I'm a big fan of the Lawrence Hall of Science, and science museums in general, but is the price of membership really worth it? I wanted to evaluate what's included and excluded in the membership dues and compare it to how many times my family would need to attend to break even.
Regular admission prices to Lawrence Hall of Science:
$12 Adults; $10 Children 3–18; Seniors 62+
FREE for children age 2 and under, UC Berkeley students and staff.
Currently offering FREE admission to anyone displaced by the North Bay Fires.
Tickets for shows are $4 per person.
Perks of membership to Lawrence Hall of Science:
- Admission for one year
- Discounts and priority registration for classes, workshops and camps at the Hall
- Invitations to members-only openings and family events
- 10% Discount at the on site Discovery Store
- Discounts on children’s birthday parties at the Hall
- Free or reduced admission to more than 300 ASTC science centers and museums worldwide! (reciprocal membership is one of my favorite reasons for joining a museum)
At the basic level, you get all of the above perks. We kicked in for the “family premium” membership to bring along visiting grandparents, so our membership includes a few more goodies:
- Up to four personalized member cards
- Two additional guests anytime
- One single-use six person pass
- Four digital theater passes (don't call me a planetarium!)
- Free or reduced admission to over 130 children’s museums through the Association of Children’s Museums Reciprocal Network! (the upgraded membership gives FREE admission to the Bay Area Discovery Museum)
($125 of this is tax-deductible)
What membership doesn't get you:
- Free classes, camps, parties, workshops
- Free parking all the time
The break-even point, doing the math on my family:
The Family Plus membership costs $135. Gulp. With two adults and three kids under age 18, a single visit would run us $54 plus parking so we would need to visit the museum somewhere between 2 and 3 times in a year to get our value out of it, even sooner if we bring visiting grandparents!
When it's not worth it to become members:
Membership might not be a great idea if you have a best friend with fancy membership since they can invite guests for free. Other times when you might want to skip it: you have a young toddler (who's already FREE), you work for Cal, you have a membership to another reciprocal museum, or you're just not that into awesome science.
[Photos by me; rate information updated 12/13/17]