Every year, around this time, I send my kids into the playroom with instructions to clear out the toys they don’t play with anymore. We gather them up and go together to donate so many things that–just last year–they had wished for so desperately. While I’m genuinely grateful that my kids have grandparents willing to spoil them, I would love for their generosity to fill our house with more memories and less stuff. That’s why I’m a huge fan of gifting experiences rather than things. Here are ten gift ideas that will get your kids laughing, learning, and creating some amazing memories around Austin.
10 Austin Experience Gifts (That Can Be Purchased Online!)
- TuneBugz! offers Music Together music and movement classes for children from newborns through 9 years old. Music Together, an internationally acclaimed early childhood music education program, supports development of children’s basic rhythmic and tonal competence, all while having a great time and supporting the bond between the parent or caregiver and child. Music Together’s songs, rhythms, chants, dances, and instrument jams expose your child to a wide variety of musical styles (folk, jazz, classical and more), rhythms from around the world, including language and culture through playful exploration. Classes are offered at three convenient Austin-area locations. Purchase a semester of Music Together at tuneBugz.
- Thinkery is Austin’s home for “why” and “how.” A place where science and families play side by side. Where people connect with ideas by doing, making and experiencing. It’s a foundry for a new generation of innovators and creative problem solvers. And it’s a heck of a good time. Thinkery members receive free admission, amazing discounts, invitations to special events, and more. A variety of membership levels accommodate every family size and age range – from single parent households, to families with little ones, to grandparents. Purchase a Thinkery membership.
- Texas is home to more than 90 State Parks, many within a few hours drive of Austin. With activities like hiking, camping, fishing, and ranger-led programming, the opportunities for fun are nearly limitless. For a limited time, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation is offering the chance to buy a State Parks Pass online at a discounted price. One hundred percent of proceeds go to support state parks. This special offer lasts until the end of the day December 19, 2016.
- iFLY created modern indoor skydiving, making the dream of flight a reality by giving you “wings” in a safe and reliable environment. When you visit iFLY, get ready to be blown away – literally. Experience the feeling of freefall as you float on a smooth cushion of air. There’s no parachute, no jumping, and nothing attaching you to planet Earth. It’s just you flying in the air. Super fun, super safe, and super cool for ages 3 to 103. Give the gift of flight at iFLY.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is one of the country’s premier native plant botanic gardens dedicated to the conservation and restoration of native plants and resilient landscapes. The Center’s gardens and arboretum display the native plants of Central, South and West Texas. The Center’s education programs for children and adults teach about our environment and provide lessons on sustainable landscape design and native plants. Members receive free admission all year long, discounts, a subscription to Wildflower magazine, and reciprocal privileges. Purchase a gift membership to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
- The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema offers dinner, drinks, movies, and events, all under one roof. With five (soon to be six) Austin locations, Alamo Drafthouse is our favorite spot to watch new releases and classics alike. It’s hard to top the fun of an Alamo movie party! You can send an e-Gift card that is delivered instantly by email or order a physical card that is delivered in the mail. Purchase an Alamo Drafthouse gift card.
- The Contemporary Austin’s Art School at Laguna Gloria offer classes for ages four through adult in a beautiful, natural setting conducive to the creation of art. Classes and camps happen year-round in painting, drawing, wheel throwing (pottery), photography, Photoshop, collage, mosaics, watercolor, pastels, jewelry, glass, metal, and more. Purchase a gift card for Art School classes or camps.
- Foodie Kids offers year-round cooking classes, seasonal camps and workshops, and off-site cooking classes. In addition to being the country’s longest operating culinary school for kids ages 2-teens, Foodie Kids boasts a one-of-a kind, kid-friendly retail cooking supplies store and a unique make-your-own snack counter where kids can drop in for a mini cooking lesson to make their own snacks. Purchase a gift certificate that can be used for retails products or any culinary activity.
- Capital Cruises is nestled on the shores of beautiful Lady Bird Lake at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. While they are best known for their internationally famous bat watching excursions and sightseeing tours, they also rent paddle boards, canoes, swan pedal boats, kayaks, and 21′ Duffy and Longhorn boats. Purchase a gift certificate that can be used for bat cruises or rentals.
- Topgolf Austin features fun and competitive golf games for all ages, climate-controlled playing “bays” similar to a bowling lane, an impressive food and drink menu, and a music selection that will make every visit feel like a party. Purchase a Topgolf gift card good for memberships, games, apparel, lessons, food and beverages.