Trek Tip: zoo and museum memberships offer more than meets the eye

Zoo membership cardWe have been members of Potter Park Zoo — the local zoo in our area — for many years now. It’s an annual expense that we sometimes think about not renewing because we just don’t get to the zoo that often.

But then, an opportunity comes along in which we can use that membership, and that’s when we are reminded that zoo and museum memberships are worth more than meets the eye.

Bird in zoo aviary
One of the cool aviaries at the Brevard Zoo in Brevard County, Florida

Our zoo membership at Potter Park provides reciprocal benefits at many other locations in and out of Michigan. Each membership has different perks at different locations, so make sure you check into the reciprocity provided before you sign up for one.

In our case, the zoo membership provides perks ranging from free parking at some zoos, to half-priced tickets, to free entry. We have even been able to use it at zoos larger than our local one, as well as aquariums.

Sometimes the discounts only work on the primary entry fee and not add-ons. But while recently visiting the Brevard Zoo in Florida, they honored the half-price discount for the entry tickets, the bonus dinosaur exhibit, and the zoo train.

dinosaur animatronic
One of the many dinosaurs in the animatronic display at the Brevard Zoo

So the next time you’re visiting a zoo, aquarium or museum and they try to upsell you to an annual membership when paying the entry fee, make sure you give it a second look. Often, you’ll find that membership to one location can be worth significant benefits at places across town and around the nation.

Bonust tip 1: If you have an option of buying a membership at more than one zoo or museum locally, compare the annual fees and the reciprocity list. Sometimes, smaller venues will charge less for memberships but the reciprocal agreements are the same. It may not be worth the effort for some folks, but it never hurts to consider this tactic.

Bonus tip 2: Don’t forget to ask about reciprocal benefits when visiting other locations. We’ve forgotten a couple of times and then kicked ourselves later when we realized it. But when we remember, it’s all smiles!


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