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A year of science fun: ASTC passport program

The ASTC Passport program allows entry to over 300 science centers worldwide.
S. W. de Graffenried

What do you do for educational fun on days when the weather isn't being cooperative? One option is letting the kids explore the day away at your nearest science center. Science centers provide interactive, hands-on exhibits for children and adults. Kids can participate in activities such as playing meteorologist in front of a green screen, blowing giant bubbles, examining fossils, petting manta rays, racing toy boats, standing in a tornado chamber or building a structure from giant blocks. Each science center is different, but most also include a special area for the 5 and under set.

Admission fees can be pricey at an average of about $45 for a family of 4, but the ASTC Passport program can make it much more affordable. For example, a family membership at Sci-Quest in Huntsville, Alabama starts at $75. Depending on the size of the family, it would only take about 2 visits to pay for the membership. Plus, the ASTC Passport program means that this family could also visit 300 other science centers free of charge by using its membership at Sci-Quest, which is great for families who travel.

However, if you live in an area where you have several participating science centers all within 90 miles of one another, then it’s important to decide which center you will join. Typically, centers within 90 miles of one another are excluded from the program. This prevents people from choosing the cheapest center to join and using it for entrance to all of the others. For instance, the family that joined Sci-Quest could not use that membership to visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, which is only 6 miles away (Sci-Quest’s family membership is $75 and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s is $100). Sometimes the science centers will lift that rule, so ask about local regulations.

Outside of the 90 mile range, all participating ASTC members will honor your membership. To see the science centers located near you, check the ASTC website, where you can search by state and country.