Sunday, June 14, 2009

Culture Passes

The public libraries here in the Valley have a new program that allows us to check out a "Culture Pass" for various museums around the valley. There are Culture Passes for the Heard Museum, the Desert Botanical Garden, the Phoenix Art Museum, Taliesin West, and a bunch of other places. Each library has 5 passes available for each venue. The downtown Mesa library makes one of each of the passes available each day Tuesday through Saturday. A culture pass will give you four free admissions to whichever location.

This has proven to be a very popular program. Who wouldn't want four free tickets to the Zoo? An adult ticket costs $16. And Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West costs $32 for each ticket. The four free tickets on the Culture Pass apply to the most expensive tickets, so we use them for two adults and two children.

To get a Culture Pass, show up about half an hour before the library opens, and get in line. Bring a book to read... at least at the Main Mesa library, the line is in the shade. If you are lucky, you will be first in line, and get to pick which Pass you would like. The first Passes to disappear are for the Zoo, the Science Center, and the Natural History Museum. If you don't get in line before the library opens at 10:00, the only pass left will be for the Bead Museum(?) in Glendale.

After a couple weeks of uncivilized behavior on the part of a few visitors who would cut in line, shove, and grab a big handful of pass cards in hopes of getting what they wanted, the library now has a "monitor" who spends five minutes getting people to line up and be polite. I never thought that free tickets to anything was worth running or shoving for, so I had to go back several times before I was able to get a Culture Pass. Now it seems the library has figured it out, and people are generally polite and helpful.

To limit the stampede, each family is only allowed to check out one pass per week, and two passes per month. That is two for the month of June, then July, then August, etc. As an added bonus, if you attend a location, and decide you would like an annual pass, the museum generally offer a 10% discount on membership when you visit with a Culture Pass.

So far we have been able to visit the Phoenix Art Museum and the Arizona Science Center using the passes. We saved $45 on the Arizona Science Center, which the children enjoyed immensely. We saved $28 on the Art Museum, which received mixed reviews from our children.

1 comment:

  1. Aha! You just answered my question on what a "culture pass" was! It sounds like you had a great time.