April 1st is traditionally a day of pranks and practical jokes, but when the Phoenix Culture Pass program kicked off on April 1st, 2009 it was anything but a joke. In fact, the Culture Pass is the ultimate ticket to some serious fun and adventure in Phoenix.
Here's how it works: patrons can visit any branch of the Phoenix Public Library and look for the Culture Pass display near the Information Desk. Choose a pass for the location you wish to visit and bring it to the Checkout Desk. You then "borrow" that pass with your library card and receive a printed receipt. That receipt is your admission ticket to get in to the attraction you chose. You have 7 days to use the ticket before it expires and becomes available to someone else.
The Culture Pass is good at over a dozen of Phoenix's most popular attractions including the Arizona Science Center, the Phoenix Zoo, and the Phoenix Art Museum. The idea behind the pass is that everybody should be able to explore Phoenix's many unique points of interest, even if they cannot afford full price admission.
The program received funding from major corporate sponsors such as Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, American Express, APS, SRP, and others. It was originally scheduled to run until April of 2010. Then about a month ago, it was quietly announced that the Phoenix Culture Pass would be extended for another year! There are a few changes to the program, however.
The Culture Pass is now only good for two adult admissions (instead of four) at select locations. These include the Arizona Museum of Natural History, the Arizona Museum for Youth, the Phoenix Children's Museum, and the Phoenix Zoo. The Culture Pass has also added a new location: the Pueblo Grande Museum.
Perhaps the most significant change for 2010 regarding the Phoenix Culture Pass is the withdrawal of Scottsdale's Taliesin West school. This deal was definitely too good to last. For the first year, the Culture Pass admitted up to four adults to the standard 1-hour Panorama Tour, which was a savings of $45 dollars per person!
You can bet I took advantage of this opportunity when I used the Culture Pass to visit Taliesin West in July of 2009. Yes, it was brutally hot and many of the buildings do not have air conditioning. But I have to say it was a memorable adventure! The full story of my Taliesin West tour was posted last year.
As it stands, the Phoenix Culture Pass program is slated to continue through March 31st, 2011. Whatever happens to the program at that point remains to be seen, but I hope that this excellent program will continue well into the foreseeable future.