Thursday, August 26, 2010

Becoming a local tourist, vol. 2: Museums

There are tons of perks to living within proximity to a city. And some of them include reduced entrance fees to museums and zoos in the area on given days. These organizations like to reward the local folk with a tempting offer to visit them. Now, being members of museums and zoos are a good idea if you plan to visit often, which is ideal for families. But if you only venture out to such venues every once in a while, read up on when these places host locals at a discount, or even for free. Often times, this will greatly reduce what you'll spend on admission to special events or exhibits that may be there at the time of your visit.

Consider Milwaukee:
  • The Milwaukee Public Museum hosts a free day to County residents on Mondays. This doesn't include special/visiting exhibits, however, it will off-set the cost of entrance for such things. Normal admission is $12, with special exhibit prices varying.
  • The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (aka The Mitchell Park Domes) gives Milwaukee County residents free admission on Mondays from 9am to Noon. This saves you $6.50.
  • The Milwaukee Art Museum offers free entrance every first Thursday of the month. The normal admission fee is $12.
  • Milwaukee County Zoo offers Family Free days on specific days throughout the year (see their website for details), as well as discounted admission to the zoo for Milwaukee Co. residents all year, with Wednesdays a further reduced $8 admission. Parking is additional, so consider going with a group to off-set the cost.
You can also save money by buying a multi-pass to varying venues depending on the city you live in or are visiting.

For example: In Milwaukee, we have the Charles Allis Art Museum - Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museums - Pabst Mansion Pass for $12. Each of the first two are regularly $5 each, with the Pabst mansion normal admission costing $9 ($10 during the Christmas season), saving you $7.

On a side note, the Charles Allis Art Museum hosts a series of classic movies on certain Wednesday nights, perfect for a night away from the kids or an evening with the girls. It's free with admission to the museum.

The Harley-Davidson Museum offers a "Double Play" that gives you admission to the museum and a terrace seat at a Brewers game for only $16. The museum admission alone is valued at that, so it's like getting in a game for free.

Other affordable adult entrance fees include:

The Haggerty Museum of Art (at Marquette University) - free (donations accepted)
West Allis Historical Society - free (limited hours)
The Grohmann Museum (at Milwaukee School of Engineering) - $5
Mitchell Gallery of Flight (at General Mitchell Int'l Airport) - free, though there is parking fees at the airport.

Check out the many museums in your area by Googling your city, or picking up a visitors' guide. Learn about your area, have some fun, and save money all at the same time!


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