Are you wondering how to make the most of your child’s summer vacation? Have you figured out how much is costs to visit all of the different, great museums we have here in Fairfield County? I have three (sometimes four, I have a lovely step-daughter) children and the costs can really add up.
Many of you may already know about the Park and Museum Passes. The Park and Museum Passes, for those who aren’t familiar, are purchased by many libraries and checked out by local patrons (almost always limited to town residents only). The passes can be checked out for a varying number of days so check how long your library allows the passes to stay out. Also ask about the fees for returning it late because it is likely to differ from other overdue charges. Some libraries may even allow you to reserve the pass in advance.
The Parks and Museum Passes allow you to enjoy discounts on some great locations or even enjoy them completely free of charge. Each library has their own lists of available passes. The passes are usually purchased by friends of the library though many libraries have passes built into their budget.
If you have a larger family (more than two children), like me, many of the free admissions include up to 6–two adults and four children. Others admit two adults and all of their own children. So check what each passes offers.
Here are some of the free passes that are at libraries here in Fairfield County:
- The Beardsley Zoo, Bridgeport
- The Discovery Museum and Planetarium (new play area for babies all the way through pre-schoolers), Bridgeport
- The Imagine Nation Museum, Bristol
- The Wadsworth Antheneum (not appropriate for kids who don’t know to keep their hand to themselves or who aren’t patient–ask me how I know), Hartford
- The American Museum of Natural History, New York City
- Connecticut’s Old State House, Hartford
- The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield
- Free entrance into state parks and forests, all over Connecticut
- The Barnum Museum (when it reopens!), Bridgeport
- The Children’s Museum of West Hartford
- The Bruce Museum, Greenwich
- Connecticut Audubon Society Birdcraft Museum, Fairfield
- Fairfield Museum and History Center, Fairfield
- The Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme
- Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington
- Intepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, New York City
- Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk
- Museum of the City of New York, New York City
- Mystic Seaport, Mystic
- New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain
- Stamford Museum and Nature Center, Stamford
- Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury
- Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Windsor Locks
- Earthplace: the Nature Discovery Center, Westport
- Danbury Railway Museum, Danbury
- Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Mystic
- The Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington
That’s a long list. No one library has every pass. The libraries need to weigh the cost and consider what their patrons will like the most. Many librarians are happy to listen to suggestions from residents, so if there is something you really think your whole town would enjoy, then maybe you could mention it. As I said before, many passes are purchased by the friends of the library groups–so if you hadn’t considered joining before, then you can help your library in numerous ways and perhaps offer some other insight into passes that would be widely enjoyed.
There may be other fees, such as parking, that may be necessary for your trip. I only listed the free passes. There are more passes that offer discounts from 10% to 50%. They will be listed at your library as well.