There’s something to be said about a gift that keeps on giving and annual passes and memberships seem to be worth their wear. For under $150, families can have access to the area’s art, history and science museums, recreational facilities, aquariums, theaters and national parks throughout the year. Here are just a select few:
Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany
Family pass: $85
Basic annual benefits include free unlimited admission to the museum, discounted registration fees for programs and events, a 10 percent discount in the museum shop, invitations to special members-only events and reciprocal benefits through the Empire State Museums Reciprocal Program (ESMRM), which gives members free admission to and museum shop discounts at selected museums in New York.
Family pass: $80
Annual passes includes free unlimited general admission, four free passes to the Suits-Bueche Planetarium, a 10 percent discount at the museum shop as well as a 10 percent discount on birthday parties at the museum. Plus, the pass gets you in free to nearly “350 participating science centers and museums worldwide” through both the ESMRM and Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC).
MASS MoCA, Williamstown, Mass.
Family/Dual pass: $95
This short road trip is a crowd favorite for a reason. The individual pass will get you unlimited free gallery admission, a 10 percent discount at MASS MoCA performances, the Lickety Split Cafe, Hardware: the MASS MoCA store, MASS MoCA by Design, and The Porches Inn, free admission to exhibition openings and a subscription to the museum’s seasonal event calendar. Dual and family passes include the free gallery admission for two adults and a member’s children (under 18) and free admission to exhibit galleries for two adults along with the previously mentioned perks.
National Museum of Dance, Saratoga Springs
Family pass: $60
Kids, student, senior: $25
The kids’ Playpass gets children under 12 years old a free pass to the museum as well as access to the Children’s Wing at any time. Their admission also includes free entry for one adult supervisor. Students, seniors and individual memberships include free admission to the museum with an additional 10 percent discount in museum gift shop, reduced rates to special events and one free admission pass for a one time use. The family membership include these perks along with an additional museum membership decal (woohoo!) and two guest passes.
The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs
Family pass: $80-125
Individual: $50 – 80
The annual donation-based “Friends of The Tang” membership includes invitations to exhibition openings, talks by artists, exhibition tours, musical performances and family events, free entry to the galleries and a 10 percent discount at the Tang museum store. Members also receive updates on regional Tang events in major U.S. metropolitan areas. Donors of more than $125 receive access to the ESMRM through their membership card.
Empire Pass, for use all over New York State
For $65 the pass can be used from April 1 to March 31 the following year, giving you–and however many people you can fit in your car, boat, or motorcycle–annual access to beaches, picnic spots, scenic overlooks and lakes. A list of all participating campgrounds and state parks can be found here.
VIA Aquarium, Rotterdam
Family pass: $140
Your annual membership pass will include unlimited admission for 365 days, express entry, previews of special exhibitions, $2 off guest admission, 10 percent discount in our Aquarium Gift shop and discounts at Via Entertainment programs and special events.
The Capital Region is home to quite a few historic theaters–Proctors in Schenectady recently celebrated their 90-year anniversary and The Palace is very nearly there. These cultural hotspots are bringing in nationally touring theater productions, comedy shows and concerts.
The Palace, Albany
Soloist – $95
Director – $150
Get advanced notice of upcoming shows, members only access to presale tickets to shows at The Palace as well as Cohoes Music Hall, priority and premium seating, personalized Box Office service, invitation to “members only” events and activities, low ticket fees (a savings of up to $12 per ticket), exclusive VIP experiences, backstage opportunities and a membership card good for discounts at select area merchants and restaurants. We’re talking deals like 16 percent off purchases at Capital Wine and Spirits, 10 percent off at spots like McGeary’s or French Press Coffee & Creperie, and more. The Director level membership includes all of these benefits, plus two complimentary tickets to the Palace Movie Series and waived ticket fees on purchases via phone.
For $90, supporters of Proctors get their name in the Playbill, advanced notice of upcoming shows and an opportunity to volunteer at select events. Bump up to $150 for backstage tours and receptions, advanced purchase opportunities and the ability to exchange tickets up to two hours before a show.
Capital Repertory Theater, Albany
If you can hold out an I.O.U gift until the theater season refreshes at about mid-February, a subscription package with The Rep and Proctors isn’t a bad way to go. Prices vary depending on the shows that have been scheduled per season and the estimated price range for 2017-2018 went from $140 to $430. Subscription holders pick seats for shows before they are available to the public and can save up to 40 percent off touring ticket prices as well as a 10 percent discount for shows at The Rep and Proctors shows. You can exchange tickets up to 24 hours before a show and a one-time fee of $18 takes away those pesky ticket fees. Plus, you’ll receive one free ticket to a “Try Me” show provided via Rep listings to broaden your theatrical horizons.