Around town: gifts that give an experience!
Christmas has come and gone. Despite my best effort to #konmari, we still have too much stuff! And yet holidays and birthdays continue to roll around. So many people talk about experience gifts versus opening gifts. I have a sister-in-law that is THE BEST at gifting experiences! Every year she’ll ask what membership I think my kids will enjoy this year. And enjoy it they have! So now I keep a running list of experience gifts so when asked, I can toss out some suggestions. I’m here to share all the around town experience gift ideas!
Knock Knock Museum – For as little as $150 a family of four (two adults and two kids) can enjoy all the fun! The Knock Knock Museum has an art garden for crafting, a vet clinic where kids can care for animals, a restaurant for honing their creative eating, a grocery store, a car wash and maintenance section, reading nook, bubble exploration, climbing tower, and so much more! There is even a special Crawbaby section where only tiny tots are allowed to play! We have enjoyed every moment of fun at the Knock Knock Museum!
BREC Baton Rouge Zoo – For a mere $59, your family can explore the zoo for a year! We love adventures at the zoo! From watching the feeding of the otters to checking in on the speckled bears, my kids are entertained. We feed turtles, stand like a flamingo, brush the goats, and enjoy some time at the playground! This is a great excuse to get out of the house and move around! You can make a long trek around the zoo or an abbreviated one. We even print off scavenger hunts (thanks Pinterest!) and let the kids enjoy searching items to check off their list! Did you know that with a BREC Baton Rouge Zoo membership you can get free or reduced rates to other zoos across the country? So if your family is into travel, you may be able to add a new zoo to your adventures for no (or minimal) cost!
Louisiana Art & Science Museum – A family of four can revel in ever changing exhibits here for $130 (a family of six for just $150)! Not only do you get to explore the museum all year, but you also get special privileges; planetarium shows (my space obsessed kid can’t get enough!), Art After Hours (great date nights), specials for birthday parties (and y’all they do an awesome job on birthday parties!). AND your membership here also allows you to explore free or reduced admission to more than 1,000 institutions worldwide through the Association of Science & Technology Centers and the North American Reciprocal Museum Association! When we benefited from this experience gift, we got to explore so many museums when we visited our family in TN, GA, TX, and MS.
Lil Bambinos Playtorium – For one child, $40/month will allow you hours of energy releasing fun! ($70/mo for 2 children, and $100/mo for 3 or more!). This is an experience gift my parents have gifted my kids for the last few years! We love Lil Bambinos! The joys of having a membership means we can pop in for 10 minutes of play or hours of play! With a friendly staff and SO MUCH to do, my kiddos are never bored. There is a parent friendly climbing gym, a bounce house, performing stage, book nook, games, shopping, house, build-your-own house, members only movie nights, monthly crafts and activities, train tables, legos, car tables, and engineering wall, magnet play, and more! There is also a small gated area where I can play with the youngest (under two section) while my older two explore and imagine all over. This is one of those places we like to call nap insurance; my kids are going to do ALL THE THINGS and be worn out for nap or bedtime – it’s great!
Manship Theater Kids Club – We actually ran across this on accident, when my Curious George obsessed child got to get VIP treatment during a Curious George performance! The kids club comes free when you purchase the Family yearly package ($275/yr). This includes advance ticket access to season performances before the public, access to member exclusive events, Friends and Family Happy Hour once a month, and reserved seating for general admission programming upon request! If you have a young one that loves the theater experience you won’t regret this investment at all! You will get access to Kids Club events, backstage tour opportunities (this will make your kid feel like a super star!), popcorn and drinks provided with Kids Club membership card at performances, and reserved seating at family programming shows. My kid had an autograph book we collected all the actors and actresses signatures in. Seriously one of our favorite memories.
Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center – We love the Blue Bonnet Swamp trails! Here, if you’re in parish (EBR) you can get an Annual Pass for a family 4 for only $35 (+$5 each additional person), and if you’re like me and live out of parish an Annual Pass for a family of four would be $42 (+$6.50 for each additional person) This is such a fun outdoor experience! There is a pea gravel & boardwalk trail, we’ve trekked it plenty with and without strollers! They even have a trail that leads you to the library! Here you and your family get to experience the best of Louisiana swamp environment from the safety of a trail. Each season of the year offers new discoveries! This is great for those with littles that love all things bugs and outdoors! We’ve seen snakes curled around trees, countless turtles, aphids, crickets, spider webs, birds, and so many owls! It’s also a really great opportunity to talk about plant life and environment dioramas. Inside the nature center are all kind of animals for you and the kids to admire through the glass and if you’re lucky, sometimes one of the staff members my bring out one of their crawly friends for a hands on visit. Just remember the last time you’re allowed to hit the trails is 4:15pm as the park closes at 5pm.
LSU Gymnastics Season Tickets – This one has been a huge hit with my kids! Visit LSUtix to see when you can get on the list for season tickets. Out Tigers have an amazingly stellar team and it’s so cool to watch these powerhouse girls dominate their field!
Keep in mind there are also plenty of local options that could be a gift card if a membership is too much to ask. Things like Airborne Extreme, Liberty Lagoon, Aqua PARDS, Premier Lanes, Main Event, Skate Galaxy, Uptown Climbing, USS Kidd, Jump N Jive, all offer hours of fun & so many opportunities for family memories!
A short drive to New Orleans and you open up opportunities like:
- Audubon Zoo
- Audubon Aquarium
- Audubon Insectarium
Also, don’t underestimate the joy of getting mail as a kid! Look into subscription boxes–there are SO many for kids out there! A quick internet search will also reveal loads of kid geared magazines!
Java Mama Cafe is a great place for parents to let their children play while they enjoy a bite or coffee.
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