A membership to a museum or venue can pay for itself after as few as two visits, and in a family unit where simply going to the movies can be a double-digit affair, that's huge. But can your kid even be trusted in a museum? Are you really gonna lug the kids to the zoo enough to justify throwing down for the full-year package? We did the math on memberships at some of Portland's best membership-driven family destinations to lay out how quickly you're getting your money's worth, and whether you should reap the benefits of membership.
OMSI Family Plan
The deal: $115 admits two adults plus four children for a year.
Total regular one-time admission: $72 ($30 for two adults, $42 for four kids)
Number of trips to pay it off: 2
What a parent says: OMSI is Portland's best rainy-day asset, but it's clutch year-round. It has the low-key best little kids play area in the city, which makes it a no-brainer that actually stimulates the brain.
Oregon Zoo Family Membership
The deal: $169 admits three adults plus four children for a year.
Total regular one-time admission: $105.65 ($53.85 for two adults, $51.80 for four kids)
Number of trips to pay it off: 2
What a parent says: If you have kids under 12, the zoo is a great energy burner. Plus, kids love animals, so you can sneak some learning in. You'll be here more than you think.
Portland Children Museum Voyager Membership
The deal: $110 for three members
Total regular one-time admission:
$33 for three guests
Number of trips to pay it off: 4
Is it worth it? With a solid rotation of temporary exhibits to supplement indoor and outdoor mainstays that cater to interests ranging from bugs to art to splashing other kids in the face, it's a place that rewards exploration, and thus multiple visits.
Portland Art Museum Dual Membership
The deal: $99 for two adults (children under 17 get in free)
Total regular one-time admission: $40 for two adults
Number of trips to pay it off: 3
What a parent says: Kids under 10 love to touch everything, so bringing them here is a nightmare, and the membership fee doesn't include a babysitter so you can enjoy yourself.
Smartypants One-Kid Family Membership
The deal: $200 for unlimited studio use, plus one free art class and other discounts
Total regular one-time admission: $12 for one child (adults get in free)
Number of trips to pay it off: 17
What a parent says: This arts-and-crafts collective—with DIY art stations for painting, collage, sculpture and more—is a rainy-day ace in the hole for kids 1-10. But test it out before committing. If your kid really responded to Forky in Toy Story 4, go for it.
The deal: $110 for two adults, plus free admission for up to eight children ages 18 and under
Total regular one-time admission: $39.99 for two adults, then $13.95 per child age 6-17
Number of trips to pay it off: Varies depending on how many kids you have, but a family of three would only need three visits to get their money back.
Is it worth it? If you're a veritable Brady Bunch, there's no greater value. Even for a family of three, the combination of art, culture and the multiseason garden makes it a sneaker for the city's underdog MVP membership.
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