Filed under: Activities & Attractions, Entertaining Kids at Camp
Money in your pocket and having fun while traveling…
As I sit and reflect on the upcoming spring season, I am wondering what I could tell the readers of Woodall’s this week. Then it dawned on me… Spring means that the campgrounds in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada will be opening soon (May is coming!) and with that many families will be on the road to discovery with camping or rving. I already have had a couple of people that I know telling me on facebook that they have purchased a pop-up trailer…
So how would you save money for your family while traveling this year? Purchasing a trailer is one way to save money as the campgrounds are less expensive than a hotel room for sure (well depending on where you go that is…). Eating at the campground, bringing lunches is another way to save money. But what to do with activities? What will you do if it rains?
I have a solution for you. Check at your local museum if you can get a membership and if the museum is a member of the Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC) and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC). Why?
Because your purchase will save you money in the long run. “How” you might wonder? Let me explain with our experience.
Last year our membership of the Technomuseums in Ottawa,which includes the Canada Agriculture Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and the Canada Science and Technology Museum, was expiring. It was time to renew. So we decided to renew for two years this time as it also brings you a rebate in the end.
But attached to our household membership, we have various benefits.
- unlimited admission to the three museums in town
- unlimited free admission to more than 290 museums and sciences centres across Canada and around the world
- priority Museum admission and advance notice of upcoming events via mailings
- discounts in the gift shops and on some programs
- invitations to members-only events
Have you caught the line that says FREE ADMISSION TO MUSEUMS ACROSS CANADA AND AROUND THE WORLD?
You think it is too good to be true? Let me tell you our experience with this INCREDIBLE deal.
For the past three years, we have traveled in Ontario and in the US. We have used the membership everywhere we went. The openings are incredible just for the US only. We went to the FIELD Museum in Chicago, entered four times last year in Science North located in Sudbury, visited the Science museum in Toronto numerous times, visited the Boston Children Museum twice, went to the Boston Museum of Science, explored the Museum of Science in Fredericton, and discovered the children’s Museum of Hartford in Connecticut. And this is only a few of the places where you can go in for free.
Mind you the only place where we had to pay for one child was at the Boston Museum of Science. For whatever reason, our family was too big for the deal and we had to pay for one of our kids (and it was the oldest…). But generally speaking, each of the other places, we went for free.
Now, if you go to the website of each of these museums, you can go check out the prices attached for a family of 6 (2 adults and 4 kids ages 3, 5, 7, and 9). Come on; I dare you to check out how much our little family has saved in the past three years!
Personally I find it incredible that we are able to go in for free and discover another museum somewhere else. Just for this specific advantage, renewing our membership at the local museum is worth the expense.
The same idea goes with a zoo or an aquarium. Last year, we decided to buy a two year membership at the Toronto Zoo. We are planning to take advantage of this for the two years coming. But at the same time, such a membership will give you rebates at other zoos or aquariums in Canada and the US. So if you plan to travel more, consider the possibility of buying a longer membership as the yearly amount is reduced.
I would also suggest that previous to the trip, you would keep an eye on a Groupon close to your destination. It is easy to follow Groupon for your own city or other places as well. Simply select the ones you want to receive in your emails. You would be surprise to discover the deals you can have just by following them. With a site similar to Groupon for our own city, we were able to get a year membership for the family at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum for a low price!
Another fun thing to do with younger kids is to explore a park or a botanical garden. Bring a lunch. Enjoy the nature. Talk together.
Since we started traveling in the US, we have discovered that it is possible to visit factories and discover how things are made. One of the websites I rely on is Factory Tours USA which will give you the information you need to plan some interesting visits for your family. If you prefer having a book, here is an interesting one titled Watch It Made in the U.S.A. . We personally own this one and make sure that it is included in our luggage when we leave. It contains fun tours for the whole family. Before visiting a factory, make sure that there aren’t restrictions to the visit. Some places have specific age limits. So be aware that your little ones might not be allowed in some of the factories.
One of the fun places we visited in the past was the Martins Guitar factory in Nazareth, PA. We learned how a Martins guitar was made from A to Z going through their factory. We find visiting factories are very instructive especially when it allows you to witness the creation of an item that you have in your house (FYI; we do not own a Martins guitar…).
There are many ways to entertain the kids while traveling and rving. Museums, zoos, aquariums and factories are just some examples.
What do you do with your family while traveling together? Let me know I would love to hear your ideas…
Thanks to Dan for the picture of the money in the pocket.