Are you a joiner? Do you like to participate in different clubs? Do you belong to any organizations?
As I look back, I probably could consider myself an active participant in many organizations. But I have to say, that where I (really we) have belonged tends to fluctuate with the season and ages of my children.
Membership is a great option for supporting an organization. Plus when you have a larger family, sometimes joining costs only a bit more than simply paying admission. For instance, for us to visit the Durham Museum several years ago would have cost $30. We could buy an educator membership for $45. Even though the museum was an hour away from our home, belonging there made sense. We just had to return one more time for our membership to pay for itself. (I think we went back 2 or 3 more times -a great place)!
Currently we are members at Morrill Hall in Lincoln. We partially joined this place due to its reciprocal membership benefits. (More on this option next week!) With studying Nebraska, this is also a great place to see displays on Native Nebraskans – both people and even some animals. (Disclaimer: I have to admit that I am not exactly on board with their dating system, so there are certain areas we basically avoid). As I wrote about several months ago, I really love their Discovery Center.
I am also a member of the Nebraska State Historical Society. This allows me to get into their various locations. More importantly, I also receive their publications – quite helpful to this aspiring writer. For this one, I just have an individual membership since kids have free entrance anyway.
Chimney Rock – one of the places I got in “free” this year with my Nebraska Historical Society membership.
How does one decide whether just to visit or to join?
1) Will you be going there often? If the location is a long distance away, a membership may not be justifiable. But if you travel to the region often (visiting grandparents and such), joining may be a good idea even if you are not from that area.
2) Will the cost even itself out? Sometimes memberships are a bargain. A few are a bit more costly. What fits into your budget?
3) Will a membership make you feel guilty if you do not make it back there as often as you hoped? We used to belong to the Lincoln Children’s Museum. I love that place! We still make it back there a few times a year. But since my kids are older now and we are homeschooling, joining there just does not make sense at this point. Trying to make it there often enough to justify the expense would stress me out. (Sorry, youngest child, I recognize that you got the shaft!)
4) Will having a membership motivate you to visit more? The inverse is also true. Sometimes when we join a place, we tend to push ourselves to visit more often. While this may not always work for the gym :-), but this might work if you belong to the zoo. If nothing else, your children will be clamoring to go. Incessant begging can often be highly motivational.
Memberships are often great options. Whether you officially join places or not, Nebraska has many great places to go visit. May 2014 be full of adventures across “The Good Life”state!