No thanks, Pittsburgh: Your museums cost too much for my young family

I booked our last minute trip to Pittsburgh without doing something I preach over and over:  Cost planning.

I used Chase Rewards points we’d been accruing for YEARS and booked the Doubletree by Hilton for a whopping $57 total.  I had a total budget for the weekend, but completely overlooked the cost of experiences.

A few blogs and friends mentioned some different museums.  Which was all hunky dory UNTIL I looked at the prices.  How are these museum prices family-friendly?!

Let’s review the total prices to visit each museum for our family of 5:

  • Pittsburgh Children’s Museum: $74
  • Warhol Museum: $60
  • Phipps Conservatory: $63
  • National Aviary (for entrance + one show): $92
  • Carnegie Science Museum: $111.60

A weekend at the museums could literally set you back just over $400.

header pgh museums

I haven’t even fed my children yet.  Or paid for city parking.

Guys, I am a free-market capitalist.  I don’t want anything for nothing.    But, holy heck, this is not even realistic.  I look at these prices and think, “no wonder people think that travel isn’t worth it…or completely unattainable.”

On top of that, the Children’s Museum, the Phipps Conservatory, AND the National Aviary all charge for my 2 YEAR OLD.  It’s not significantly lower, either.  The National Aviary price for admission + one show is $19 for adults and $18 for kids 2 and up.  Geez, thanks for the $1 markdown for my child who may be sleeping in the stroller throughout our visit.

I really hate sounding angry, but I was so disappointed.  I’m not typically a museum person (especially when I’m wanting to read signs and kids are eager to go from station to station), but I’m sad that it literally costs so much for a visitor to see the inside of a building.  I know these museums and zoos have lights to keep on, and try to persuade people to get memberships, but the typical middle-class, out of town family, is going to just stay away.

So as much as I enjoyed our time in Pittsburgh, I kind of have a bad taste in my mouth.

Maybe our next trip will be to Washington, D.C. where most of the museums are free…  you know, courtesy of my tax dollars. (I crack myself up)!

What do you think?  Please tell me I’m not the only one thinking this is absurd!

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