Family feeding a giraffe at the zoo

10 Ways to Save on Zoo and Museum Admission

Whether you’re looking for something to do on vacation or just a normal weekend, visiting a museum or zoo can provide hours of fun and learning. These places are sometimes quite expensive, but you don’t have to pay full price! Here are 10 ways to save on zoo and museum admissions.

  1. Search the website.
    Often, a zoo or museum will place coupons on its website. Simply visit the website of the attraction and browse until you find a coupon section. Don’t be afraid to call the zoo or museum either. They may be able to help you find coupons on the website or elsewhere.
  2. Use CityPASS or City Card.
    If you’re planning to visit multiple places in a city, such as a zoo, museum, and aquarium, consider buying a CityPASS or City Card. These two cards allow you to visit multiple places for one flat fee. These cards give you huge discounts. For example, Seattle has a CityPASS allowing you to visit the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Harbor, and two other local attractions for $70. Since purchasing these tickets separately would cost over $100, CityPASS a huge value.
  3. Look through hotel brochures.
    Most people look past hotel brochures, and they’re missing out. There are coupons that may be hidden within the pages. Attraction owners know that when people are on vacation they can’t see everything, but coupons will increase the chances someone will visit their exhibit. Take a look at these booklets—you can find huge discounts in them. Walk into a hotel or pick one up while you’re staying.
  4. Inquire about a “pay-what-you-wish” policy.
    If you’re lucky, the museum you want to visit will have a “pay-what-you-wish” policy, which allows visitors to make whatever donation they can afford as the price for admission. This policy permits those who cannot afford a ticket to still view the exhibits the museum has to offer. If you’d love to go to a museum, but you’re looking for a discount, call the attraction and ask if it has this policy. The worst answer you’ll get is “No.”
  5. Look for free or discounted days.
    Nearly every museum and zoo has free or discounted days. These days tend to be ones with typically low attendance, especially during the off season. Free or discounted days are usually shown on the zoo or museum’s website. If you cannot find the information, simply call and ask when the next discount day is.
  6. Ask for a state resident discount.
    If the zoo or museum is located in your state, you can ask if there is a state resident discount. These discounts are widely used by theme parks, so some museums and zoos have adopted the policy, too. Generally, the website of the attraction will tell you of eligible discounts. If not, you can call and ask if it offers discounts for state residency.
  7. Call the tourism office.
    If anyone is going to know about discounts, it will be the state or city tourism office. It will also have brochures or booklets with coupons. If possible, visit the office and ask if they know of any coupons for the zoos or museums. Look through the advertisements and brochures. If you cannot visit, simply call and ask if they know of any coupons. People working at these offices are more than happy to help you visit locations in their city or state.
  8. Order a coupon book.
    It may not seem price-effective to purchase a book of coupons, but if you’re looking for some serious discounts, it’s a great idea. Coupon books are available at some locations in-state, but it’s easier to Google the coupon books. For example, if you’re visiting San Diego, search “San Diego Coupon Book” to find where you can purchase the book in-state as well as online. If you’re ordering the book online, purchase it two weeks before you leave on your vacation.
  9. Consider membership.
    If you live in the same area as the zoo or museum and visit often, consider purchasing a membership. The upfront cost may seem steep, but you can save quite a bit of money in the long run. Zoos and museums sell memberships online and on-location. Sometimes they even partner with other attractions in the area, allowing you to visit multiple places with a single pass.
  10. Search websites for daily deals.
    Groupon and LivingSocial are incredibly popular sites, and they are only becoming larger. These websites allow you to get deals in a certain area. If you’re going to museums, zoos, or other attractions, search these websites for deals on admissions. Sometimes these deals offer several dollars off the original price.
Last Updated: January 07, 2016