Places to Belong & a Trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo

Now that I'm home with the kids (yes, it's official, I'm a SAHM!) we are welcoming the year of the membership!  As in, buy a year long membership to ABC Place and go a million times to get way more out of it than you paid for it.  So far we have a membership to the Carnegie Museums and a membership to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.  And in the first week of our zoo membership, we went twice!  I highly suggest at least the two memberships that we have and here is why...  

Isaiah chillin' with the fishes!
1)  Memberships are inexpensive.  For a family, a Carnegie Museum membership costs $100 if you have one child under 2 (because they are free!) or $150 for two adults and up to four children.  It may sound like a lot, but the membership pays for itself very quickly.  If you take a family of two adults and one child over two to the Carnegie Science Center THREE times in a year, you have gotten your money worth.  Three times.  That's it.  The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium membership is $85 for a family, which includes all adults and children under 18 living under one roof.  To take a family of three, it pays for itself after TWO trips to the zoo.  Two.  In short, buy the memberships and go once a month!  You will get way more than what you paid for it!

Whoa, holy polar bear!

2)  Memberships usually have other benefits and reciprocal benefits at other institutions.  The Carnegie Museum membership is good at four Carnegie Museums: the Carnegie Science Center, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the Warhol Museum.  And it's valid for free admission to a whole network of other science centers and museums nationwide!  While you may primarily want to use the Science Center with your kids, you still have other options!  Consider a date night to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, which is open until 8:00 pm on Thursday nights.  Other benefits of Pittsburgh Zoo membership includes a 10% discount at all zoo gift shops and discount admission to hundreds of other zoos nationwide (hello vacation!).  Also, the museums and the zoo all have member discounts to special events and special member only events.  We were able to go see the Steelers' Lombardi trophies at the Science Center this past December, because we had special access as members.  Super COOL!    

3)  After the membership cost, you really don't have to spend additional money to enjoy these wonderful Pittsburgh attractions.  The only additional cost that you are required to spend is parking fees at several of the Carnegie Museums.  In short, membership does not include a bunch of hidden costs.  Each of the institutions in question allows you to bring food, drinks, and whatever else you need on the day of your visit.  You are not required to buy food at the zoo or science center, which would significantly increase the cost of your visits, but you can bring a lunch and snacks for your day.  This requires self control and will power to not spend mucho dinero while you are there, BUT the good news is you don't HAVE to spend extra money while there.  Just plan ahead and don't take in your wallet...  Sorry kids, no creepy plastic snakes and giant stuffed monkeys to take home today!!

That's gotta be like - what? - 4800 teeth!
4)  AND last but not least...  A large portion of our memberships are considered tax deductible donations.  AWESOME!  So basically you buy a membership, go to the zoo or the Carnegie Science Center all year long and then you get to deduct almost the full membership cost on your taxes and Uncle Sam says you owe less taxes.  This is of course true only when you itemize your taxes, which is usually the case once you own a home or give money to charity.  Again, Awesome!  What a deal!!

And to further convince you on a membership, look at what fun our family had at the zoo this past week!  Isaiah loved looking at the animals, loved it!  His favorite part were the fishes.  He really gets a kick out of the aquarium.  The Science Center and Zoo are remarkable places to take Isaiah and Annika to foster a true love of learning, and I can't wait to do so!!  

It's one of the Zoo's baby elephants!
That is one BIG polar bear!

Isaiah checking out the starfish with Dad.
In short, buy a membership and call me, we can take the kids and go to the zoo together!  I'm game!  :)


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