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Frugal family fun: We zoom to the zoo for summer outings

City zoos offer wildly interesting and entertaining excursions for family – and often for a song. For years, our crew has carried season passes to the local zoo, enjoying significant savings on this family recreation choice.

Actually, our local zoo offered free admission for decades, but they underwent a huge overhaul several years ago and began charging a fee. But we found the changes worthwhile, as they added lots more animals and attractions.

The family pass (which includes access for four adults, multiple kids, and even occasional guests) costs about $100. At first, that may sound like a hefty sum, but taking a couple of grownups and a slew of kids to the zoo, the movies, or an amusement park can easily cost that much - especially if a return trip is in the works.

Included with membership are gift shop and snack bar discounts (with no need for keeping codes or coupons). We also get a colorful zoo magazine, free zoo concert /picnic tickets, and summer zoo camp discounts (although we don’t use the camp program).

Best of all, as members, we flash the pass and enter the zoo gates without waiting in line.

What’s more, our local zoo membership brings us free (or discounted) entry to approximately 150 other American Zoo Association locations nationwide, through an AZA reciprocity agreement. We’ve even stumbled upon other zoos and walked in free without presenting our passes, as they were able to look up our memberships online.

That’s a wild, screaming deal for summer family fun.

Milwaukee Zoo Peacock –
Creative Commons Licensing
Henry Vilas Zoo Penguins
- Creative Commons Licensing

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