Family time is important. Sometimes having a planned activity can help take us out of the daily grind to sit down and spend time with each other. Things like family game night and movie night. Kid-friendly activities outside of the home are also fun for children. One of the things I like to do is get an annual family pass to local attractions. Purchasing an annual pass is cheaper if you go multiple times in the year and it encourages you to go more often (since you do not have to pay anything at the gate).
Here in Tucson, Arizona, my favorite annual pass for a young family is to the International Wildlife Museum. This may come as a surprise for those of you who are familiar with Tucson. We also have a wonderful, kid-friendly zoo (with all the animals that kids ask to see), an educational desert museum/zoo with Sonoran desert animals and an interesting rock and mineral collection, and a fun children's museum (although it is in a horrible location parking and traffic-wise). If you can get passes to all four then go for it! If you have to choose one then go for the annual pass to the International Wildlife Museum.
Programs at the International Wildlife Museum
One of the best things about an annual pass to the International Wildlife Museum is that they have so many programs that you will be able to participate in for free. I have taken the children to the children's museum once this year, they have gone to the Desert Museum four times, the zoo five times, and they have been to the International Wildlife Museum an astounding fifteen times this year!
The programs are heavily aimed towards children under 12. This year alone, they had a couple flashlight nights (after the museum normally closes they turn off the lights and the families can explore the museum with flashlights. They had a nocturnal animal night, Santa night, a Halloween night, and more. During the summer they hid “Mac”, a stuffed mouse, in different exhibits so the children could find him. When they did they told the front gate they got a stamp. When they collected 4 they got a price and when they collected 8 they got a personal pan pizza from pizza hut. Each program is accompanied with lots of crafts, games, and live animal presentations.
International Wildlife Museum is Air-Conditioned, nice for Tucson Arizona!
The entire museum is air conditioned, which is nice here in Tucson. It is important to note that this is a stuffed animal (taxidermy) collection museum. It is sponsored by Safari Club International and this is what the website says about the International Wildlife Museum:
Founded in 1988, the museum highlights over 400 species of insects, mammals and birds from around the globe. Some of the collections are more than 100 years old and all the animals found at the museum were donated by various government agencies, wildlife rehabilitation centers, captive breeding programs, zoos and individuals.
There are some great things about being able to get up close and personal to animals so you can see what they look like without subjecting live animals to small, stressful, enclosures.
Cost of International Wildlife Museum
If you plan on checking them out one time it costs $9 for an adult, $7 for a senior (>62) or military (with ID), $4 for children 4-12, children under 3 are free. Membership is only $50 for a family, $40 for a senior couple, or $30 for an individual. Their website can be found at InternationalWildlifeMuseum.org
Pinterest fans, be sure to check out the International Wildlife Museum Pinterest page! They are masters at finding some seriously cute crafts for kiddos. While you are over there check out the my pinterest page as well 🙂