Give the Gift of Membership


Many local attractions offer annual memberships that could provide you or someone you know with an entire year of fun with significant savings.

We have a couple of these memberships and have more than paid for them while spending time as a family and making really special memories.

Memberships make wonderful gifts for yourself, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, etc. This year for Christmas my husband and I are buying a family membership to the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science instead of exchanging gifts.

I’ve listed several that I personally know about, but I know my list is missing quite a few, especially outside of the area in which I live. I have also focused on family memberships, but I have provided links to the membership information if you are looking for other options.

Dallas Zoo

There are several membership levels with different benefits.

Family$99 annually ($84 tax-deductible) – Free admission for one or two named adults and their children and grandchildren under 18, free parking and 4 free monorail/carousel passes

Family plus$119 annually ($104 tax-deductible) – Same as family membership above, plus one guest any time, and six free monorail/carousel tickets. This level of membership can also be used to include a nanny or baby-sitter for the member’s children.

You can find six other membership packages and the associated benefits here.

General admission to the zoo is $12 for adults (ages 12-64) and $9 for children (ages 3-11) and parking is $8.

Lucky for you all, I’m a numbers nerd so let me tell you what this means. . . If my family and I were going to the zoo we would pay $50 for general admission and parking. With the family membership, we only have to go twice, and that doesn’t even factor the monorail/carousel passes which my kids insist on doing every visit. We have already been three times since getting our membership in September.

Texas Discovery Gardens and Butterfly House

I didn’t even know this little gem at Fair Park existed until we were invited to a birthday party there this summer. Not only did the kids love it, but so did the adults.

Family$45 annually – unlimited regular admission for two adults and all children and grandchildren, 20% discount on birthday packages, and many other discounts. You can find five other membership levels and detailed benefits here.

General admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children over three. Again, if you have two adults and two kids (over three), you only have to go twice to realize the value of the membership.

SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium

We just recently visited this aquarium at Grapevine Mills mall, so we wanted to do a trial run before making a decision on a membership.  It is a little out of the way for us, but the place is so wonderful that I think the membership could be worth the 30 minute drive.

Family Pass: 4 pack of passes – $100 plus tax – Unlimited admission, fast track entry (which is awesome for small kids!), and discounts on the retail store and birthday packages. You can find more information on an individual pass or additional person to the family pass here.

General admission is $16.25 online and $19 at the door for adults over 13. Admission for children 3 and over is $11.25 online and $15 at the door. Two adults and two children would be $55, so you could go twice (I’m sensing a theme) and make up the cost.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The museum officially opens December 1st, but my husband and I have already decided that this is our Christmas present to each other. I have heard nothing but great things from the previews, including Krystal’s review from media day.

Family$100 ($84 tax deductible) – Unlimited free general admission for 2 adults and children under 17. Also includes 4 guest passes, one free parking pass and many other discounts including admission to 260 other museums and science centers around the world.

Family Plus$160 ($128 tax deductible) – Same as above but 3 adults, 6 guest passes and admission to affiliated museum partners.

Surprise! You only have to go twice to gain the values of membership. We made the decision to purchase this solely based on the fact that we’ll need something awesome to do during the hot summer months.

You can find many other levels of membership with benefits here.

Dallas Arboretum

Last but not least, I give you my favorite family membership. Everyone in our family enjoys the outings to the Dallas Arboretum throughout the year; it is especially a crowd pleaser for out of town guests.

Family$109 includes admission for 6 people and parking for two cars.

Family plus Kids Club$140 includes the above plus Kids Club membership and admission discounts to participating organizations.

General admission is $15 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-12. Parking is $10. Again if you go twice, you get your money’s worth. This membership is a really great deal because there are no caveats on who is included in the 6 person admission. We bought this for our parents because we never know what to get them, and it was perfect!

Bonus feature: The Chihuly exhibit has been extended to December 31st and the new 7.5 acre Children’s Garden is opening in 2013. Brooks and Charlotte got a sneak peek on our last visit.

To summarize, all of the memberships realize their value with two visits. Additionally, purchasing memberships to these places allow them to keep providing educational and entertaining programs for the great city of Dallas.


Please leave a comment on other great memberships I have missed or a leave a comment to which membership you want to add to your wish list… you never know who is reading 🙂


  1. A lot of museums have a reciprocal agreement. I believe the Perot Museum and the Fort Worth Science Museum honor your membership if you get a certain level. We have the Max 5 at Fort Worth and were told we could use it in Dallas!


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