As a daytripper mom, I’m definitely a membership kind of gal. In fact, my personal credo might well be “Sign Me Up!” During the past year I’ve joined any number of museums and gardens including:

ECHO Center
Please Touch Museum
Philadelphia Zoo
Winterthur Estate
Longwood Gardens

Now, I don’t have a mania for belonging. And I’m not one for flinging cash around wantonly unless it involves the purchase of some fabulous costume jewelry. But what I’ve learned is three things:

1. Signing up for membership means I get e-mail and print communications reminding me of all the wonderful opportunities offered by the museum, opportunities I would surely miss otherwise. These opportunities do a lot to get me out of the house with my kids even when the laundry or groceries beckon.

2. Many museums offer either discounted or free admission to similar museums around the country. And since I tend to take daytrips to museums when I travel with my kids (which I do about three or four times a year), it’s like having the inside track to discounts when I go to a new city.

3. Often times the cost of a family membership pays off in only two visits, especially when you throw in the perks like free parking or discounts at the snack bar.

And so I’ve become a serial joiner, proudly showing off my collection of membership cards. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some daytrips to plan….