There we all were: My wife (Carolyn) and I, plus our daughter's family of seven, standing at the ticket counter in New York's American Museum of Natural History.
"$150," read the register screen.
Whew. At prices like that, I'd be picked cleaner than the dinosaur skeleton in the museum's entrance hall.
"How about $50?" I asked the nice woman behind the counter. And you know what? She smiled and punched a few keys, and a moment later we were off, tickets in hand, ready to tackle all four floors of the monumental museum on Central Park West. It's the magic of the "pay-what-you-wish" option, one of New York's greatest budget-vacation secrets.