass is that you aren't pressured to stay all day to get your money's worth. You can drop in whenever you like for an hour or two or even just to see certain things and then go home. You also are notified of upcoming special events and member only activities.

Here is a great website for things to do in Colorado! Have fun!!!

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