Last summer, I had the brilliant idea of purchasing a Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) Explorer Membership under the auspices of learning about science with my toddler. Truthfully, I got it to beat the heat on a 90+ degree day. Combine the hot weather with the need to get out with my then 3-year-old and his newborn brother. I regret nothing; it has been one of my best ideas.
We purchased the family of 5 plan, and I am the only named person on the card. This means I can take a revolving crew of four others with me when I visit. It doesn’t have to be the same people each time. Grandparents, kid friends, and other family members have enjoyed getting to experience MOSI for free with us. The museum itself is wonderful, especially the Kids in Charge! Children’s Science Center is where we usually spend most of our time when we visit. But the MOSI membership also includes free parking as well as food and gift shop discounts.
Living in the Tampa Bay Area for the past couple of years has alerted me to Swaptember. This is when members of MOSI, the Lowry Park Zoo, and the Florida Aquarium can “swap” membership privileges with the other two sites for free! We make sure to take advantage of visiting all these places when September rolls around. It’s definitely a benefit of membership to any of these three places.
As a mom, I love getting discounts on fun activities. My MOSI membership offers different ones each month. We have experienced Dinosaur World, the Glazer Children’s Museum, Sunken Gardens, and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium at half the regular admission price. The kids had a ton of fun. And I didn’t feel bad leaving after a few hours when they grew tired because I didn’t break the bank to take them. Other local places where you either get a discount or go for free change monthly, and include the Dali Museum, Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Florida Holocaust Museum, Crayola Experience, and Bok Tower Gardens.
But my favorite benefit of our MOSI membership has been taking advantage of its reciprocity. With more than 250 science and nature museums all around the country as we have vacationed this year (courtesy of MOSI’s membership in the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC)). This made our travel budget go further and allowed us to see more things as a family. There were literally too many cool places for us to visit during our travels; we had to pick and choose.
Discovery World in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was everyone’s favorite; we could have spent an entire day there wandering the aquarium, experimenting with wind and physics, and viewing awesome Les Paul guitars. We barely made a dent exploring the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois; our 4-year-old couldn’t learn enough knowledge regarding mass extinctions. We enjoyed revisiting my childhood favorite, the Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville, Florida, where its Dinosaurs in Motion exhibit gave us control over metal dinosaur sculptures. I highly recommend purchasing a MOSI membership for your family; I intend to renew mine once it expires this fall and discover more places to go and have fun while learning about science!