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Ohio Zoo Memberships – help for finding the best plan for the price.


Best Ohio zoo membership for plan and price.


Today I’ve been busy researching and compiling information about what Ohio has to offer for zoo and science museum family memberships with a focus on saving money. Primarily  I’m focusing on the zoos since I may go with a dual reciprocal program membership. What I mean by that is – a place that includes BOTH free /or discounted  general admission to ZOOs and Science Museums.


We’ve had a couple different membership plans over the years and the last one we had expired with the month of August (2012).  At one time, we had a membership to the McKinley Museum (current Family Membership is $52) which includes the ASTC Reciprocal benefit. We could visit other science museums for free or discounted prices.


Then, for the next two years we had a membership from Curiodyssey (formerly Coyote Point) which included reciprocal benefits to BOTH zoos and science museums.  But then we learned that we just don’t hit up the zoos as much as we do the science museums.


I’ve included a link to each zoo so you can visit the site for yourself. Please verify my information if you decide to act on it. NOTE:  There are varying levels of memberships including “individual to single parent” and each place may have a list of perks only good at their location.


Tip:  Sign up with Groupon (it’s free) and watch for discounted offers to zoos and other fun places.


Zoo & Science Museum Combined Reciprocal Membership


I only know of two places that offer such a thing: Boonshoft Museum (Family Plan $85) in Dayton, Ohio and Curiodyssey (Family Plan $75) in San Mateo, California- all for the one price of membership.


Imagine paying $50 to one museum with reciprocal privileges to only science museums and then paying another $70 to a zoo for reciprocal privileges to only zoos where you will still most likely have to pay half-price?  That’s $120 off the top.  You could get all of that for as low as $75 at one place.


For two years we had the Family Membership to Curiodyssey. We live in Ohio and have never been to visit San Mateo. We were getting free general admission to a number of places including the Akron Zoo until the zoo changed their policy and now charges half-price to reciprocal members. We don’t visit zoos very often, but the savings is so great even with only getting half-off that I may just purchase this plan again.


So, do the math and see what’s in the best interest of  your family!


Akron Zoo

Winter prices:  $6  per person
Summer prices:  $7  (2-14 yrs)   $10.00 (adults)
Family Membership (includes reciprocal plan)  $71 one year


Cleveland Metro Zoo

Depends on season:   $8.25/ $5.25 (2-11 yrs)    $12.25/ $8.25 (adults)  [May not include Rainforest].
Family Membership (incl. reciprocal plan)  $75   [Membership is through Cleveland Zoological Society].


Toledo Zoo

Winter prices:  $5.50 (kids)  $7  (older kids/adults)   Regular price:   $11 (2-11 yrs and 60+)    $14 (12-adults)
Family Membership (with reciprocal plan)  $73 (Lucas County residents)  $79 (others)


Cincinnati Zoo

$10 (2-12 yrs)  and  $15  (13-61 yrs)
Family Memberships (w/ reciprocal plan): Single Parent  $75, Regular Family  $89


Columbus Zoo

$9.99 (2-9 yrs)  and  $14.99 (10-59 yrs)
Family Memberships (w/ reciprocal)  $94 or $99 and up.


The Wilds (Cumberland, Ohio)

$15 (4-12 yrs)  and  $20 (adults)
Family Membership (w/ reciprocal plan) $110


African Safari Wildlife Park (Port Clinton)

Prices based on Season:   $9.95/  $12.95 (4-6 yrs)  and  $15.95 / $21.95 (7 and up)
Family Membership (w/ reciprocal plan)  $74.95


Boonshoft shares information about both the ASTC and the AZA reciprocal lists here.  If you decide to go with a membership BECAUSE of the reciprocal program benefits of free or discounted admission to other places I recommend you look over the list and call ahead to those other places to be sure they are still in the program. The rules can change and you don’t want to waste your money :)  .


*Affiliate link is shared in this post.
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Tracy Zdelar

Owner/Editor at Hall of Fame Moms
Trying to keep the main thing, the main thing - in the midst of my busy life. I work from home and as a Classical Conversations tutor so I can stay at home and homeschool my boys. I also write for free coffee and use these :) - alot!

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  1. You can combine the Columbus Zoo membership with the Wilds membership (which is absolutely amazing) for $75, but has to be done through the Wilds’ website.

    • Thank you for sharing that!

  2. The Greensboro Science Center in Greensboro, NC offers a AZA & ASTC membership reciprocal program.

  3. Can I ask, being your in Ohio why did you choose the California one over Boonshaft…. we live in Ohio too and wondering. We do visit zoos (Toledo/Fort Wayne mostly) but do museums.. I would say 50/50. Been thinking about this a lot.

    • Hi Tara! I think at the time it was cheaper than Boonshoft. After a couple years of that CA membership we dropped it and went back to just a local museum membership that give us reciprocal visits to other science museums. We just don’t do zoos often and the one zoo closest to us decided to charge.


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