Making the Most of Our (ASTC) Membership


astc membership

Over the past few years, at varying times, my family has been members at a few of our favorite places to visit in Fairfield County— Stamford Museum & Nature Center, The Maritime Aquarium, and Stepping Stones. These memberships have all had their perks (free admission, guest passes, and a discount on classes, to name a few), but the biggest bang for our buck has definitely been our membership with the Bruce Museum.

If you haven’t been to the Bruce Museum yet, I highly recommend their family and children’s programming, and they are located right across the street from Bruce Park playground. But, our favorite membership perk, has definitely been the reciprocal admission at other ASTC (Association of Science-Technology Centers) museums.

Over the past year, here are a few of the places where my family has enjoyed free admission:

Discovery Museum, Bridgeport, CT
The Discovery Museum has many hands-on exhibits for pre-school and school-age children, and a soft play zone for children 3 and under. My older daughter would spend our whole visit in their “Adventure Science” exhibit (a mini version of the Adventure Park), if I let her. They also have a planetarium, and “One World, One Sky” is a cute introduction to the sky we all share.

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven, CT
The Peabody Museum has dinosaurs, a mummy, and much more to see! You can read more about the museum, and some other things we like to do in New Haven, here.

Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA
On one “campus,” with just one admission, there are two art museums, a science museum, and a Springfield history museum. There are also Dr. Seuss sculptures and we are not-so-patiently awaiting the opening of the Dr. Seuss Museum! If you go, don’t dismiss the Museum of Springfield History; there are cars, motorcycles, airplanes, and we’ve had a lot of fun playing in the Hasbro GameLand exhibit.

EcoTarium, Worcester, MA
We actually never planned to go to the EcoTarium, but one day we hit enough traffic on our drive up to Boston that it seemed like a good idea to stop. In addition to their indoor exhibits, they have a planetarium, animals, an outdoor play area, nature trails, and a train ride around the grounds. We’re so glad we visited, and we’ll be back!

Boston Children’s Museum, Boston, MA
We love this museum! There are three full floors of fun (including a large toddler play area), and whenever we’ve visited, there’s also been music and/or a show that day. My daughters have had fun at ages 1, 2, and 3 (almost 4), and we probably still have a few more years of visits ahead of us. If you’re visiting Boston with older children, you can also receive reciprocal admission at the Museum of Science and the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

These are just a few of the museums, within driving distance, that we’ve made it to, but there are hundreds of participating locations across the country. We love visiting new places, especially when they’re free!

Do you have any memberships? What are you favorite perks?


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