November 05, 2012

Real-life explorations on a shoestring

I heard an amazing story tonight-- a TRUE one.

I was approached by a library patron who told me he took his family of four to The Exploratorium--a wonderful hands-on family experience in San Francisco--and thanks to printing out FREE tickets through the library website, they saved about $90 in admission costs!  

Did you know your library card can save you a ton of money?

Not only can you save a lot of cash from all the books you don't have to buy, and movie rental fees you can skip; your library may even be able to get your family into some local attractions at no charge!

The Discover & Go program, recently instituted at libraries around the Greater Bay Area, allows you to use your library card to print up free or discounted tickets from home to attractions including aquariums, museums, and botanical gardens.  There's a little something for everyone, and  the savings are substantial! Those of us living in the Bay Area have more opportunities for family education & entertainment than we could ever tally, but taking advantage of everything within reach to us physically can sometimes be out of reach financially.  Now, if you can get to the attraction, you can get in--thanks to your local library!  

Here is the current list of Discover & Go attractions on the Livermore Public Library website; this serves just as an example, as opportunities can change, and I did notice variations in what was available at other Bay Area libraries:

Aquarium of the Bay
Bay Area Discovery Museum
Bedford Gallery
California Historical Society
Cartoon Art Museum
Charles M. Schulz Museum
The Contemporary Jewish Museum
GLBT History Museum
The Lawrence Hall of Science
Lindsay Wildlife Museum
The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
The Marine Mammal Center
Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment
Museum of Craft and Folk Art
Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)
Napa Valley Museum
Oakland Aviation Museum
Oakland Museum of California
Pacific Pinball Museum
Peralta Hacienda Historical Park
Saint Mary's College Museum of Art
Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum
The Tech Museum of Innovation
UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley
USS Hornet Museum
Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Now, if you do not live in the San Francisco Bay Area, or if your library does NOT yet offer this program, they might still have something similar for you; many libraries have long offered museum passes patrons can "check out" to get into various attractions at no charge.  Visit or call up your library's reference desk & just ask!  If they don't have anything yet, tell them you'd like to have it--and tell your friends to tell them, too!

Speaking of telling your friends: spread the word.  I know you have some friends who not only don't know about these opportunities; they don't event have a library card!  And some of these folks don't even know where the local library is.  Be a good friend, and let them know.  Set a date, and go together, even!  Clearly, membership has its privileges.

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