Friends Membership = Huge Savings at Participating AHS Gardens

As a member of the Friends of Frelinghuysen Arboretum you automatically participate in the American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program (RAP.) This represents a network of over 270 botanical gardens, arboreta and conservatories, located in forty-five states as well as Canada, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. Benefits may include free admission, free parking and/or discounts at shops or events at these locations.

For instance, on a recent trip to Florida, a couple with a Friends’ membership stopped at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota ($17 admission fee each,) the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens in Coral Gables ($25 fee each,) and the Edison and Ford Winter Estates ($20 fee each) in Fort Myers. At each of these sites, they displayed their Friends of Frelinghuysen Arboretum membership cards and paid no admission fees. This amounted to a savings of … $ 124. More than the cost of a Supporting Membership!

Reviewing the list of botanical gardens offering free admission showed the following located in New York: Wave Hill, Stonecrop Gardens, Old Westbury Gardens and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, among others. In Massachusetts, RAP participants include Tower Hill Botanic Garden and Garden in the Woods. The list of other sites offering free admission across the country includes such outstanding examples as the Chicago Botanic Garden, Callaway Gardens in Georgia, the Denver Botanic Garden, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, and many, many more.

On a visit to Winterthur Museum in Delaware, a member found that there was a RAP 10% on all purchases in the gift shop. Other locations offer discounts on tram tours or audio guides as well.

The American Horticultural Society website has a complete listing of all those participating in the RAP program, detailing exactly what benefits are offered at each garden. This can be accessed at, with a downloadable brochure. The Friends’ office at the Haggerty Center also has copies of this brochure available.

Make sure that your Friends membership is up to date, place the card in your wallet, and get ready to tour and save!

Sally Hemsen