How to Visit over 350 Museums for Free

One of the main parts of planning a trip when you’re travelling with kids is to find family-friendly activities.

Some of the best options I’ve found are museums where kids, youth, and adults can have fun and explore a variety of hands-on exhibits.

The only problem is that some places like that can tend to be pretty pricey, and with a family of even moderate size, that can add up, especially if you’re running on a tighter budget.

For example, last weekend my family visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

The cost per adult is $21.95 and for kids between ages three and eleven, it’s $12.95.

So for a family of four, that would usually cost nearly $70.00 for a single trip (depending on the age of your kids).

However, my family went there without having to drop a single dime on admission.

How’d we do it?

Well, let me tell you a little secret called the ASTC Travel Passport Program.

Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh

The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) has over 350 participating museums—in the United States and 14 other countries around the world—and if you have a membership to any one of them, you get into all of them without having to pay general admission.

Okay, okay—yes, you do have to pay the initial membership fee for whichever ASTC museum you decide to join, so that part isn’t free. But in most cases, that fee quickly pays for itself, making it totally worth it.

Terre Haute Children’s Museum

For example, our membership at our local museum only costs us $75/year (some memberships at other museums might cost more), so between how often we go there and all the other museums we’ve gone to, it has absolutely paid for itself and been totally worth it.

You can find a list of the participating museums at the ASTC website to locate which museum is closest to you, and to find out if there are any in your next family vacation destination.

Note: I am not officially affiliated with ASTC or any of its participants and do not get any kind of commission if you choose to purchase a membership at any of the locations listed.

So do I really care if you purchase a membership or not? Nope! Not one bit. But am I just a nice human being who likes to share awesome resources with others who want to travel with kids because this is an amazing opportunity you’d be a fool to pass up? Well, I’ll let you decide. 😉