The Bay Area is chalk full of great museums and attractions and it can get pricey if you make the rounds regularly. Often it pays to sign up for a yearly membership. But the discount isn’t just limited to admission. We’ve rounded up some of the best bonus perks that come with becoming a member of some of the Bay’s coolest clubs.


Bay Area Discovery Museum
A Family Membership cost $150 a year and covers admission for 2 adults and children in one family. Plus, you get $2 off each guest you bring and free or reduced admission at 300 participating museums and science centers.

The Exploratorium
Depending on the size of your family, a membership likely pays for itself after just two visits. In addition to free admission, members can explore during exclusive hours and access members-only events like the annual Holiday Party and Shopping Night.

San Francisco Zoo/Oakland Zoo
Both zoos offer similar perks for joining: ride tickets, guest passes, special hours, exhibit previews, and discounts on camps and classes. Members also can get discounted admission at zoos all over the country as part of their reciprocal program.

California Academy of Sciences
Single day admission can be steep, so buying a family membership (starting at $249) can actually save you big if you plan to visit more than once in a year. And, they’ve make it more painless by offering a monthly payment plan, with installments as low as $17. Members get lots of other perks too, like a special entrance, extended hours, and exclusive access to penguin feedings.

The Walt Disney Family Museum
The $195 Family Membership covers not just parents and up to 4 kids, but 2 guests as well. Make sure you take your membership cards when you travel: this museum participates in three different reciprocal programs, which opens up hundreds of museums across the country for free or discounted admission.

Oakland Museum of California
Family Memberships start at just $95, and that’s good for up to 4 named adults. The museum has partnered with several local restaurants and music venues to offer even deeper discounts for members. For example, all Oakland Symphony tickets are 20% off with a special code.

Lawrence Hall of Science
This is one of the best deals around. The $135 Family Membership allows for free admission for two adults in the same household, their children, PLUS and additional two adult family members or caregivers. Members get first dibs on registration for summer camps and special programs, and they qualify for free or reduced admission at more than 350 science centers all over the world.

But that’s not all!
If those perks aren’t enough for you, keep in mind that most memberships are 100% tax deductible.

What do you like most about becoming a museum member?

-Melissa Bouse