While the squeals of excitement as your kiddos unwrap gifts is part of the holiday fun, too many toys are too soon forgotten as the season fades. If you want to give your littles a present that will keep on giving well into 2017, consider giving them the gift of discovery, learning, and local exploration with a family membership. Museums, science centers, the Zoo and more—read on to find the perfect year-long pass for your little adventurers

Good to know: most of these passes get you and your kids into other museums, local and national, at discounted prices too!

omsiphoto: OMSI, via Yelp 

Shoot off rockets, control robots, build a block tower or discover a real submarine–OMSI has something for all the kids! Exhibits rotate, but the mainstays are always full of fun. Add the planetarium to your visit for an exploration of space, or take the 6 and under crew to Science Playground with waterworks, puppets, blocks, sand and puzzles. There’s even an infant area for the youngest scientists.

Membership includes free admission, guest passes and discounts on souvenirs submarine tours, parking, and summer camps and classes. It also gets you into over 290 national museums–great for the yearly family vacation! Check out the list online.

$110-$165 for an annual family pass
1945 SE Water Ave.
Online: omsi.edu


photo: Portland Children’s Museum via Yelp

Portland Children’s Museum
With a busy calendar of events, storytimes, monthly themes and a full art studio, the Children’s Museum is not only for rainy days! The special exhibits rotate often and are full of fun, while the ongoing ones include a pet hospital, a construction zone, a wet waterzone, a grocery store, a busy theater and even a clay studio with hands-on creativity options!

Don’t miss the Outdoor Adventure, which recently renovated 1.3 acres of land into a wild outdoor play space. Designed to let nature shine through, and encourage a discovery of mind, body, and spirit. Kids can practice wise risk-taking by changing the course of a creek, digging a hole, building a fort, or climbing a tree. There’s a smaller area for toddlers with all the good stuff, concentrated.

Members receive free admission for a year, discounted guests, a free admission for a friend on the child’s birthday!, and discounts on camps, classes, and store souvenirs. Also check out the list of over 200 children’s museum across the US that allows 50% discounted admission.

$80-$130 for a family pass
4015 SW Canyon Road
Online: portlandcm.org


photo: Smartypants PDX via Yelp

Smartypants PDX
Smartypants is an art studio that lets kids get messy! They offer art classes like fiber arts or painting, as well an open studio every day. Kids can explore art supplies offered freely like chalk, paint (all washable!), clay, and craft supplies, and make whatever their imaginations can conjure. Activities change so frequent visitors won’t get bored!

Members receive unlimited use of the studio, 2 guest passes to bring a friend (any grown up tags along for free!), 20-50% off art classes, discounted birthday packages and member-only events!

$150-$200 for an annual family pass
5512 N Montana Ave.
Online: smartypantspdx.com

Oregon Zoo
You can’t be bored at the zoo! There’s always something wild and exotic, big and scary, tiny and cute, fuzzy and wuzzy around every corner at the zoo. The recently completed Condors of the Columbia and Elephant Lands offer brand new homes, and kids can take their pick of the favorites. Watch the river otters frolic, catch an anaconda feeding in the Amazon, or stay closer to home at the family farm petting zoo.

A membership is the perfect way to enjoy the zoo, as seeing everything in one day can be a lot for little legs. With free admission for a year you can make a monthly date with the giraffes, or pop by to see Lily the elephant grow bigger and bigger.

Members receive free admission with one guest admission, free entry to Zoolights, and discounts on zoo trains, food, and gift shops.

$129-$169 for an annual family pass
4001 SW Canyon Rd.
Online: oregonzoo.org


photo: KTeshp via Flickr

Evergreen Aviation Museum
The biggest. The fastest. The lightest. The most fun! The Evergreen Aviation Museum offers exhibits on aviation, military aircraft, and space, along with their most popular tour: Howard Hughes’ famous Spruce Goose, built entirely out of wood. It’s so big it gets its own hangar!

Leave time in your day for the Wings & Waves Waterpark, an indoor all-season park with ten slides, a wave pool, and a hands-on science center. Kids will be thrilled to slide out of a real Boeing 747 on their way to the pool! Plenty of smaller slides and pools for the smaller tots can be found.

Members receive free year-round admission, museum store discount, subscription to museum newsletter, free tours of the daily B-17 Flying Fortress, $9 off Waterparks admission, and discounts on classes, camps and lectures.

$125-$150 for an annual family pass
500 Northeast Captain Michael King Smith Way
McMinnville, Or
Online: evergreenmuseum.org

Pro Tip! Members of the Oregon Zoo or the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum also receive rotating free reciprocal members to these local museums: World Forestry Center, Oregon Historical Society, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks & Minerals, Washington County Museum, & Deepwood Museum & Gardens.

What’s your favorite family membership? Share it with us in the comments below.

—Katrina Emery