It’s the time of year where kids are drafting holiday wish lists. With pen and paper in hand, they’re dreaming and hoping that the holidays will deliver a special surprise. New gadgets, games, dolls, and LEGOS most likely make the cut, but, perhaps a gift NOT on their list is the one that will be the highlight of the year.
Moms and dads, grandparents, and more are aiming to buy that perfect gift, the one that will forever be etched in their little one’s mind as “the one”. The one that will bring the most joy and the biggest smiles. Toys are grand, but this Christmas why not consider a gift from the experience category?
It won’t be tangible, but I can almost promise that it will be well-received and truly loved. Plus, science says experience gifts boost intelligence and happiness!
The Pacific Northwest is full of amazing opportunities for preschoolers, elementary age kids, tweens, and teens. Peruse this list of experience gifts and see what might spark your child’s interest the most!
Oak Harbor, WA
A trip to the movie theater is exciting but Blue Fox Drive In - with go-karts, snacks, and double features - takes it up a notch!
One play or a season subscription, any show at the Seattle Children’s Theater is bound the make wonderful memories.
Hockey games are high-action fun! If you have a sports loving kid, snag tickets for an upcoming game! Consider other teams too - we love the Tacoma Rainiers, Everett AquaSox, Tacoma Reign, and Portland LumberJax!
Zoo Visit or Membership
The PNW is home to a number of amazing zoos - Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah, Reptile Zoo in Monroe, Seattle Aquarium in Seattle, Northwest Trek in Eatonville, Cat Tales Zoological Park in Mead, and the Oregon Zoo in Portland! Consider a membership as a gift for ongoing fun and learning opportunities throughout the year.
The design of the Olympia museum is like no other, definitely worth a visit! And, if you opt for a membership at this museum or another it often is reciprocal with other children’s museums so you get quite a bang for your buck!
Want to soar? Head to iFLY for an in the air adventure!
Up high (but very safe) fun is ready and waiting at High Trek. With a giant ropes course and three zip lines, you and your kids will enjoy hours of fun.
With special kids clinics, VITAL will gear up and train your kids for fun and exercise all rolled into one!
Have a little history buff or Little House on the Prairie enthusiast? You’ve got to visit Pioneer Farm and Ohop Indian Village!
Did you know we have gondolas in Washington? Plan an overnight to Spokane and cross Spokane Falls via the SkyRide.
For older kids, Traxx is a huge hit! Plus, can you think of a better pre-driver gift?
Similar to Seattle’s Pacific Science Center, but oh so different! Don’t miss this PNW museum. A few hours of wonder and exploration will leave your kids asking for a return visit ASAP!
Ready, set, cook! For aspiring chefs or those who just love a good time in the kitchen, Flour Pot Kitchen has such a fun line up of classes.
BoomShaka isn’t the only trampoline gym out there, but this one is especially exciting! With PNW weather, indoor jump time is always a welcome outing for sure!
Little artists will love all the opportunities to get crafty at Michael’s and JoAnn’s.
Anacortes/Port Angeles/Everett, WA
Kids and adults alike will fall in love with whale watching. Best of all, Island Adventures has a wonderful guarantee policy!
And here’s the beautiful thing about experience gifts, it’s not only what you do, it’s who you do it with. Kids love being with YOU. It doesn’t necessarily matter if the outing is big or expensive, so don’t discount things like taking a ferry ride, painting pottery, getting ice cream, going bowling, hiking or camping, visiting a new restaurant, ice skating (or classic rollerskating!), or biking to a coffee shop. Pick a date and time, type up a gift certificate, and gift quality time.
Theater and touring concert schedules are another great idea! Since the plays/musicals and performers are always changing it feels like a once in a lifetime opportunity to catch a show! Peruse your local theaters and performing arts centers to see what is coming soon. I highly recommend Village Theater and, of course, The Paramount is always a win!