The Valley is brimming with kid-friendly exhibits and attractions!
There are so many great places to visit again and again, why not consider a membership? Memberships pay for themselves after just a few visits, even if you only go when school is out. You can actually save money since you can visit the attraction as many times as you want for an entire year at one price! Many memberships include special member perks like early admission, members-only events, guest passes, and attraction access in other states if you’re away on vacation. They also make great gifts for the mom or dad who is looking for kid-friendly activities!
In addition to well-known attractions like the Phoenix Zoo and the Children’s Museum, there are many spots that families love to visit several times a year that offer memberships to help you save a buck or two! Here’s the inside scoop on a few you may not know about…
Located next to Butterfly Wonderland, the OdySea Aquarium recently opened. It is the largest aquarium in the Southwest with over 2 million gallons of water housing marine exhibits including sharks, penguins, elements from the Great Barrier Reef, and a deep sea diving experience. Membership includes unlimited visits to OdySea Aquarium for an entire year, you get to skip the line at the ticket window. Plus invitations to special events throughout the year, discounts on Animal Encounters & Tours and a 10% discount at the café and gift shop. www.odyseaaqu
98,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits for junior scientists to experience, plus an IMAX and planetarium, means that no visit to the Arizona Science Center is ever the same! A membership gets you free year-long admission (regularly $13-$18 per visit), discounted tickets to featured exhibits, Imax, and others, early weekend admission, discounts at the gift shop and café, and more. Visit www.azscience.org for a complete list of member benefits and pricing.
BONUS! The Arizona Science Center offers a 3-month summer membership at a substantial discount (sometimes less than $50!). Be sure to check Groupon or Living Social starting in May to look for the deal. A great way to keep the kids busy during summer break for le$$!
From the butterfly emergence gallery where you can actually see a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis, to the largest butterfly pavilion in the U.S. where you wander among thousands of butterflies from around the world, Butterfly Wonderland is a magical experience. If you think you’re just going to look at butterflies, think again. The facility also features exhibits of desert insects, honey bees, and Amazon fish, along with special events and activities for kids. In addition to free admission (regularly $12.95-$19.95 per visit), members receive discounts on birthday parties and at the gift shop and café. More member benefits are listed at www.butterflywonderland.com.
Located next to Butterfly Wonderland, the OdySea Aquarium opened last summer. It is the largest aquarium in the Southwest with over 2 million gallons of water housing marine exhibits including sharks, penguins, elements from the Great Barrier Reef, and a deep sea diving experience. Membership includes unlimited visits to OdySea Aquarium for an entire year, you get to skip the line at the ticket window. Plus invitations to special events throughout the year, discounts on Animal Encounters & Tours and a 10% discount at the café and gift shop. www.odyseaaquarium.com
LEGOLAND® Discovery Center
Every kid’s dream- a place dedicated just to Legos! This newly-opened attraction happens to be right across from the Sealife Aquarium and is jam-packed with rides and activities for mini LEGO® fans. Members get in for free (regular admission starts at $22) to enjoy LEGOLAND® Discovery Center’s LEGO® factory tour, 4D cinema, Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, MINILAND® (popular Arizona buildings made entirely of Legos!), LEGO® Racers build and test station, and more. Members also receive discounts at the café and gift shop. www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/arizona
Experience the ocean right here in the desert! Budding marine biologists will love Sealife Aquarium’s colorful sea life exhibits, interactive touch pools, and 360 degree tunnel that offers a close-up view of ocean life. Daily ticket prices range from $10.50-$18, but members are always admitted free and enjoy a discount at the gift shop, special events, and more. www.visitsealife.com/arizona
BONUS! Get a dual membership to BOTH the Sealife Aquarium and the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center to create an entire day of fun! More information is available on the Sealife Aquarium and LEGOLAND® Discovery Center websites.
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
What local kiddo doesn’t love the “choo choo park”? Your train enthusiast can ride the train and the carousel as many times as he/she wants with a One Year Pass. This is also great for anyone riding with a child under 3 who is always asking to board the train “one more time”. Additionally, members receive free admission to the Scottsdale Railroad Museum and, the best perk of all (in my opinion), access to the annual holiday lights experience FREE the day before it opens to the public. This saved my family A TON of wait time last year and we got to enjoy the displays without a huge crowd. www.therailroadpark.com.
What other memberships or annual passes do you and your family enjoy?