Membership Has Its Privileges
Season passes are often the best deal for summer attractions
If you’ve got kids, you’re probably looking for something fun to do with them when school lets out in a few weeks (and it doesn’t hurt to have something that motivates them to do their chores!). Maybe you’re thinking about a trip to a theme park or museum.
Believe it or not, family and annual memberships or season passes sometimes make more financial sense than purchasing individual tickets. In some cases, a pass – which sometimes lasts for the summer or for an entire year - only costs a few dollars more than a one-day ticket. At other locations, a membership will pay for itself in two or three visits.
Here’s the scoop on some great local attractions and their membership or season pass programs:
Philadelphia Zoo members get free unlimited admission to the Zoo, which is open year-round, as well as free parking and free admission to Treehouse and Lorikeet Encounter. Members also receive discount admission to another 100-plus zoos across the country, and discounts on birthday parties, workshops and ZooShop purchases. Individual adult memberships are $65 (with free admission for one guest with each visit). Family memberships for two adults and children in the household under 18 are $105. Compare that to a single visit for a family of four, which costs $78! Deluxe memberships with extra amenities are available for additional fees.
Six Flags Great Adventure season passes give you unlimited visits all season (through Sept. 16), free admission to Fright Fest in the fall, free or discounted admission for friends, in-park discounts, free admission to other Six Flags parks, and special ride privileges, all for less than the cost of two visits. Get a one-park Summer Thrill Pass (good for Great Adventure) for $61.99; a two-park Season Pass (good for admission to Great Adventure and Wild Safari) for $69.99; or a three-park Season Pass (good for admission to Great Adventure, Wild Safari and Hurricane Harbor) for $79.99. Save an extra 5 percent when you pay with a Discover card.
Dorney Park offers season passes through May 28. You’ll get free season-long parking (a savings of $15 per visit), unlimited admission to Dorney Park, Planet Snoopy and Wildwater Kingdom, admission to the Halloween Haunt and Boo!Blast, Bring-a-Friend Days, merchandise and food discounts, early park access and ride perks. Season passes are $104.99 for adults, or $69.99 for juniors/seniors (anyone over 3 AND under 48 inches tall, or over 62. Platinum season passes are also available.
Sesame Place season passholders get unlimited admission to Sesame Place, 30 percent off in-park food and merchandise, exclusive Pass Member events. Season passes range from $94.99 to $209.99, with more expensive membership offering additional amenities and events access.
The Franklin Institute member benefits include unlimited admission to the Science Museum, Fels Planetarium and SkyBike, exclusive discounts to Tuttleman IMAX and Franklin 3D Theater films, ticketed traveling exhibitions, Sci-Store and restaurant purchases and Discovery Camp, Camp-In, birthday parties and workshops. You’ll also get reciprocal admission to more than 250 Association of Science Technology Centers Science Museums. An individual adult membership is $50. A Family Membership is is $120 for two adults and four children. Premier Membership is $240 for a family of two adults, four children and two guests. You’ll also get four single-visit parking garage vouchers and 12 theater passes. Through May 23, mention code M12MEM20 to get 20 percent off any level membership.
Water World’s early-bird discount for season passes are over for 2012, but you still get a family membership for unlimited pool admission without slides for $500 until June 1, or $260 until July 15. A single membership without slides is $230 until June 1, or $140 until July 14. Memberships with water slides are additional. Book for next year by Sept. 1 and pay only $400 for a family or $180 for a single (without slides). Family season ticket holders also get 10 guest admission passes.