is a fabulously easy and, apparently, inexpensive way to get oneself through the doors of many museums and science centers throughout the country without paying (an additional) dime. We first visited the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in November of 2008 at the recommendation of a friend.
It is not only a museum, but also an animal hospital for injured and orphaned animals, as well as a permanent home for animals that are then considered "non-releasable". We were impressed and decided to join, figuring we would be frequent visitors. We didn't go as often as we would have liked, but as mentioned in the above post, there are benefits to be reaped not only there, but at the Oakland Zoo and many other not-so-local science centers.
In trying to 'do it all', we never actually made it back (at all) until this past Sunday. It was the beginning of Week 4 sans Pete (NOT that I am complaining...) and we needed something different to do. It has been pouring rain the past week, and I just couldn't channel my inner Icelander. We are always receiving emails about the Museum, and realized a lot could have changed in the past year. We decided it would make for a fun and relaxing Sunday afternoon (did I mention no school AGAIN today?), and twenty minutes later I was debating a new membership.
Why? Why would we join a museum for only 6 months (oh, wait, 5 months). Perhaps because after adding it up, I realized that by joining Lindsay in the fall of 2008 for the small price of $55 (for a family membership), we ended up saving almost $130 over the course of the following year. How? We visited the Oakland Zoo three times, the Maryland Science Center, the Springfield Science Museum, and, of course, the Wildlife center. Admission to every place (with exception of the initial fee for Lindsay) was free with our card.
The Wildlife Museum and the other science centers are members of the Association of Science-Technology Centers. With a membership to one of the affiliated centers, you have a passport of sorts. You will not want to leave home without it, as even many international science centers are members. This can add up to quite a bit of savings when traveling. You won't get free parking, and forget about the discount at the gift shop (which isn't really the point of the visit). However, the savings on the entrance fees alone is generally enough to warrant a membership somewhere near home.
I won't do a play by play of the day (or the website), but the kids had a great time. We found a room we missed the last time (the Discovery Center) geared towards the younger set, complete with live walking sticks and enjoyed by all. Nicholas was thrilled to pet a rabbit, and the kids entered the naming contest for the new ground squirrel. Nicholas finished writing his entry, crumpled it up, announced it was trash (he meant recycling, but can't enunciate that just yet), and promptly tried to stuff it in the collection box. I am sure the folks will appreciate his rather abstract entry, if they are fluent in toddler scribble.
If in the area, I think it is well worth it to stop in. In addition to the indoor activities, there is a playground attached for further energy release. They also host birthday parties, offer camps in the summer, and special fun mornings for the preschool set during the school year.
After finishing up and catching a quick late lunch/early dinner in Walnut Creek, we headed home to finish up a project we had started the night before. Sort of a surprise of sorts for a special someone, so will just show a few pics and hopefully not completely ruin the treat (if you will). Hmm, what could it be?