Reciprocal admissions programs

Did you know that purchasing an annual membership at one facility might earn you free admission at hundreds of others? Below is a list of Reciprocal Admissions Programs that Botanical Gardens, National Parks, Zoos, Aquariums, and Museums all over the country (or continent!) participate in. Guidelines and discounts vary by program.

“Local Members” are located within the metropolitan Huntsville, Alabama region. “Regional Members” are located within approximately two hours of Huntsville, with select additional institutions within 5-6 hours listed, as shown by the driving distance outlines on the map here.  While annual membership costs vary by facility, purchasing a membership at your local institution keeps money in your community, and goes towards the maintenance and operations of these wonderful assets. Many institutions also check ID’s upon entrance to verify your address and discount eligibility.



Botanical Gardens


Federal Lands, Parks, Monuments, Historic Sites

  • National Park and Federal Recreational Land Pass
  • 2000+ Federal Recreation Sites
  • Free Admission covers Day Use (entry) Fees for up to 4 adults and unlimited children. Camping & Activities extra.
  • Current military members and dependents eligible for free pass. Seniors (> age 62) may purchase a heavily discounted lifetime pass.  Permanently disabled individuals are eligible for a free lifetime “Access pass”. 4th graders are eligible for a free pass through the Every Kid in a Park program.
  • Off 400+ national park sites, ~120 charge an entrance fee ($3 – $30 / vehicle for up to a week). 31 Wildlife Refuges charge a fee (ranging from $3 – 8 per vehicle). Under the Federal Recreation Lands Enhancement Act, 80% of all fees collected stay at the site at which they were collected to fund critical projects and protect natural and cultural resources.
  • National Parks Free Days
  • Also see the websites: Find Your Park, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, U.S. Forest Service, Recreation.Gov


State Parks and historic sites


  • Unfortunately, Alabama does not have a state park pass program, as individual parks are supported by their own admission fees and individual season passes. However, some neighboring states have annual statewide park and/or historic site passes.
  • More info here


Zoos & Aquariums

  • American Zoological Association (AZA)
  • 200+ members 
  • 50-100% discount on Admission, depending on participating location
  • Many aquariums and zoos that do not participate in the national AZA reciprocity program do have local reciprocity agreements with a select handful of other nearby organizations. Check facility websites for details.


Children’s Museums

Science Museums


Southeastern US Museums


North American Museums


Smithsonian Museums

  • Smithsonian Affiliate Reciprocal Admission
  • 50+ Members 
  • Free General Admission for up to two people. Some affiliates have additional discounts for special events, educational programs, tours, and gift shops


Historical Museums, sites, and societies


Other Ways to Save Money

By Age or Employer
  • Various discounts are often available for active and veteran military members and their families, first responders, educators, students, retirees, disabled individuals, and employees of the government or certain companies. Just ask or review the membership brochures at whatever facility you visit.  
Private Clubs and Organizations
  • Various private institutions such as YMCA’s, health clubs, buying clubs, religious organizations, and alumni clubs have reciprocity or discounts for members at affiliated locations across the region or country. Be sure to check your benefits guides for any memberships you might hold.
General Public – Free Admission Days
  • Many facilities offer “free” days to the general public one or more times per year. Check the event calendars when planning your visit!