April 28, 2012
With young ones, it's sometimes hard to imagine paying full price to go to some of the museums or attractions and then only be able to spend a couple of hours there. As moms we know the value in taking our kids to the museum, gallery, zoos and other educational venues but it's so hard to fork over the admission fees when you know that you can only spend a couple of hours there due to naps/meltdowns.
That's why I think it's so great that some cities are now offering passes to various places for free through the libraries. It makes access so much easier for families and for people who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford it. It also gives you a chance to check out some of the places and maybe even buying a pass if you really like it! (like the zoo, science centre, ROM...)
Sunlife sponsors the Toronto program and it's pretty fabulous. You can pick up a pass at your local library for the following venues:
AGO - Art Gallery of Ontario
Bata Shoe Museum
Black Creek Pioneer Village
City of Toronto Historic Museums:
Colborne Lodge in High Park
Fort York National Historic Site
Gibson House Museum
Spadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens
Todmorden Mills Heritage Site
Gardiner Ceramics Museum
Museum of Inuit Art
Ontario Science Centre
ROM - Royal Ontario Museum
Textile Museum of Canada
But you might have to line up for the ROM, AGO, ZOO or Science Centre passes as they are pretty popular and you might have to go to a different library than your own if yours is really busy or to get the venue of your choice.
The passes come in at a set time/day at your library and some of the popular venues do get picked up fast! This morning I lined up for the ROM pass, 15 mins before the library opened--but I got it! The key is that you shouldn't have your heart set for one particular venue--know that you might get your second or third choice. But it's a great opportunity to explore Toronto!
Also, keep in mind that during the summer a lot of families will want the passes so it might be harder for you to get them! The pass is valid for a period of time--so you can get a pass now and use it at a later date. The expiry period currently is 3 months!!! So take them out now for the summer!!! You can't get more than one pass a day, but you can get passes over and over again and for different venues.
Similarly, other cities that you might visit with your family have the program too (every city runs it a bit differently though) so if you are visiting family/friends they could help you get some passes or tag along with you on an adventure without paying the fees.
Their program is neat! Lots of venues( since they are the capital and house many national treasures and you can even get a Gatineau park ski pass) and you loan it just like a library book and then return it by a set date.
Similar to Ottawa, you loan it like a book, and you can use it for the Royal BC museum--which is a great museum!
Wherever you travel, if you are visiting someone locally, be sure to ask if they have a similar program!