When I first became a mother I felt like it was necessary to be a Columbus Zoo member, like a right of passage almost. I believe my daughter was 6 weeks old (maybe younger) when we first became members and we've never looked back. Instead we've added to our membership card pile and became members at many other wonderful places here in Columbus. I love our memberships because they allow us to have a lot of fun, at amazing places, while saving money. I will start with what I call the Columbus Staples, Columbus Zoo, Columbus Museum of Art, Franklin Park Conservatory, and COSI. I will then share some of the other cool memberships here in Columbus that you may or may not know exist. We aren't members to everywhere on this list, but most. I've just found it saves us a lot of money and every place on this list does a great job at changing things up so we are always doing something new and exciting.
1. The Columbus Zoo - I will start here because it's where my journey started and probably the same for a lot of you. When you think about memberships you probably almost immediately think of the amazing zoo we have here in Columbus. We love our zoo, and through being members we have enjoyed countless days of fun, discounts at the gift shops (sometimes I give in) and free parking. Not to mention the discounts on summer camps, birthday parties and so much more. We have the Family Plus membership because it comes with the ability to bring two unnamed guests with us, and with most of our family living out of town this is a great way for us to be able to bring them with us when they come into town. Bonus you can add on a Wilds membership to a zoo membership for only $75 and get the same perks as your zoo membership.
Membership Cost - $94 for family and $124 for family plus - FREE parking
Single Day Tickets -Adults (10-59) $14.99, Children (3-9) $9.99, Seniors (60+) $9.99. Parking is $10 per car
2. Columbus Museum of Art - This one is one of my favorite memberships that we have, I absolutely love CMA. CMA is great for date night or for a family day out, and that makes it a double win in my book. There are many different options for memberships but the starting family membership includes two adults and children/grandchildren 18 and under for only $75 per year. Membership gives you free admission, free parking, and discounts on other events like summer workshops and more.
Membership Cost - $75 - FREE parking
Single Day Tickets Adults - $14 - Children (6-17) $5
3. Franklin Park Conservatory - My husband gifted me this membership on Mother's Day a few years ago and every year around Mother's Day he renews it. I absolutely love the Conservatory, I enjoy the beauty and the tranquility. Family memberships start at $80 per year and includes two named adults and all children or grandchildren listed on the membership card. Members receive discounts at the cafe, the gift shop, special invites to member only events, and reciprocal privileges at over 270 gardens throughout the US. The kids and I head here on rainy days, cold days, or really beautiful days. They also have really fun educational events, cooking classes, date night fun, and more.
Membership Cost - $80
Single Day Tickets - Adults $13 - Children (3-17) $6
4. COSI - I'm sure you've looked this one up before or you've been to COSI and if you haven't - you have to go at least once while your kids are little and then again as they get older. I am amazed at how easy it is to please someone of all ages at COSI. My husband and I love the COSI after dark events, they are 21+ so it's fun to get to enjoy COSI without the little ones running around. At the same time we find so much joy watching our kids running around Kidspace or exploring the Ocean area. They offer three different types of memberships the basic ($119), premium ($169), and supporting ($275). Each membership offers different perks. COSI also offers a Family Access membership for $49, this membership isn't available for online purchase because you have to provide proof that you are participating in WIC, Ohio Directions, or Medicaid.
Membership Cost - $119 discount on parking ($4)
Single Day Tickets - Adults $19 Children (2-12) $14 parking $5
Now that we've talked about the membership opportunities at the Columbus Staples let's go over some of the ones we don't always think about when thinking about family memberships.
5. Ohio History Connection - The Ohio History Connection holds a very special place in my heart. As a teenager my grandpa brought me here and I remember walking through the halls, and browsing through the old archives with him and the excitement he had showing me all of the history. Unfortunately he passed away about 5 years ago and I miss him everyday but it's memories like this that keep me smiling and remind me why I feel so strongly about showing my kids the world. A basic family membership here is inexpensive but full of so many benefits. They start at $55 and include free admission to all 50 sites, invitations to member only events, and discounts in the gift shop.
Membership Cost - $55
Single Day Tickets - Adults $10 - Youth (6-12) $5
6. Pizzuti Collection - I love Pizzuti Collection!!! They offer many different levels of memberships starting with the minimalist ($75-$149) and that includes free addmission for two adults in the same household and children as well as free admission to artists talks as well as 10% off in the book nook. This one is one of my favorites.
Membership Cost - $75
Single Day Tickets - Adults $12, Seniors $10 - Students and Children are free
7. Kelton House - The Kelton House was built in 1852 by Fernando Cortez and Sophia Stone Kelton. They hid fugitive slaves as part of the Underground Railroad. Fernando and Sophia's granddaughter Grace Kelton entrusted the house to the Columbus Foundation. The Kelton House is a great museum with a lot of history, plenty of opportunities to learn. On the second Sunday of every month they have Trails of Hope, they offer tea with Sophia Kelton herself, and many other programs. Memberships start at $35 and goes all the way above $1,000. Membership gives you free addmission for tours, advance notifications on events, four free entries to the Victorian Holiday Open House, and a subscription to the museum newsletter.
Membership Cost - $35
Single Day Tickets - Adults $6 - Seniors $5 - Children $2
8. Friends of the Metro Parks - This is one not to be missed. We all love our metro parks, they supply us with endless amounts of entertainment, educational classes, family fun days, a chance to explore with nature, and so much more. The Friends of the Metro Parks memberships range from $10-$1000 - and supports our Metro Parks. This is a membership I am proud to be part of because it's less about us and more about supporting our metro parks...as a perk though they do have Friend only events that are so much fun to attend.
Membership Cost - $10
Single Day Tickets - Free
9. Wexner Center for the Arts - The Wexner Center for the Arts has a wide variety of things to do for every person in your family from family events to date night events. They offer it all. Stay up to date on their film offerings and other events on their Facebook page. They are always adding more. Membership gives you free addmission to the gallery, advance ticket sales to events, discounts on film tickets, and performing arts tickets. The household membership is $150 and gives you access to member only events.
Membership Cost - $150
Single Day Tickets - Adults $8 - Seniors $6 - Children and Students FREE
10. Season tickets to your favorite sports team in Columbus. You have a few to choose from, The Columbus Crew, Clippers, or my personal favorite the Columbus Blue Jackets!!!! (I LOVE hockey...once upon a time before kids I had season tickets and loved every single second of it. We will get them again when our kids are old enough to enjoy the games with us). Season tickets are a little pricier than a typical membership but it's all about what interests you.