NEW! Purchase general admission tickets online!

Museum Hours: Open Daily 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

NEW! Purchase general admission tickets online!

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Museum Hours: Open Daily 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Purchasing a full-price membership
Member Benefits
Membership Cards
Renewing or Upgrading a Membership
Purchasing a Family Access Membership
Childcare/Classroom Memberships
Corporate Memberships

Purchase a full-price membership

How do I know if a membership is right for me?

General admission is $7.95 for adults, $7.95 for children, and $6.95 for seniors/grandparents. Memberships pay for themselves in three to five visits, depending on the membership level you choose. For a family of four, each visit to the museum costs $32, and you will start saving money after four visits.
Many members enjoy being able to come and go as they please, and having the freedom to drop by for a short, 15-minute visit without feeling guilty about leaving early. We also have exclusive members-only play time in the museum. This includes evening member parties, like the PJ Party, and monthly Member Morning. On the third Saturday of each month we open early from 8 to 9:30 a.m. for members only.

There are other member benefits that will save you money. Members get 10% off all museum purchases, and a parent buying two spots at Young Chefs summer camp would save $30 with their member discount. In addition, members are able to register early for summer camps, before the general public. Family and Family Plus members can save on admission at other museums using reciprocal admission benefits; for example, a family of four visiting the Field Museum in Chicago would save $74 on admission with an MCM membership. See the questions on reciprocal admission benefits below for more information.


Are my kids the right age for the museum?

Our child members generally range from 0 to 12 years old. The Wildernest on the first floor of the museum is designed specifically for ages 0 to 5 and many parents find that there is much to do in the museum even for children under 12 months that are not yet walking.
Many members continue their memberships even after their kids age out of the museum and utilize their reciprocal admission benefits at other museums.


Can I try the museum before I decide to buy a membership?

Yes. Visit the museum, pay general admission, and save your receipt. If you enjoy your day and decide to buy a membership at the end of your visit, we will refund your daily admission purchase.

Bring your receipt back to the front desk, fill out the membership registration form, pay for your membership, and then ask for a refund, presenting your receipt to the front desk associate. We only refund daily admission on the same day it was paid and the membership must be purchased before we refund the admission price. This is not a discount of the membership, but a refund of the admission transaction.


Which membership should I buy?

This depends on how many people want to visit the museum regularly. Dual level memberships come with two named individuals, Family level memberships come with four named individuals, and Family Plus level memberships come with six named individuals. Any guests you bring on top of the named members would pay general admission at each visit.

If you think you might qualify for the Family Access subsidized membership program, please see the FAQ section, Purchasing a Family Access Membership.


Which level should I buy for a family of three?

A family of three should purchase a Family level membership, with four named members. You can add a fourth person, such as a grandparent or nanny.


Which level should I buy for a family of five?

A family of five should purchase a Family Plus membership, with six named members. You can add a sixth person, such as a grandparent or nanny.


What if I have more than six people in my family?

Additional members can be added to a Family Plus membership for $20 per person. This add-on can be purchased in person at the museum, over the phone, or by mail.


Who can be on my membership? Is it for immediate family only?

Every member must be named, but we do not put any restrictions on relationships. Many memberships include extended family, friends, and caregivers.


Why do my children have to be named members?

Children have to pay admission at the museum, so they must be named in order to get membership benefits. We do not print children’s names on the membership cards.


Can I bring a guest to the museum?

Guests must pay general admission when visiting with you, but they can use your 10% member discount. If they will be coming to the museum with you regularly, you should consider upgrading your membership so you can add their name. All members must be listed by name on the membership in order to get free admission.

If you are a Family or Family Plus member, you can use your guest pass to get a person in for free.


Can I change a person on my membership?

You can change a name on a membership by contacting the membership manager, or by filling out a member log at the front desk.


How can I sign up for a membership?

OnlineClick here to get started immediately.

In-Person – Download the registration form and bring it to the front desk on your next visit.

By Mail – Download the registration form and mail it to us.

Over the Phone – Call our membership manager at (608) 354-0550.

Member Registration Form – English
Formulario de Membresía – Español


When does my membership become active?

Memberships are active once payment is processed. You can visit the museum using an ID or using your membership card.


What member benefits do I have with my membership level?

Click here to learn about member benefits.


Which membership level should I buy to get reciprocal admission benefits?

Reciprocal benefits only come with memberships that cost $125 or higher, which includes Family, Family Plus, and Donor Level (Supporter, Patron, and Benefactor) memberships.


Is my membership purchase tax-deductible?

Membership purchases are not tax-deductible.

Gifts to the museum of $250 or more are fully tax-deductible and come with a Donor Level (Supporter, Patron, or Benefactor) membership, with benefits equivalent to a Family Plus membership.


Can I buy a membership as a gift?

Yes. Make sure to check the “This membership is a gift” checkbox on the online form or fill out the “Gift Giver Information” on the paper form. See the Gift Membership portion of the website for more details.


Can I get a membership donated to my organization?

See the donation requests section of the website to request a donation for your organization.

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Member Benefits

How do I hear about member events and member news?

We primarily send information by email, so be sure to provide an email address when signing up for a membership. Contact the membership manager to add or change an email.


I’m not getting your emails, what can I do?

Please contact the membership manager.


I don’t want to get your emails, what can I do?

You can unsubscribe from our email list at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of one of our emails. Keep in mind that many member benefits are announced exclusively through email.


How do I utilize my 10% member discount for museum purchases?

Members get 10% off all purchases in the museum, including general admission for guests, paid programs, the Sparkler Cafe, Birthday Parties, Summer Camps, Adult Swim, and Gift Shop items.

When purchasing in the museum, tell the front desk staff that you are a member and you would like your 10% discount; they will ask to see your membership card.

When purchasing online, register or sign in to the website when you are ready to purchase; in the purchase window, you will see “register” or “sign in” in the top right corner. Your membership discount will be applied automatically.


How does the free guest pass work? Why did they take my whole guest pass for one person?

Guest passes come with Family, Family Plus, and Donor Level (Supporter, Patron, and Benefactor) memberships. They are business-card sized and are mailed with your membership cards. Each pass is one-time use and good for up to four people. If you bring one person to the museum and choose to use your guest pass, the whole pass is good for only that one person. If you choose to save your pass for later, you can pay admission for each guest you bring; you will get 10% off general admission prices using your member discount.

You must bring the physical guest pass card with you when you want to use it, we cannot track them digitally.


I’ve lost my guest passes, can I get them replaced?

We do not replace guest passes if they have been misplaced.


Can I use my guest passes early?

You must wait to use your guest passes until you get your membership cards in the mail. The expiration date on the guest pass will be one year from when they are mailed, which is sometimes longer than your membership card expiration date, so you will have a year to use them even if you had to wait for your membership cards.

You must bring the physical guest pass card with you when you want to use it, we cannot track them digitally.


Can I bring a guest to Member Morning or to member parties, like the PJ Party?

For Member Morning, yes, but guests must pay general admission price; they will get 10% off if they use your member discount. You may use one of your guest passes at Member Morning, but you must accompany your guests, meaning they cannot come alone with the pass.

For member parties, like the PJ Party, guests are not allowed. Tickets to these events are limited and we always sell out, so we reserve those tickets for members only. You are allowed to upgrade your membership and add the individuals you would like to bring as guests, but they must be named on a membership to attend.


Can I change my membership level to get additional benefits?

Yes, memberships can be upgraded mid-term at the front desk or over the phone. You must pay the difference between the price of your membership and the price of the membership level you wish to have. Your expiration date will remain the same and you will get new cards in the mail. The upgrade will be effective immediately.


What are reciprocal admission benefits and why would I want them?

MCM is part of two reciprocal museum networks, Association of Children’s Museums and Association of Science and Technology Centers. If your membership comes with reciprocal admission benefits, you can attend the hundreds of reciprocal network museums for free or 50% off general admission.

Some of the popular museums that MCM members attend for free general admission through the ASTC Travel Passport Program are Milwaukee Public Museum, Discovery World, The Building for Kids, Discovery Center Museum, The Field Museum, The Adler Planetarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry. Some of the popular museums that MCM members attend for 50% off general admission through the ACM Reciprocal Network include the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum and the Chicago Children’s Museum.


How do I use my reciprocal admission benefits with my Madison Children’s Museum (MCM) membership?

For any museum you want to visit using your reciprocal admission benefits, bring your MCM membership card with the reciprocal network logos visible on the back, and an ID that matches one of the names on the card. Check that your membership cards have the network logos on the back.

ACM network museums will grant you 50% off general admission for up to six individuals. There are no distance restrictions. You can find the list of museums on the ACM website.

ASTC network museums will grant free admission to some, or all, of your family, depending on the rules they lay out. Each museum has their own rules, which are not tied to your membership level at MCM. For example, the Field Museum in Chicago allows “two adults and up to two children, 17 and under” into their museum with free general admission; their rules don’t change if you have a six-person membership to MCM. You should check the rules for each museum before your visit. There are also distance restrictions, meaning free admission is not granted if you live within 90 miles of the institution. We have agreements with Milwaukee museums that wave this restriction for members that live in the Madison area, but if you live in Milwaukee or Chicago and you’re visiting a local museum, those institutions have the right to check your ID and refuse admission. If you are unsure if a museum will allow you to visit, you should call them in advance. You can see the list of museums with their rules on the ASTC website.


I have ACM or ASTC reciprocal benefits at another museum. Can I get into Madison Children’s Museum (MCM)?

If you have the ACM logo on your membership card for another institution, you can get 50% off general admission for up to six people at MCM. To take advantage of this benefit, present your membership card with the logo visible and an ID that matches the name on your card. Reduced admission is the only reciprocal benefit available to members of other institutions. You cannot use your membership for another institution to attend member-only events or get discounts at MCM.

If you have the ASTC logo on your membership card for another institution, as of February 2017, you can get free, general admission for up to six individuals listed on your membership. To take advantage of this benefit, present your membership card with the logo visible and an ID that matches the name on your card. Reduced admission is the only reciprocal benefit available to members of other institutions. You cannot use your membership for another institution to attend member-only events or get discounts at MCM.

For Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) members, you must have a membership that costs $125 or more in order to get free admission to MCM. As of February 2017, we accept Family & Friends Patron memberships and any Donor Level (Sustainer, Supporter, and Benefactor) memberships. If you want to upgrade your Milwaukee Public Museum membership, you should contact MPM.


I’m a member of Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM). Can I get into Madison Children’s Museum (MCM) for free?

You must have an MPM membership that costs $125 or more in order to get free admission to MCM. As of February 2017, we accept Family & Friends Patron memberships and any Donor Level (Sustainer, Supporter, and Benefactor) membership. If you want to upgrade your Milwaukee Public Museum membership, you should contact MPM.

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Membership Cards

How long do I have to wait to get my membership cards?

Membership card processing times vary depending on the time of year, but it will take at least four to six weeks to get your membership cards, and may take more than eight weeks during peak times.

Memberships are active immediately upon purchase. You can attend the museum by presenting an ID at the front desk. For Family and Family Plus members that want to use reciprocal benefits at other museums, you can get a temporary membership card for use until your membership cards arrive. You can pick one up at the front desk of the museum or receive one by email by contacting the membership manager.


What can I do if I need a membership card right away? How do I get a temporary membership card?

You can attend the museum by presenting an ID at the front desk. For Family and Family Plus members that want to use reciprocal admission benefits at other museums, you can get a temporary membership card for use until your membership cards arrive. You can pick one up at the front desk of the museum or receive one by email by contacting the membership manger.


I haven’t received my membership cards, what should I do?

If it has been less than six weeks since you purchased the membership, your membership cards have most likely not been mailed yet. You can visit the museum using an ID in the meantime.


I received my membership cards and there is an error, what should I do?

Contact the membership manager and describe the error and what the correction should be.


Why are my children’s names not on my membership card?

We keep children’s names off of the membership cards for security purposes. Under the adult names, you will see a “number of children” field that includes the number of children listed on your membership.


I’ve lost my membership cards, what should I do?

You can purchase replacement memberships cards at the front desk, which cost $4 for a set of two cards. If you choose not to purchase replacements, you can continue to attend the museum by presenting an ID at the front desk.


The back of my membership cards say “No Reciprocal Benefits.” Why don’t I have reciprocal benefits?

Reciprocal benefits come with memberships that cost $125 or more, which includes Family, Family Plus, and Donor Level (Supporter, Patron, and Benefactor) memberships. If you have one of these membership levels, you can request new cards by contacting the membership manager.

If you do not have one of the above membership levels, you do not have reciprocal benefits. You are allowed to upgrade your membership to a reciprocal-benefits-eligible level mid-term to get the additional benefits.

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Renewing or upgrading a Membership

How do I know when my membership expires?

Your membership is active for 12 months and your expiration date is always the last day of the month. So a membership purchased in February of 2017 will have an expiration date of 2/28/18.

If you are renewing your membership early, 12 months will be added to your current expiration date, so you will not lose any time for renewing early.

Your expiration date is listed on your membership cards.


Will I be notified when my membership is about to expire?

You will start receiving renewal notices by email about three months before your membership expires. You will start receiving mailed notices in the month of your expiration.


How can I renew my membership?

You can renew your membership online, in-person, through the mail, or over the phone. It is the same process as purchasing a new membership.

For the online form, there is no checkbox to indicate that it is a renewal, but our database will recognize you as current members and will renew your current membership. If you created a sign-in when making a web purchase in the past, sign in before making an online purchase.


Why can’t I renew a membership through the online form?

You can renew through the online form. There is no checkbox to indicate that your purchase is a renewal, but our database will recognize you as current members and will renew your current membership. If you created a sign-in when making a web purchase in the past, sign in before making an online purchase.


If I renew early, will I lose time on my current membership?

You will not lose any time for renewing early. 12 months will be added to your current expiration date.


How do I upgrade a membership to a higher level?

Memberships can be upgraded mid-term at the front desk or over the phone. You must pay the difference between the price of your membership and the price of the membership level you wish to have. Your expiration date will remain the same and you will get new cards in the mail. The upgrade will go into effect immediately.

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Purchasing a Family Access Membership

Who can buy a Family Access membership? How do I qualify?

Family Access memberships are available to families that participate in one of the following programs.
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How do I purchase a Family Access membership?

Memberships are available in person, by phone, or by mail, but cannot currently be purchased online.


How much does a Family Access membership cost?

We ask for a minimum payment of $10. Families can contribute more than $10 if they are able. Please indicate how much you would like to pay on the registration form.


What documentation do I have to show to register for a Family Access membership?

We no longer require documentation to register as a Family Access member, but please check your qualifying program(s) on the registration form.


I think I should qualify for a Family Access membership, but I’m not a part of any of the qualifying programs. Who should I talk to about this?

Please contact the membership manager.


Who can I add to my Family Access membership?

You may add your family and any caregivers that will bring the children to the museum.


How do I renew my Family Access membership?

Families may continue to renew at the Family Access level as long as they continue to use one of the qualifying programs. Memberships can be renewed in person, by phone or by mail, but cannot currently be renewed online. It is the same process as buying a new membership.


Why doesn’t my Family Access membership come with reciprocal benefits?

Reciprocal benefits come with memberships that cost $125 or more, which includes Family, Family Plus, and Donor Level (Supporter, Patron, and Benefactor) memberships.


Can I upgrade my Family Access membership to get reciprocal benefits?

Yes, you can upgrade your membership to a reciprocal-benefits-eligible level at any time at the front desk or over the phone. Please note that full-price membership levels have restrictions on the number of members that can be listed. In order to upgrade, you must pay the difference between the price of your Family Access membership and the price of the membership level you wish to have. Your expiration date will remain the same and you will get new cards in the mail. The upgrade will be effective immediately.

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Childcare/Classroom Memberships

When can I use a Childcare or Classroom membership?

Childcare and Classroom memberships are only good on weekdays. They are not valid on weekends.


How many children can I bring?

Childcare memberships provide free admission on weekdays for up to two adults and eight children. Classroom memberships provide free admission on weekdays for up to eight named adults and 25 children. We require a minimum of one adult per every five children.


Do I have to make a reservation to attend?

Classroom memberships must make a reservation in advance of a visit so that we can ensure adequate staffing. Please contact the registration coordinator at least one week in advance of your visit.

Childcare memberships do not need to make a reservation.


Can I get a membership if I run a daycare in my home?

Yes, you can buy a childcare or classroom membership.

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Corporate Memberships

My company has a corporate membership. What do I need to visit?

You must bring the membership card with you when visiting the museum. You should contact your HR representative to pick up the membership card prior to your visit. The membership card will grant free admission for up to six individuals.


Do I need to bring my employee ID to get free admission?

No, you do not need to present your employee ID, but you must present the corporate membership card.


Can I use my employee ID instead of the membership card?

No, you must present the corporate membership card.


Can I use reciprocal admission benefits with a corporate membership?

No, reciprocal benefits are available to individual memberships only. You must purchase your own membership in order to utilize reciprocal admission benefits.


How do I take advantage of the 10% discount on birthday parties?

Get the membership ID number from the HR representative that manages the membership cards. You can then contact our facilities rental coordinator to schedule your birthday party; when you schedule, make sure to ask for the 10% discount and provide the corporate membership ID number. You can read more about birthday parties and check on available dates here.

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