With spring break looming for many students this month, there's a growing demand for family excursions that won't bust the bank.
Through a new "Discover & Go" program, families can use their Sonoma County Library cards as passports to adventure by signing up for discounts at more than 30 Bay Area destinations.
The family-friendly program, launched by the Contra Costa County Library, has since expanded to 20 Bay Area library systems from the South to the North Bays.
"It provides library users with a pretty amazing opportunity to check out passes, which in most cases are free, and in some cases offer reduced admission," said Rebecca Forth, assistant to the director of the Sonoma County Library. "It's a unique opportunity to explore things that you might not know about."
Families with a library card and pin number can search the participating venues by date or by location, then simply click to make a reservation and print out their passes.
Each venue determines what kind of discount it gives, and how many tickets they make available each day, so it pays to plan ahead if you want to visit some of the more popular venues.
Some of the family-oriented destinations include the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
Closer to home, families can explore the Pacific Coast Air Museum, the Sonoma County Museum, the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Safari West in Santa Rosa.
Families can also drop by the library to check out books related to their upcoming excursion, such as a guide to some of the wildlife that grazes the savannahs of Safari West.
During spring break, the Sonoma County Library branches will also offer special programs like Museum-on-the-Go, a mobile display of interactive, science- and play-based exhibits similar to the Exploratorium.