Memberships are Great for Your Kid’s Gift List

When the grandparents ask me what my kids would like for Christmas or birthdays, my first response is always memberships. We don’t need any more clutter around the house and having memberships to one or more places around Grand Rapids makes it easy for me to take them out to have fun.

Grand Rapids Children's Museum

Thanks to our sponsor, WEST SIDE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL.

West Side Christian School hosts FREE events for kids ages 0-5 and their parents & caregivers! Fine motor skills, open gym, outdoor play, animal visitors, and more. Visit our website for the schedule. Events are free & open to all!

Memberships Offer Many Benefits in Addition to Free Admission

There are so many places to choose from when looking for a membership for your family. Important things to keep in mind when deciding if a membership is right for you:

  • Will you visit the attraction enough times for the membership to pay for itself?
  • What is included? Usually unlimited free visits for 12 months (or the open season), but there are often other perks like gift shop and concession discounts. Are there any exclusions?
  • Who is included with your membership? Is it just the people living in your house or can you bring a guest?
  • Where else can you visit with your membership? Sometimes there is one place a month, other times there is a permanent list.
  • Are there any special member-only events?

Grand Rapids museum memberships

Where to Get a Membership

Now that you know what to ask, the next step is to decide where you want to be a member. Here’s a list of places in and around West Michigan where you can buy a membership.

Special Note: Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts all participate in the Museums for All program. EBT/WIC cardholders qualify for a reduced admission rate to these museums. Additionally, Kent County residents can visit the Grand Rapids Public Museum for reduced rates with valid ID.

memberships for Kids around Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids
  • John Ball Zoo | Unlimited free admission for 12 months, discounts on parties, events, gift shop purchases and concessions, occasional regional exchanges, over 150 reciprocals
  • Frederick Meijer Gardens | Unlimited free admission for 12 months, presale on concerts and events, member only events, over 200 reciprocals
  • Grand Rapids Children’s Museum | Unlimited free admission for 12 months, special member-only days, one regional exchange per month at all levels, ACM level includes discounts at over 200 reciprocals
  • Grand Rapids Public Museum | Unlimited free admission for 12 months, free carousel rides and planetarium shows, one regional exchange per month, over 300 reciprocals
  • Grand Rapids Art Museum | Unlimited free admission for 12 months, early access to exhibits, discounts, member only events
  • Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts | Free gallery admission, discounted movie tickets, reduced prices for events
  • Blandford Nature Center | Free admission for 12 months, free snowshoe rentals, discounted pricing on events and experiences, 150 reciprocals

Grand Rapids Metro

Lakeshore – Holland and Muskegon
  • Dutch Village, Holland | Unlimited visits to the park during the season (April through October)
  • Outdoor Discovery Center, Holland | Member only events, access to the archery range, discounts on programs, 150 reciprocals
  • Michigan’s Adventure, Muskegon | Unlimited visits to both parks during the season, special Bring-A-Friend Days, food and merchandise discounts; platinum pass has 13 reciprocals including Cedar Point and King’s Island. Additional season passes available for meals, drinks and parking.

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Battle Creek and Kalamazoo
  • Binder Park Zoo, Battle Creek | Free admission for 12 months, discounts on camps and events, over 150 reciprocals
  • Kingman Museum, Battle Creek | Free planetarium shows, gift shop discounts, over 600 reciprocals
  • Air Zoo Aerospace and Science Experience, Kalamazoo | Free admission for 12 months, discounts at many local businesses, discounts on camps and experiences, family level includes over 1,200 reciprocals
  • Kalamazoo Nature Center | Free admission for 12 months, discount in gift shop and on classes and events

Lansing
  • Impression 5 | Free admission for 12 months, member night events, discount in gift shop and on programs and events, over 350 reciprocals
  • Potter Park Zoo | Free admission for 12 months, discount in the gift shop and on rentals, parties and camps, members night, over 100 reciprocals
  • Woldumar Nature Center | Free parking and trail access, member only events, discount in gift shop and on select programs and events
  • Fenner Nature Center | Discounts at the gift shop and on programs, members only events

We hope this gives you a great starting point when searching to see what memberships are right for your family. Do you know of other family-friendly places that offer memberships? Let us know in the comments below!

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By |2018-11-15T10:30:13+00:00November 15th, 2018|Categories: City of GR, Deal for Families, GR Children's Museum, Museums|10 Comments

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10 Comments

  1. Erica Foster Yotkois via Facebook August 17, 2012 at 12:46 am

    If you are trying to be very frugal about your memberships you can buy your family membership to Meijer Gardens at the time of Butterflies and it will get you into The Butterflies again next season… we alternate memberships with the zoo. When we added foster kids to our house we realized memberships were a must!

  2. Jackie Darmogray Fornetti via Facebook August 17, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Not local, but we maintain membership at the National Aviary Society. Family membership is $75, but we use the reciprocating benefit for free/reduced entrance to JBZ, Binder, Meijer Gardens..essentially all places with flowers and birds.

  3. Alison Westhouse via Facebook August 17, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Just curious, for Java Gym, i didn’t have to pay to get in, just had to pay for my child. Only 2.95 total.. Did i happened to go on the day that Adults were free? Or is that info need to be updated? Curious if anybody else had to pay?

  4. Cheri Schrenk via Facebook August 17, 2012 at 12:16 am

    At least that is what I have been told recently. 🙂

  5. Cheri Schrenk via Facebook August 17, 2012 at 12:16 am

    I heard a lot of the free passes are no longer available too. Our local library used to have passes for John Ball zoo but no longer offer them. 🙁

  6. grkids.com via Facebook August 17, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Laura, I believe that the public museum no longer offers free days. But I do think you might be able to check out passes to certain places from GRPL.

  7. Laura Muresan via Facebook August 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    It’s important to remember that many of these places have free days throughout the year. For GR residents, the public museum is free every single Monday, so if you can time your visits, there’s no need for a membership. The art museum is free during Festival and Art Prize, which satisfies our art museum needs for the year. The children’s museum has $2 admission on Tuesday nights. The zoo has free days at least a couple of times a year.

  8. Jennie Betley Hodges via Facebook August 16, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Funny, I was just thinking about this when we visited the Public Museum this week. We have been members of the Children’s Museum because we liked that they recipocated with other local places during the summer. It seems, however, those options aren’t as enticing as they once were (to my family). I think this year, we’ll ask the grandparents for the Public Museum membership instead. Also, we have the JB Zoo membership – it’s $10 cheaper than Binder and it gets you into Binder for 1/2 price and Potter Park (in Lansing) for free.

  9. Chris Jennifer via Facebook August 16, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    JB Zoo, Meijer Gardens, GR Public Museum and, of course, the Michigan State Parks Passport program. Seasonally we have Millennium Beach also. We have never done the GR Children’s Museum because it’s just too loud in there for us.

  10. Abby Green via Facebook August 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    We are members of the children’s museum and John ball zoo.

Comments are closed.