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Free Family Fun – Use Your Membership on Vacation. Indianapolis Children's Museum SculptureWhen making family vacation plans and looking for ways to cut corners one obvious way to save money on attraction admissions may already be in your wallet. Make your museum membership card work for you on vacation.  

Here's the scoop.
If your family belongs to a children’s museum, science museum, art museum, the zoo or the YMCA, check your membership guide for reciprocal admission privileges at similar facilities nationwide.

Reciprocal membership privileges are a great way to see new museums for free or enjoy exercising while on vacation.

Free children’s places.
 A children's museum membership that includes Association of Children's Museums (ACM) reciprocal privileges means that the privileges extend to children's museums within the ACM Reciprocal Network of more than 165 children's museums in the USA and Canada. Present your museum membership card with an ACM sticker on the back (issued by your own museum) at any of the participating museums and enjoy the fun. Need to know: The number of members allowed complimentary entry at a museum you visit may be different than your home museum's membership policy. Most program participants allow four family members with admission.Fort Worth Museum of Science Dinosaur

Free science fun. For example if you are a member of a museum that is affiliated with the Association of Science – Technology Centers (ASTC) admission is free at spots nationwide. For example: Fort Worth Museum of Science and History members can visit museums that are members of ASTC and receive free admission through the ASTC reciprocal program. For a list of ASTC museums and details, refer to the ASTC Passport Program List. Bonus Points: Members at the $100 level and higher also receive free admission to more than 130 Children's Museums across the country through the Association of Children's Museums reciprocal programs. Need to know: Always contact other museums before visiting to verify free admission policies and museum hours of operation. Fort Worth Zoo Giraffes in Spring

Free animal encounters. Pack your membership card. Members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums are a network of more than 8,000 committed zoo and aquarium professionals and organizations worldwide. Membership in AZA provides a monthly magazine Connect, as well as free and discounted admission for two adults and two children to AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and sometimes parking or gift shop discounts. For example if you are a member of the Dallas Zoo your family pass also works at The Houston Zoo, Brevard Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo and more than 100 other locations throughout the USA.  

Vacation with the YMCA. Did you know that the YMCA AWAY Program allows member access to more than 2,000 YMCAs across the USA – take your card with you. From climbing walls and tennis courts to swimming pools and family yoga classes doing your “Y” thing is easy even on vacation.  Rates and rules vary by location so it is best to log on the specifics for before you go. There’s a terrific YMCA hostel in New York City just steps from Lincoln Center; YMCA of the Rockies offers awesome summer camps for families; the Y in St. Augustine, Florida offers energizing yoga practice for all ages. Need to know: Check with your home base YMCA to verify your family membership benefits or log on to www.YMCA.com and search on your own.

Content researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. First image courtesy Indianapolis Children's Museum and balance from Family Travel files archives. Updated copyright 2015.

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