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May 18, 2010


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This is offered at our local library system (in SE Michigan). They have tickets to all the cool local attractions (Henry Ford museum and Rouge factory tour are included, along with other museums, zoos, etc) and when you check it out you typically get 4 free entrances. Only problem is that there is often a long waiting list for them, so you can't plan in advance when you'd like to use them (like if you had friends or family in town for example).

FMF- You live in Grand Rapids, right? The Grand Rapids public library system does offer this. I've been to a Griffins game with friends twice now for free courtesy of the library. (Try to get tickets for a Friday night when they have $1 beers and $1 hot dogs. Just make sure you get them before the game before they sell out.) Based on what your commenter describes, I suspect they live in GR too (local botanical gardens and sculpture park = Meijer Gardens). GR public libraries have tickets to all those events.

Our local library has a large collection of DVDs that can be checked out free of charge.
I don't avail myself of this but a couple of my hiking companions do this regularly.

I still favor Netflix because they have over 100,000 titles, have no late fees, and I can read reviews by other members and consequently seldom rent one that I don't end up giving a 5 star rating and a great review myself. Netflix also has some sophisticated software that searches through their titles and your ratings to give you personalized suggestions, based upon your tastes, of other movies that you may like. Bottom line - their software for searching their database and reading reviews by other members makes finding good entertainment a snap, also since I live near a few miles from their headquarters I get next day postal delivery and don't have to drive to a store several times/week.

If the deals are exceptional, you could always get a card for the library in the area where the attractions exist. Then when you want to go to that attraction, stop or call the library first to see if you can get a deal on the tickets.

I do this for the library that is close to where I work (the distance is about 2 miles).

They have this in my local library, in Toronto, too. They're intended as "family passes" though I think so you couldn't bring 6 adults with you to the museum. And they're popular so hard to get a hold of!

I also have gotten discounts to museums, zoos, etc with my transit pass and my husband's CAA membership card. It's always worth asking about their discount programs when you're paying to get in.

I'll look into this in Houston...sounds pretty cool! We use our library for regular books, movie rentals during regular tv seasons when we have Netflix on hold, and for audio books for long drives. I'm a huge library fan!

Dan --

Yes, I do. But I believe that the offers are only available at certain branches of the library, correct? Or can you order them online and have them sent to your local branch like you can books?

@Dan in GR, I live in Grand Rapids too and have taken advantage of these deals at the library also.

I learned that for these attractions, our library allows only one free pass to be checked out per week, system-wide. The last one we used was for the Art Museum - two months ago.

I went to the Main Library downtown and found out when the pass for the Art Museum could be checked out next. They said it was on Tuesday. So, on Tuesday at 9:00 am, I was 3rd in line at the door when they opened, and was able to check out that pass. Funny thing was, the person right in front of me was also there to check out a pass to the Meijer Gardens.

You've got a week to use the pass once, and then it expires. You can check them out at any library branch, but the Main one opens the earliest, so you have the best chance of getting them there.

This piqued my interest so I checked out my local library website (we take the kids there a lot during the summer when they are out of school but not so much the rest of the year.) Unfortunately my library does not offer this service but I did find two things they do offer online which are a great deal.
They allow you to check out ebooks and audio books over the web. Part of Marylands eLibrary initiative. All you need to do is enter your library card number and then you can check them out and read (listen) at your leisure. You get them for two weeks. The older books that are in the public domain are even burnable to cd/dvd and can be played on portable players.

I've used this benefit many times living in the Boston/Cambridge/Brookline area, especially when I have visitors in town. At most, the pass gets each person in for $5 or less or free. Between this and the Bank of America "Museums On Us" first weekends, I never pay full price for admission!

Another cool thing our library does is a summer reading club for kids and adults, which offers a bunch of free prizes for those who complete their summer reading goals.

You need to sign up by a certain date and decide how many books you're going to read over the summer months. Then you keep track of what you read and bring your tracking sheet into the library by the end date.

Adults often receive book bags or mugs as prizes. My kids (I have 5) get 5 or 6 prizes, including coupons for free meals at local restaurants, and free tickets to the local minor league baseball, the local hockey team, and the local car race track.

In addition, some years, they've gotten a free t-shirt, book bag or a lunch bag. Last year, the library did something special for teens where they got to enter drawings to win iPods and other "big" prizes.

Our kids are great readers anyway, but these prizes give them extra motivation, and they give us something to look forward to in late summer/fall when we get to cash in on the freebies.

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