Now that Spring is finally here and Summer is just around the corner, I am so excited to spend more time outside with my family. We are definitely an outdoors family (except for camping; I see no reason to sleep outside when I can sleep in my nice comfy home) and we love going to the park, the beach, the botanical gardens and exploring. A lot of these places do tend to have fees which can add up and that is why I love museum passes. Not only do we have museum passes for some amazing indoor museums like the Long Island Children’s Museum and the American Air Power Museum; we also have passes for some great outdoors locations.
Museum passes need to be reserved ahead of time by date or by museum and should be reserved for the day you plan on attending. For more details on pass reservations and pick up check our website. I also like to check each museum or parks site for any additional rules or regulations before we head out.
Some of our family’s favorite outdoors passes have been:
Old Westbury Gardens This pass entitles you free admission/parking for two adults and their children. The house is closed right now but there are a number of different walks/gardens to visit. Last month we walked through the Walled Garden, the Rose Garden, the West Pond, the Terraces and stopped to visit the Thatched Cottage and even though it was very early spring there were already lots of flowers, plants and critters to see.
Empire Pass-New York State This pass provides unlimited day-use vehicle entry to most facilities operated by New York State Parks including forests, beaches, trails and more. And while most of the big beaches don’t start charging until Memorial Day some of the parks like The Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park in the picture start charging in April. This is one of our favorite parks; my kiddo and I were there at least once a week last April and May. Other parks we love to visit with this pass include Heckscher State Park, Sunken Meadow State Park, Belmont Lake State Park and Connetquot River State Park Preserve. The list of parks, preserves and beaches you can visit feels endless on this pass; for a full list check the state website.
Old Bethpage Village Restoration This pass includes free admission for up to four people. We haven’t been to Old Bethpage Village Restoration yet this year. When we last went two years ago our kiddo was really too young to find most of the houses and buildings interesting so we just walked along the paths and skipped going inside most of the buildings and we had a great time. We loved the walk, seeing the animals at the farm and both my husband and kiddo loved visiting the black smith’s shop. We will definitely be heading there again this summer.
Brooklyn Botanical Garden This pass includes free admission for two adults and all children under the age of 16. Way back before children I used to spend a lot of my free time in Brooklyn and this was one of my favorite places to go. I used to go with my friend Deb who was a member and we would spend hours just walking all the different garden paths with hot cups of tea and muffins. My husband and I have been talking about it and we think the kiddo might be able to handle the drive this year. I can’t wait to head back.
Nassau County Museum of Art This pass includes admission for two adults and four children. This is another museum we haven’t been to in a long time. It may surprise you to know that I can be kind of disorganized and at least twice I have gone when the museum was closed for an exhibition swap. Fortunately they have some lovely outdoor facilities including a sculpture garden, an arboretum with trails and a formal garden.
Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium This pass includes admission for two adults and four children. We’ve never been here before but another mom recommended it to me. In addition to two indoor aquariums they have five outdoor ponds. My kiddo loves all things water and I can’t wait to check this place out.
Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society This pass includes free admission for two adults and four children. I am including this pass because the walk on the boardwalk is really great and I think you all would enjoy it but we do not visit light houses because someone (me) is afraid of enclosed spaces and cannot successfully visit the top of a tall narrow lighthouse and my family is tired of having me get half way up and then walking me back down in panic mode. But if that is not a problem for you than this is another amazing outdoor adventure.
Do you have a favorite museum pass? What amazing outdoor adventures are you and your family looking forward to this summer? Let us know in the comments.