Are you planning to travel with your family and you are wondering what the best reciprocal programs are? You have come to the right place. In this post, we will explore some of the best reciprocal programs available.

Reciprocal programs are great for families with a zest for learning and adventure. There are so many opportunities for your family to explore the world while giving your children an education they will forever remember. Here are three amazing reciprocal programs you will enjoy.

Family at aquarium

The 3 Best Reciprocal Programs for Traveling Families

There are a variety of reciprocal program types available. These programs will help you save money while you explore and enjoy our country. Here are three reciprocal programs that will make your travels worthwhile:

  • National Parks Pass
  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums
  • Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums

Combining travel with sightseeing adventures can be expensive and exhausting if you have not planned your trip and have not taken advantage of the programs available to you. The above reciprocal programs are a wonderful way to explore and learn. Let’s look at each of these reciprocal programs to see what they offer.

What is the National Parks Pass?

Any avid traveling family should have a national parks pass. This pass, known as America the Beautiful pass, will offer you entry to any national park in the United States. Visiting the national parks is a way for you and your family to learn about our natural world.

How Much Does the America The Beautiful Pass Cost?

The America the Beautiful Pass can be purchased online for $80. It is an annual pass that can be used at the 423 national park sites as well as more than 2,000 other sites managed by our federal government.

To purchase the America the Beautiful pass online through the USGS store. It will cost $80 plus shipping. You will receive your card in the mail within two to five business days of ordering. They can also be purchased in person at many different locations. You can search for a place to obtain an America the Beautiful pass by visiting National Parks and type in the state and type of pass you are looking for. 

Hint: if you buy the pass in person you will not pay the shipping and handling fees of up to $15.

What Does America the Beautiful Pass Offer?

In the larger parks, there are learning opportunities everywhere you look. There are often places explaining why that area was chosen for the national park and you will learn about the: 

  • Geology and geography of the sights.
  • The history of the area.
  • The human inhabitants and how the area has been used culturally in all human history.
  • The animals that live there.
  • And so much more

With the pass, you will also receive discounts at many national campgrounds and day-use areas. Your children can also take advantage of the Junior Ranger Program where they can take an oath to protect their parks and receive their badge. Park activities and educational materials will be provided at many sites.

What is The Association of Zoos and Aquariums?

The association of zoos and aquariums is a nonprofit organization. They focus on:

  • Public education
  • Science
  • Recreation
  • Conservation

This is to ensure the best care and accommodations for captive wildlife of terra and aquatic animals.

There are many zoos and aquariums that are part of the AZA. By becoming a member at your local zoo or aquarium you may receive discounts when visiting other AZA-accredited facilities.

How Do You Become a Member of the AZA

To become a member of the AZA you can check with your local zoos and aquariums to see if they are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. If they are, you can register with them by obtaining a zoo membership.

By becoming a member of the AZA you will be able to visit over 240 sites in the United States, as well as others in other countries. The list of participating zoos and aquariums can change so it is always wise to contact the facility before showing up.

Visiting wildlife parks and zoos is a fantastic way for your family to learn about the amazing animals in our world. 

What is the Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums?

The Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums is also known as ROAM. It is an organization of participating museums. When you join a museum that is part of ROAM you will enjoy discounts and benefits to other participating museums stores and restaurants.

You can find a list of museums that are part of ROAM and download a pdf list to take with you. ROAM is free for your museum to participate in. Here are some guidelines and benefits for the reciprocal program:

  • General admission price for two or more guests
  • Members only access 
  • Member price for special events

 You will need to contact the museum or facility you plan on attending to receive their complete guidelines.

The Best Reciprocal Programs for Traveling Families

There are so many wonderful and amazing places to visit with your family. There are also many reciprocal programs available to you so that you can save money on your adventures. Aside from these national programs above, you should also look into programs by state.