By Kayla Chappell
Starting with a library card, a free program is offering Michigan families admission to state parks, museums, and discounts to other summer events such as the Michigan Renaissance Festival.
The Michigan Activities Pass (MAP), introduced in 2007, had only offered museum destinations but now has combined with the state Park and Read program which grants access to state parks.
According to the MAP website, more than 400 destinations within the state of Michigan are included. A total of 638 libraries participate, along with the help of ten partners including The Library Network, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Plymouth Rocket. Future plans call for the pass to expand to more destinations in Michigan and outside of Michigan.
The only requirement to obtain a MAP is a library card. The Flint Public Library’s main website offers a link, http://www.plymouthrockets.com/map2016/, that assists with how to use the MAP and for trip planning. The pass may be printed at home or at the library and expires within seven days.
“It will get kids active outside of the library,” said Diane O’Keefe, one of the lead librarians at the Flint Public Library. She said she sees the pass as a good learning opportunity.
“It’s a good way to get active and get benefits through the whole summer,” O’Keefe said. She says that the great thing about it is that the pass can be accessed from home with a library card and printed anywhere.
Five of the MAP locations are in Flint, within the Cultural Center. The Sloan Museum, Flint Institute of Arts, Longway Planetarium, Buick Automotive Gallery, and Applewood Estate all participate.
Asked about Flint in particular O’Keefe said, “I think it would be very helpful to Flint children, because we have such good resources here in Flint as far as the Cultural Center opportunities and there are a lot of Flint children who don’t have the money to take advantage of these if they didn’t have the pass.”
O’Keefe said she herself has taken advantage of the pass and says it’s for anyone, not only families.
Valarie Allen, membership coordinator at the Flint Institute of Arts, estimated 15 passes were used last year though so far this year the numbers are lower.
The MAP main website can be found at the Flint Public Library homepage www.fpl.info.
Staff writer Kayla Chappell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.