Maximizing your ECHO Membership


I have had a membership to the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center since my son was a toddler. I loved it, as many local families do, because it’s a fun place to go, especially on days that are too cold or too hot to be outside. The membership also just makes sense because it pays for itself after only a few visits.

I recently upgraded to a small family membership so our little family of four could enjoy ECHO together. Now that we have upgraded, we are really maximizing our membership by taking advantage of the ASTC Passport program. So far we have gone to two other museums for free! All we had to do was show our ECHO membership card and an id.

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 Using Your Membership in Boston

On Mother’s Day weekend we went to visit some friends in Boston. While we were there we went to the Harvard Natural History Museum for free using our ECHO membership. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a University Natural History Museum whether it was Harvard or not. I was definitely expecting a couple rooms of taxidermied animals, but didn’t have high expectations. Turns out it was really cool with a lot of “wow factor.” There were giant dinosaur fossils, animals from every continent and of every type, a huge room full of gorgeous gems. The kids ran excitedly from room to room looking at everything. My son remarked to almost every animal we pointed out to him, “Oh yeah, I learned about that on Wild Kratts!” The museum was definitely worth the visit. I just wished my kids had a longer attention span (and that it wasn’t right before dinner time) so we could have seen more.

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Gems at the Havard Museum of Natural History
Gems at the Havard Museum of Natural History

We also went to the Boston Children’s Museum. We had been 3 years prior, but I either hadn’t yet bought my ECHO membership or perhaps (sadly) forgot to take advantage of it. It’s a great museum because it has many different kinds of exhibits aimed at different age groups. My daughter loved the toddler playroom and listening to the live music session. She and my son both enjoyed climbing a tall, crazy structure in the main atrium, playing in the gigantic water tables, a construction exhibit, and playing with shadows. All exhibits are very hands-on and experiential learning-based. Each time we go has different things to offer. We played until everyone was hungry, then walked to the Barking Crab restaurant for lunch.

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The ATSC Passport Program gives you access to over 350 museums in all 50 states plus several other countries including Canada. Seriously, if you think you will vacation somewhere, there’s a good chance there is a participating museum nearby!  For the full 2014 list see the ASTC passlist.

Museums you could see for free with you ECHO membership via ASTC
Museums you could see for free with you ECHO membership via ASTC

Other participating museums in the ASTC Passport Program that I personally would love to go because they are close by include:


  • The Boston Museum of Science
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

New Hampshire

  • The Mount Washington Museum and Weather Discovery Center


  • Montreal Science Center

Check out the list for yourself. Where will you go???

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Sandra O'Flaherty
I am stay at home mom to two wonderful kids. I grew up in Vermont, but it wasn't until I left this great state for a few years that I truly appreciated what a wonderful place it is. My husband is also a Vermonter, so we are happy to be able to raise our kids here surrounded by a large extended family. In fact, we like it so much that we bought the house next door to his parents, and my mom lives in an apartment on our property. We enjoy playing outdoors and poking around our little "gentleman's farm" that we started in 2010. We have chickens, goats, a work-in-progress vegetable garden, fruit trees, and we tap our own maple trees for syrup. I have a BA in environmental studies and an MA in urban planning. I try to keep a toe in the professional world that I left when my oldest was born by serving on our local Planning Commission. You can learn more about me and my passion for this planet we call home on my blog: Mama of Ma'at


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