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The Gift of Membership


For the last few years when the holidays roll around I’ve heard or taken part in many conversations centered around the nightmare of having an overload of toys suddenly descend into our homes. The trouble is, no one really knows what else to buy. Lately I’ve read a few posts and excerpts about buying experiences instead of things so I sat down to make a list of a few local memberships that should be on everyone’s hot list.


Coastal Heritage Society

6 levels of membership allow you to choose based on your specific needs but for this post the Household Membership is what I’ll cover.

Membership Includes:

  • Unlimited Admission (for 5 people) to all six museums, click HERE for a full list
  • 10% discount at gift shops
  • FREE site tours by train at Georgia State Railroad Museum
  • Invites to lectures and programs
  • Monthly e-newsletter
  • Exclusive invitations to special events

Pricing:

$100/year – that’s $8.33 a month

Why this membership is worth it.

First and foremost, if you have kids and haven’t already checked out the Savannah Children’s Museum you’re missing out. The space is amazing with two levels of outdoor play and has a train car that houses a small indoor play area WITH air conditioning! They are located next to the Georgia State Railroad Museum so if you plan accordingly you can tack on a train ride and really wow the kids. Check the Site Tour by Train schedule, via their site, HERE. More information on the Savannah Children’s Museum can be found HERE.

The second reason is a math problem…

  • 2 adults and 2 kids admission to the Savannah Children’s Museum ($32) + a train ride at the Georgia State Railroad Museum for everyone ($36) = more than HALF of the cost of a Household Membership (that’s $68 for the people still counting on their fingers LOL)

Even if you scrap the train ride you would only have to go four times during your membership to make it worth the money.

The final reason…ALL the other museums included in the membership!! Go watch the “Loyalists & Liberty” program at the Savannah History Museum ($28 for a family of 4), take in breathtaking marsh views at Pin Point Heritage Museum ($28 for a family of 4), see a cannon firing at Old Fort Jackson (also $28 for a family of 4), or take a walk through the Harper Fowlkes House to see how families lived in the mid-to-late 1800s ($34 for a family of 4, although maybe you want to leave the kiddos at home for this one). You could only visit each site once during the membership year and it pays for itself.

Coastal Heritage Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation which operates six historic sites in Savannah. For all the details you need on the Coastal Heritage Society click HERE.


Friends of Oatland Island

Friends of Oatland Island, or FOO, offers 5 levels of memberships ranging from $20 – $250. For this post I’ll be covering their Family Membership.

Membership Includes:

  • Admission for 2 adults and 4 children
  • Discounts for select special events
  • e-newsletter
  • FOO lecture series invites
  • Membership appreciation day
  • Voucher for a FOO bumper sticker

Pricing:

$50/year – that’s $4.16 a month

Why this membership is worth it.

Oatland Island provides a great outdoor nature walk with paths that are well kept, marked, and mostly shaded. The animals are spaced nicely along the way so the kids aren’t bored when they get tired during the walk. I also like that I feel it can be divided into three small visits if someone in your party isn’t up for the whole path (and with a membership you don’t feel like you need to do the whole trek at once to get your money’s worth). When Christopher was younger we would go out and just do one of the “sections”. It gave us a good animal adventure without the whining – well without as much whining. Ha!

For all the details you need on the Oatland Island Wildlife Center click HERE and for additional information on a FOO membership click HERE.


Friends of Georgia State Parks

With 5 levels of membership ranging from $55 – $150 you’re sure to find one that meets your needs. I’ll be covering two of them below.

Membership Category with Inclusions:

The Traveler

  • One vehicle parking pass

The Supporter

  • Three free camping nights
  • Two vehicle parking passes
  • 20% off lodging
  • Two free picnic shelter rentals

Pricing:

The Traveler $55, The Supporter $125

Why this membership is worth it.

With 64 or 65 parks and historical sites on the list…you guys I counted the list, which you can find HERE, then got sidetracked and can’t remember the exact number…you can explore so many places here in Georgia. 7 of the places are listed as “coastal” so they are likely all within an hour or so (if not less) from Savannah.

If you camp The Supporter membership pays for itself quickly. A standard campsite at Skidaway Island State Park is listed at $42/night. If you camp the 3 nights it’s almost like they paid you to come camp. If you haven’t visited Skidaway Island State Park you really should. They have several good hiking trails that are child/stroller friendly and one of the best playgrounds in the area.

Even if you don’t camp these memberships are great. State parks make great day trips or quick stops to stretch your legs on longer drives. At $5/car per visit it is a nice thing to have in the glove box. I look forward to the membership my parents buy us every year.

For all the details you need on Friends of Georgia State Parks, click HERE.


At the end of the day, if Grandma and Grandpa insist on buying toys and you just can’t handle any more ask them to donate what they want purchase to a great organization like Toys for Tots or consider adopting a family and blessing them with the goodies.

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meet the photographer jaden

Working on my dream and meeting special families along the way, I believe everyone deserves amazing photographs which capture the moments in life that bring them joy. I photograph families, like yours, who wish they could freeze time, even for just a second, and always remember the special moments of life.

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