One of the best deals going is the free museum passes available from area libraries. Just check ’em out like you’d borrow a book, show up at your museum of choice, and in you go! Here’s my attempt at a summary of your options:
UPDATED May 16, 2014
Note: The new Children’s Museum in Tacoma is free by donation every day, thanks to a very generous, 5 year grant from Key Bank. No special pass or coupon needed-just show up!
Pierce County Library System-Passes to the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, the Museum of Glass, and the Tacoma Art Museum Passes are on display in the lucite holders on the end of the stacks when they’re available. To check, type “Museum Pass,” into the catalog to search. It will show whether passes are in at your branch, although you cannot reserve them.
Tacoma Public Library Passes to the Tacoma Art Museum, the Washington State History Museum, and the Museum of Glass You can search the catalog for availability, although you cannot put them on hold. I believe these are displayed in holders through out the library when available-please correct me if I’m wrong.
Puyallup Public Library Passes to the Tacoma Art Museum,the Washington State History Museum, and the Museum of Glass. To check one out, just ask a librarian. I promise they’ll know what you mean. You can check availability before you go by searching the catalog. The PPL catalog is super finicky, so if you don’t see it, just give the info. desk a call.
King County Library System-Passes to the Bellevue Arts Museum, Kidsquest Children’s Museum,the Museum of History and Industry,the Tacoma Art Museum, and the Washington State History Museum You check them out online and take in a receipt. Very slick!
Timberland Regional Library System-Mobile Membership Pass to the Hands-on Children’s Museum in Olympia Must go in to the library; very limited number; be prepared to put your name on the wait list.
Remember: All these libraries have reciprocal borrowing agreements, so if you have a card from one, you shoul be able to score a card from any other library on the list. Just limit your book borrowing to one location, or you’ll be giving yourself a headache (trust me on this)!
Other stuff: Can’t get a pass from the library? Go FREE to the big venues in Tacoma on third Thursdays. Some locations have bogo coupons in the Entertainment book. Members of the military can go free through Labor Day through the Blue Star Museum program.
You might also consider becoming a member of any place you go frequently. Besides getting you in the door, members typically receive other discounts, and it’s a great way to support an organization you believe in.
Finally, you might want to consider visiting, smaller, less expensive museums. The White River Valley Museum in Auburn, the Harbor History Museum in Gig Harbor, and the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum in Tacoma are all outstanding, low cost outings. You can also try small spots like the Job Carr Cabin Museum in Old Town Tacoma or the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage at Brown’s Point that are FREE all the time! The Children’s Museum in Tacoma continues to be pay-as-you will for the next several years. You’ll find posts on all of these in my archives.
Of course, I’ll also keep you updated on special bargains all through the year!