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Zoo and Aquarium Membership Cards

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Arizona Docent, 1 Aug 2017.

  1. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    My daughter, now 18, still has the same card with the same photo on it that she first got when she was 10! Is the annual card a new thing this year? I've had the same fellows card for 4 years too.
     
  2. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    Colchester card is hard plastic with a photo, re-issued annually. Allows entry to around 10 UK zoos plus Dublin & I think possibly still Rotterdam.

    From memory: Chester, Edinburgh, Twycross, Bristol, Marwell, Newquay, Paignton, Living Coasts, (Belfast?)

    Linton Zoo is a larger piece of thin card (I leave it in the car, it won't fit in my wallet!) which you stick your own photo on. No reciprocal entries.
     
    Last edited: 3 Aug 2017
  3. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    Does Colchester not get you in to both ZSL sites as well? If not then your maths is slightly off... ;) :p
     
  4. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    I've named 9 UK zoos & I said around 10, so if I'm one out then that is around 10 surely?! & it's 11 in total that I've named. Highland WP may be the 10th, not sure though.

    No doesn't get u in ZSL
     
  5. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    I realised that it was a badly phrased question when I posted it... What I meant to ask (in a round about kind of way!) is does the Colchester pass include the ZSL collections as they seemed to be the only major omissions from the major UK zoos.

    Also wasn't counting Belfast as you weren't sure. With London and Whipsnade and minus Belfast that would make ten.
     
  6. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    Just checked, Colchester pass gets you into the 10 other UK zoos mentioned ( including Belfast & Highland) plus Dublin & Rotterdam!
    £48 well spent!
     
    Last edited: 3 Aug 2017
  7. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm pretty sure I've been given a new card for each year I've renewed membership (have been a member for 3 years now). I've actually got to renew my membership this month, I'll let you know if I get a new card or not
     
  8. Alex Bensky

    Alex Bensky Well-Known Member

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    The Detroit Zoo issues new plastic membership cards every year. The expiration date and membership status is printed on the back--I'm "individual plus one," which means me and one guest. Like the poster above, I've never heard of an American zoo card with a photo. All the zoos I've been to in the US ask for another form of identification. Detroit gives a card and also one of those little tags you can put on a key ring. I've lost mine but I suppose if I asked they'd give me another.

    I combined a trip to my niece's wedding in upstate New York with my annual minor league baseball odyssey and hit the Erie and Buffalo zoos on the way. The Detroit Zoo offers reciprocity, which got me half off for Buffalo and although the list indicates I should have received half off at Erie, they let me in for free.

    As to reciprocity, I regret to report that because of the expected huge crowds due to last year's opening of a new penguin exhibit, Detroit no longer gives half off to members of the nearby Toledo Zoo. Toledo, however, still offers Detroit members a discount. I did send a polite objection to this to the Detroit website.
     
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  9. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I am very sorry to report Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has discontinued their nice hard plastic cards and now issue cheap paper cards. They are not even thick cardstock, just slightly thicker than normal paper. I wonder how long this will last as I could easily see people destroying their cards before the year is up.

    (Edit - unlike the permanent plastic cards, which had no printed expiration, the new cards have a printed expiration date, which I assume is the reason for the switch).
     
  10. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    That's disappointing, that will get torn up fairly quickly! Assuming they're part of the AZA reciprocal program, can it even be scanned?

    I usually join Philly, but this year did Elmwood Park. I like supporting a smaller zoo but I'll switch back to Philly next year for the free parking. Both are hard plastic and get re-issued every year, with expiration dates on them. No photos. My Philly one was printed right there when I purchased it at the zoo. Elmwood mailed mine. Both are the lowest tier available, one named member, and both come with 1 free guest per visit (guest must be accompanied by member on card). Philly also gives free parking, Elmwood has free parking already. Both are part of the AZA program. Elmwood additionally has a reciprocity 50% off program with a few non-AZA zoos (Reciprocal Zoos | Elmwood Park Zoo) and a local rewards thing with some local businesses.

    I was super surprised when I went to Maryland Zoo... my membership to Elmwood got myself and up to 4 guests 50% off tickets, instead of only being usable for the card holder. I've never seen another zoo let me use it on family members, as well.
     
  11. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member

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    Just saw this thread. What is a membership card and what does it do?
     
  12. ZooBinh

    ZooBinh Well-Known Member

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    Most zoos in America have one, so I think its an America thing. Its a card that gives members (you sign up or pay for it) free or discounted access for a year as long as they have the card with them.
     
  13. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    You pay a higher price than regular admission and get a card that lets you visit that zoo for free any time within a year. At most zoos the annual membership is between two and three times the price of a single day admission. So if you visit a zoo three or more times within a year you are saving money.
     
  14. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    Membership usually gives you access to exclusive events, days where you can get in before the zoo opens, free parking, discounts on food and in shops, access to members-only lounges in the zoo, things like that, as well.

    Along with the zoo you join, in the USA the AZA has a reciprocity program that gets you discounts into many other AZA institutions if you're a member of one in the program. https://www.aza.org/assets/2332/reciprocitychart.pdf Not all AZA places are part of it - most aquariums aren't, as well as many of the private (no government funding) zoos, like San Diego and Bronx - but plenty are.

    So for example: Philly individual membership is $90. Membership gets me in free plus one guest, along with free parking, and 10% off on food and in the gift shops (plus the other stuff mentioned above).
    As non-members, one visit for myself and a friend is $50 in tickets ($25 each) and $16 in parking. That's $66. Spending just $24 more for membership means the next time I visit, I'm already not spending anything on parking and getting one free entry. Any other visits that year cost me nothing, plus I save money on nearby (and not so nearby) zoos and get discounts in gift shops and on food.

    This year I joined Elmwood Park, where membership is nearly the same as Philly but regular admission is cheaper and parking is free, so it would take more visits to make up the cost. But because I go to other zoos, I've already made up for the cost - 50% off at Philly, 50% off at Dallas and a discount in the gift shop, 50% off at Henry Doorly, 50% off for myself and a guest at Maryland in Baltimore, 25% off in the gift shop at Salisbury (free admission), etc.
     
  15. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I have been to over one hundred zoos in USA and Europe and have never heard of a zoo with a member lounge. Where have you seen this?
     
  16. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    Philly, the Treehouse.
     
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  17. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member

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    I get the idea now.Just like a whole year pass that you can use, I've heard some amusement park with them.
     
  18. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Yes exactly. You can buy a year membership (pass) for almost any zoo, museum, botanical garden, amusement park, or any other attraction that charges general admission. Here in the USA you can also buy a yearly pass that gets you into every national park.
     
  19. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    Wait, you have to pay to enter National Parks in America too?
     
  20. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    Yes. In most states, you have to pay for state parks as well.