Visit Museums and More for Free with Discover & Go

Neither Bonggamom nor Silicon Valley Mamas have any affiliation with the Discover & Go program. No compensation was received for this post.

DiscoverGoJuly is almost over, and my kids have just three weeks left before school starts. The kids attended all their camps. We’ve done all of our road trips. We’ve watched all but one of this summer’s must-see movies. We’ve watched all but one of this summer’s must-see soccer games. I run myself ragged arranging playdates and making sure they’re not tearing each other apart with boredom.  And there are *still* three weeks left!

Thank goodness for our local library. They’ve helped stave off brain drain and boredom, supplying an endless stream of books to read and videos to watch (at last count, we have a total of 47 items checked out, plus or minus a few recently returned and a few more on hold). The amount I’ve saved by borrowing instead of buying (late fees notwithstanding) could pay for a semester of college tuition!

This summer I’ve discovered an extra reason to be grateful for my library card: it gets our family free or discounted admission at museums and attractions all around the Bay Area. The Discover & Go program is a relatively new service provided by libraries around the Bay Area. Each library has a limited number of passes to select venues (museums, galleries, aquariums, etc..), and the discount varies by venue.

Using a Discover & Go pass is much like checking out a library book. You can “check out” a pass by logging on to your library’s Discover & Go site and reserving a pass for a certain venue, on a certain date. Passes are available on a first-come-first-served basis, and you can reserve two passes at any time (some venues limit usage of the Discover & Go pass to once per year). Once you’ve reserved a pass, you can print it out and take it with you to the venue (it is only valid on your reserved date) to avail of the discount.

Some of the discounts offered are lame (come on, Tech Museum — just $3 off a combo entrance/IMAX ticket??), but most of them offer serious savings. So far we’ve used the Discover & Go pass to visit the Aquarium of the Bay (free admission for 2 adults & 2 children), the California Academy of Sciences, the Lawrence Hall of Science, and the Pacific Pinball Museum (free admission for 1 adult & 1 child). Add up all those entrance fees and it works out to hundreds of dollars that I’ve saved over the summer — not to mention my sanity.

City and county libraries participating in the Discover & Go program include: San Jose, Oakland, Redwood City, Palo Alto, San Mateo, Costa Contra County, San Mateo County, and Santa Clara County. Check with your local library to see whether they offer the program. If they don’t, I suggest starting a campaign to get them to offer it — if the first day of school seems ages away and your kids are driving you crazy, it’s a lifesaver!

Bonggamom blogs at Finding BonggamomBonggamom Finds and  The Savvy Source.  You can also find her on Instagram and Pinterest.

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