If you’re a member of Austin’s new children’s museum, the Thinkery, you already know it’s a great spot for some fun out of the sun. But did you know that Premier Thinkery members get reciprocal membership admission (as in FREE!) to other science museums across the country? The Family membership is $95 and admits four people to the Thinkery, but it does not include the reciprocal program. The Premier membership is pricier at $150, but admits six people to the Thinkery and includes free admission to museums in the Association of Science and Technology Centers Passport Program plus half-price admission to museums participating in the Association of Children’s Museums program. If you’re a family that enjoys a good road trip, the extra cost is a real bargain.
Here are a few day trip options from Austin:
Killeen — Take a trip about an hour or so from Austin to catch a planetarium show at the Mayborn Science Theater. Your Thinkery Premier membership gets you up to 8 free tickets for family members. The planetarium seating is comfortable and clean and definitely worth a visit. Several programs are shown daily, each less than an hour long.
San Antonio — The Witte Museum admits two adults and dependents under 18 as part of the membership program. Kids can ride the SkyCycle and try rock climbing at the H-E-B Science Treehouse.
|Children’s Museum of Houston|
Dallas — The Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas is an impressive visit that can easily fill up most of a day. Reciprocal members get admission for two adults and two kids in the same household. You must get tickets at the box office where you’ll be assigned an entry time, every half hour. During the summer months, entry times for the day can fill up by noon, so plan to arrive at or before 10 a.m. to get a good entry time. While you wait, there’s a fun outdoor play area to explore.
Fort Worth — The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is quite a bit smaller than the Perot. The reciprocal membership admits two adults and two kids from the same household. The web site specifies that the planetarium is not included, but when our family visited, we were given wrist bands that gave us access to the planetarium shows. We were able to see everything, including a planetarium show, in about four hours.
All of these museums are totally kid-friendly and fun and some even have designated children’s museums within them. The only day-trip-able children’s museum participating in the half-price admission program is The Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley in Bryan. (The Mayborn in Waco and McKenna Children’s Museum in New Braunfels DO NOT participate in either reciprocal program.)
If you’re currently a Thinkery Family member, you can call the Thinkery to upgrade to a Premier membership. Be sure to check out the full list of museums with reciprocal benefits in other parts of Texas and around the United States. We’ve visited museums in other states, too, and have more than covered the cost of our membership through those trips alone.
For more information on Thinkery membership, click here. You can also check out the Membership FAQ.
*** If you purchase a Thinkery membership, either Family or Premier, use code FFAustin online and you will get an extra two months free! You can also get this deal if you purchase your membership over the phone, by mentioning Free Fun in Austin! Thinkery annual memberships start at the time of purchase, so if you buy a membership now, using the code FFAustin, it will be valid through September 2015. This promotion is good for online and phone purchases only, through August 31, 2014. ***
The Thinkery would also like to give one Free Fun in Austin reader a free Premier membership (a $150 value)! For your chance to win, simply fill out the form below. One winner will be selected using random.org on Thursday, July 24, 2014 and notified by email. Sweepstakes Official Rules.