Your Kid-Friendly Guide to The BIG Exchange in San Diego (May 2022)

San Diego's Kid-Friendly Big Exchange from the Museum Month Council in May 2022

Time to flash your memberships...The BIG Exchange is back!!


What is The BIG Exchange

Our Strategy

Least Expensive Memberships

Kid-Friendly Museums

All The Rest


What Is The BIG Exchange?

From May 1-18, you'll get FREE Reciprocal Admission into 40+ museums, gardens & historical sites when you show your membership from any one of them.

So if you have a family membership from one of the participating museums, your family will get in free to another. This program has a max. of 4 people per membership and is hosted by the San Diego Museum Council.

[back to top]


Here's Our Strategy to Make the Most of The BIG Exchange

  1. Some museums are normally free or cheap, so skip these and save them for another day.

  2. Go to the ones that are a bit more expensive OR that you wouldn’t normally go to.

  3. Avoid going to the ones at Balboa Park on a Resident Free Tuesday. 👍

[back to top]


Least Expensive Memberships

If you don't have a membership, it's time to get one. Our favorite cheapest family memberships are at the 🚂 San Diego Model Railroad Museum ($50/family), 🌸 Japanese Friendship Garden ($60/family) and the 🚗 San Diego Automotive Museum ($60/family).

👉 TIPS: Keep in mind that kids are FREE under certain ages at different museums, so you may only need to get an Individual or Dual membership.

You'll find membership prices listed for each museum below. Now is a great time to snag one that you'd love to go back to again and again.

[back to top]


Participating Kid-Friendly Museums

See below for a list of participating museums that are kid-friendly and that mine have always loved going to. ✨👬✨

I've included their hours, normal admission costs and membership pricing to help you compare when & where to go, which ones to skip, see and buy.

🐠 Birch Aquarium

🚙 JA Cooley Museum

🌸 Japanese Friendship Garden

🦅 Living Coast Discovery Center

⚓️ Maritime Museum

🎶 Museum of Making Music

🚂 Pacific Southwest Railway Museum

San Diego Archaeological Center

🚙 San Diego Automotive Museum

🤸🏻‍♀️ San Diego Children's Discovery Center

🚂 San Diego Model Railroad Museum

🦕 San Diego Natural History Museum

🤸🏻‍♀️ The New Children's Museum

⚓️ USS Midway Museum

[back to top]


🐠 Birch Aquarium, La Jolla

"See more than 5000 fish in 60+ aquarium habitats plus exhibits showing cutting-edge research from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego."