If you have kids, or you have been around kids, you’ll know they can be a bit…well…how should I say this…moody? I mean, can’t we all? The problem with kids is they also don’t have a good sense of financial commitment. That means that you might plan a great big adventure to one of our amazing local attractions, spend a large amount of money on the price of admission, and then suddenly your child just decides it’s not the day for fun. Now what?
This is why we love family memberships. Paying once for an experience you love gives you the freedom to come and go as you please. Only have an hour? No problem! You can try again another time! Stay all day and you STILL have more to see? Great! You can do this again! There is a great comfort in this for parents and kids alike to remove the pressure of squeezing out every last opportunity a museum or attraction can offer. With a membership, you can just have fun without the threat of sticker shock.
Here are six of our favorite family membership packages you might want to consider adding to your rotation for endless, pressure-free fun this year.
Crayola Experience | Mall of America in Bloomington, MN
Take the budding artists in your family out of the house and into a whole new creative exploration at the Crayola Experience. Kids and adults alike are always encouraged to let their creativity go wild, to color outside the lines, and to play with art, all while secretly learning. With the magic of technology and chemistry, creating art is not only fun it’s educational. With more than 25 different hands-on stations, your kids can never get bored. My kids love that not only do they have fun in the space, but they also get to make things to bring the creativity home.
Hours: MON–FRI 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., SAT 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., SUN 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Membership: $38-$52 annually
The Bell Museum | 2088 Larpenteur Ave W, St Paul
Minnesota’s official natural history museum and planetarium are located within the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. Explore the history of the natural world around us through special exhibits. Get up close and personal in the Touch & See Lab to observe, interact, and use your senses to discover incredible things about our world. Fun fact! The Bell Museum created the first natural history museum discovery room in the world —now known as the Touch & See Lab! Don’t miss the dioramas! The Bell Museum’s “world-renowned wildlife dioramas uniquely allow visitors to imagine themselves in various natural settings.”
Hours: WED – SUN 10 am–4 pm
Membership: various memberships available, starting at $15
Science Museum of Minnesota | 120 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102
The massive space of this museum alone should tell you that this makes an incredible membership to acquire for your family. There is just so much to do you can’t fit it all in one visit! Sports fans will love the sportology section where they can explore the science behind their favorite sporting activities. Be wowed by the giant of the past in the dinosaur exhibit. Discover what makes our bodies so amazing in the Body Works exhibit. You could even try out the scavenger hunt on another exhibit to uncover even more hidden gems in this museum sure to keep your family busy with every visit.
Hours: TUE–FRI, SUN 10 am-5 pm, SAT 10 am-8 pm
Membership: $95-$250 annually
Minnesota Children’s Museum | 10 West Seventh Street, St. Paul, MN 55102
When you can find a membership for your family that covers climbing and sliding for the adventurous ones, dramatic play for the imaginative child, creativity for the artist kids, and challenges for the puzzlers, you know you’ve found a museum perfect for a membership. My kids span 6 years between them so sometimes it’s difficult to find a space they all love. The Children’s Museum has always been that space. Find out more about what we love here!
Hours: TUE–FRI, 9 am-4 pm, SAT 9 am-6 pm, SUN 9 am-5 pm
Membership: $155-$255 annually
SEA LIFE | Mall of America in Bloomington, MN
Sometimes you just need to escape to a place unlike any other and SEA LIFE will give you that much-needed adventure you seek. Located in the Mall of America, SEA LIFE offers underwater adventures for all ages, plus Minnesota’s only 360-degree ocean tunnel! Come and explore the 11 different zones like the coral caves, the rainforest, rockpools, and so much more. Plus a membership is a great way to bring other friends and family because they get a discount on tickets, too!
Hours: SUN 11 am – 6 pm, MON-THUR 10 am – 7 pm, FRI-SAT 10 am – 8 pm
Membership: $54-$108 annually
Minnesota Historical Society | Various Locations
Probably one of the best deals for a family membership is found in the Minnesota Historical Society. The membership not only gives you access to the incredible Minnesota History Center with its interactive exploration into the life and times of Minnesotans throughout history, but it also gives you access to tons of other historical museums and sites throughout Minnesota. In just a few months our family explored the Mill City Museum, Fort Snelling, Oliver Kelley Farm, Split Rock Lighthouse, and of course endless visits to the History Center. This membership is a workhorse and one you’ll want to renew year after year because you won’t have time to take advantage of every option.
Hours: See website for specific location hours.
Membership: $50-$99 annually