How to Save Money at Your Favorite Place to Visit


When you’re a family of six, it’s not cheap to go out. Even with free admission for our baby, a trip to the zoo costs $43.50 and a trip to Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) costs $49. Ouch! And that’s just for the price of admission and doesn’t include extras like parking, train rides, submarine tours, or foot massages. Just thinking about the cost is making me poorer. What’s a dad to do? Read on and I’ll tell you how you can get into popular attractions for free or at a discount.

Here’s my tip for frugal dads and moms: a lot of places offer special days when you get in at a discount or for free — that’s when you should go. Duh. Thanks to these special discount days, our entire family can go to OMSI or the zoo for only $10. That’s a saving of 77% to 80%. And thanks to the Internet, you can find the special promotion days listed on the attraction’s web site. You might have to look around because most of these places don’t highlight their special promo on their home page. Try looking on the pricing or special events page. If you still can’t find it, do a Google search on the name of the place and the word free or discount. And if that fails, call them and ask if they have a special day when admission is discounted.

Here are a few places in the Portland, Oregon area with free or discount days for moms and dads:

Oregon ZooOregon Zoo
On the second Tuesday of every month you can tour the zoo and pet the lions for the discounted price of $2 per person.
Regular rates:

  • General Admission (12-64): $10.50
  • Seniors (65 and over): $9.00
  • Youth (3-11): $7.50

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
During $2 Days, OMSI visitors pay only $2 per person for general admission on the first Sunday of each month, as well as discounted admission of $5 to the Planetarium, OMNIMAX Theater, USS Blueback submarine, and Alderaan.
Regular rates:

  • Adults: $11.00
  • Youth (3-13): $9.00
  • Senior (63+): $9.00

Portland Children's MuseumPortland Children’s Museum
Thanks to a grant from Target, the Portland Children’s Museum is open and free on the first Friday of each month from 5pm-8pm (they normally close at 5pm).
Regular rates:

  • General (1-54): $8.00
  • Military or Senior (55+): $7.00

Portland Art MuseumPortland Art Museum
The Portland Art Museum offers free admission on the fourth Friday of every month from 5-8 p.m. The Museum also offers four free Sundays a year scheduled in conjunction with Museum Family Day (the next one is November 8, 2009).
Regular rates:

  • Adults: $12.00
  • Seniors (55 and up): $9.00
  • Children (17 and younger): Free

Portland Classical Chinese GardenPortland Classical Chinese Garden
Last week on October 8th, the Chinese Garden offered free admission to all visitors in partnership with the Oregon Cultural Trust to celebrate the Oregon Day of Culture.
Regular rates:

  • Adults: $8.50
  • Seniors (62 and above): $7.50
  • Students (6-18 and college students with ID): $6.50

7 thoughts on “How to Save Money at Your Favorite Place to Visit

  1. Tomorrow (10/17) is Family day at the Oregon History Museum. Two children are admitted free with one paid adult admission.

    Thanks for the tips on the other places. I have been wanting to check out the new exhibit at the zoo.

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