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Membership Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

How can I purchase or renew a membership?
There are several convenient ways to purchase or renew a membership;
  1. At the front patio admission windows. This is best if you are visiting the Museum soon!
    Note: If you are purchasing a new membership or if your membership has lapsed more than three months you will not be able to receive your guests passes and coupons at the ticket windows, they will be mailed to you. If you are renewing a membership that has not lapsed more than three months, you will receive your guest passes and coupons directly.
  2. Call the Membership Office at (520) 883-1380, press 2.
  3. Or, join now on-line! (Note: Due to the increased holiday business it may take up to three weeks to receive your guest passes for on-line orders.)
  4. You will receive a renewal form by mail or email notice one month before your membership expires. You can renew by mail by check or credit card. If you have not received a notice from us, please call and let us know!
Can I purchase membership as a gift for someone else?
Yes, at the front patio admission windows, or by phone or on-line.
How long is my membership good for?
Memberships are active for one year from the month of purchase. (Example: if you purchase your membership on August 5, 2019 it will expire on August 31, 2020.)
How many days does it take to process my membership?
Memberships purchased online, over the phone, and through the mail take a week or two to process. During the months of November-May, and especially during the holiday season, memberships take longer to process. For memberships purchased at the admission windows or online, you may use the transaction receipt for entrance into the museum until your membership has been processed and you have received your membership cards (for window purchase) and membership cards and passes (for online purchase).
I/We are visiting the museum today. Should we join/renew online first?
No, please join or renew at the admission window. This is best if you are visiting the Museum today.
Note: If you are purchasing a new membership or if your membership has lapsed more than three months you will not be able to receive your guests passes and coupons at the ticket windows, they will be mailed to you. If you are renewing a membership that has not lapsed more than three months, you will receive your guest passes and coupons directly.
What can I put on my membership cards?
Each category of membership receives the following number of membership cards:
CategoryNumber of cardsNames/information listed on membership cards
1 membership card Must be in the first and last name of the Primary Member
2 membership cards 1st membership card must be in the first and last name of the Primary Member
2nd membership card allows for one of two options:
  1. 2nd membership card lists the first and last name of the Secondary Member;
  2. 2nd membership card indicates "guest of Primary Member name". See explanation in next question of what the "guest of" membership card option is all about.
Example: 1st card for 'John Smith' (Primary Member) and 2nd card could be either 'Barbara Smith' or 'Guest of John Smith'
How does the "guest of" option work regarding membership cards?

A "guest of" membership card is available as an option for the membership categories of Dual, Family, Turquoise, Copper, Silver, and Gold. These categories of membership allow the Member household to have two membership cards. If a Member selects the "guest of" option for their membership cards, membership card #1 must be in the name of the Primary Member. Membership card #2 is listed as the "Guest of Primary Member name". The "guest of" membership card enables the Primary Member to bring in any guest of their choosing to the Museum for a visit. The guest does not need to be in the company of the Primary Member/cardholder during the Museum visit. The "guest of" membership card allows admission for one person only and is not eligible for any other membership benefits (ie discounts in the restaurants, giftshops, free coffee/tea etc.)

What is the difference between the guest pass and the "guest of" card?
Guest Pass
Picture of paper guest pass
  • A guest pass can be gifted to anyone to use at any time until the guest pass expires (each guest pass has a one-year expiration date from the month of purchase).
  • The guest pass allows the holder to visit the Museum without the presence of the Member.
  • Each guest pass allows admission for one person.
  • The number of guest passes received is determined by the category of membership selected by the Member.
  • Expired guest passes are not valid for admission.
  • Lost or stolen guest passes cannot be replaced.
"Guest of" membership card (plastic)
Picture of plastic 'guest of' card
  • The "guest of" membership card can be used for entry to the Museum without the Primary Member/cardholder.
  • The "guest of" membership card expires on the date the membership expires.
  • This membership card allows admission for one person.
  • There are no benefits associated with this membership card, only admission for one person.
What if my guest passes are stolen or are lost – can I get replacements?
No. Unfortunately guest passes are like cash and cannot be replaced if lost or stolen. Keep them in a safe place!
Can a friend or family member use my membership card?
No. Memberships are nontransferable and are valid only for the person (or persons) whose name(s) appears on the card. As a nonprofit organization that relies on membership and attendance for support, we appreciate your attention to this detail of your membership benefits.
If the other named adult is unable to come with me, may I bring a guest in their place?
If all the adults on your membership are named, only those adults may use the membership card. If you would like to bring a guest to the Museum you may use one of your guest passes for that person.
Is my membership gift tax-deductible?
Yes, a portion of your gift is tax-deductible. Current membership categories have the following tax-deductible portions:
CategoryTax deductible portion
Can I give my guest passes away, or does the guest have to be with me?
Guest passes may be given and to anyone the person using the guest pass does not have to be accompanied by the Member.
How do my guest passes work?
Each guest pass is good for one person for one-time use only. Guest passes have an expiration date of one year from the month of purchase. A member does not need to be present for their guests to use guest passes. The Museum will not allow admission to the Museum with a guest pass that has expired.
I've lost my guest passes/coupons, can I get them replaced?
No. If guest passes are lost or stolen we are unable to replace them. Keep them safe - each guest pass has an admission value of $21.95!
May I pick up my guest passes at the ticket window if I paid for my membership on-line?
No. Guest passes are only mailed for internet orders. If you plan to visit the Museum in the next couple of weeks and are renewing a membership that has not lapsed for more than three months past the expiration date, please wait and pay for your membership at the Museum admission window when you visit as your guest passes may not reach you within the two week period of time.
How am I able to get my children or grandchildren in on my membership?

Children and grandchildren 17 years of age and younger are included on all memberships at the Family level or higher. Your children or grandchildren may accompany you if you are listed on the membership card. Note that only the children and grandchildren of the Member listed on the active membership cards may be admitted. As a nonprofit organization that relies on membership and attendance for support, we appreciate your attention to this detail of your membership benefits.

If one of your membership cards is a "guest of" card, the person using the "guest of card" will not be able to bring in the primary members' children or their own children - only themselves. This card is good for admission for one person only.

How do I take advantage of the 'Invitation to VIP Behind-the-Scenes Tour' or the 'Private Reception with Executive Director?
Members at the following levels receive these special benefits — join us!
  • Copper members are invited to participate in the 'VIP Behind-the-Scenes Tour'.
  • Silver members are invited to participate in the 'VIP Behind-the-Scenes Tour', and the 'VIP Event with the Executive Director'
  • Gold members are invited to participate in the 'VIP Behind-the-Scenes Tour', the 'VIP Event with the Executive Director', and the 'Private Reception with the Executive Director'.
Do you reciprocate with other museums or zoos?
Unfortunately we do not provide reciprocal benefits for other institutions.
I've lost my membership card. How do I get into the museum?
You may present your driver's license at the admission window to gain access to the Museum and a guest services representative will fill out a card replacement form. There is a $3 replacement fee for each membership card lost. You will receive your new card in the mail in a week or two. Please continue to use your driver's license until your replacement membership card arrives. Also, please note, your new membership card will have a new membership ID number and barcode. Should you find your missing/lost membership cards, please destroy them as they will no longer be active and valid.
Do you have senior or military discounts on memberships?
Unfortunately we do not offer membership discounts to seniors or military personnel.
What types of payment do you accept for memberships?
We accept cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.
Can I apply my admission tickets to the cost of a membership?

You may apply one admission ticket toward the purchase of a new Student or Individual membership and a total of two admission tickets toward the purchase of a new Dual through Gold level of membership. Admission tickets must be presented in person at the Museum’s admission window the day of the visit. Tickets being applied must have been purchased on the same day as the membership. Not applicable to renewing memberships or membership upgrades.

You may only apply admission tickets towards the cost of a membership when purchasing a new membership. Upgrading to a different category of membership does not allow for the application of admission tickets.

Why can’t I use my guest passes today?
The Museum’s policy is that new members and expired members must have their guest passes and coupons mailed to them. Admission into the Museum is free for those covered by the membership today however.
Why don’t you track my guest passes in your membership system?
We are working towards tracking guest passes. See this happen in the future.
Why do I have to wait in line to check in?
In order to get into the Museum we must scan your membership card to ensure your membership is current. Sometimes there is a bit of a line but our scanners work as fast as they can to ensure the wait is minimal.
Why do members need to pay for Stingray Touch exhibit?
The revenue raised from stingray ticket sales supports the expense of operating the exhibit.
Does a Family membership include nieces, nephews, parents, grandparents, and grown children?
No. A Family membership includes parents or partners and children and/or grandchildren ages 17 and younger.
Could the Museum create a nanny/disabled/special membership category?
We evaluate these special circumstances on a case-by-case basis. Please have members call the Membership office for more information.
Is there a corporate membership category?
At this time there is not a corporate membership category.
Can I have three or more adults on a membership?
At this time there can only be a maximum of two adults on a membership.
Can I bring my neighbor’s kids in on my Family membership?
No, only your children and/or grandchildren can come in on your Family membership. You are able to use your one-time-use guest passes for guests including neighbor’s children.
How often are your newsletters and Sonorensis published?
Newsletters are published quarterly. Sonorensis is published once a year.
What are your membership office hours?
The membership office is open Monday-Sunday from 8:00 a.m. — 4:30 p.m. The office is closed on major holidays.
Why don't you have a Life membership category?
The Museum does have a Life membership category. Currently the Board of Trustees is the only entity that can award a Desert Museum Life membership. This honor is typically awarded to individuals that have reached 7,500 of volunteer time on behalf of the Museum or to individuals who have made immeasurable contributions to the Museum.
What is the Desert Museum's privacy policy?

For Membership Acquisition: The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum occasionally shares member information with other local cultural organizations. We do not sell our lists to private companies. If you would like to be added to our “do not share” list please email the Museum's Member & Donor Services Department at with your information.

The Desert Museum reserves the right to make changes to this policy at its sole discretion. Such revisions may arise in response to changes in the law, policy, or other factors. We encourage you to periodically visit this page to review our most current policy.

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