By Katie Moosbrugger
We all know how hard it can be to find that perfect gift. But sometimes the most memorable present isn’t something you can physically pull out of a box. Have you ever considered giving the gift of an experience? We’ve updated this post that ran a few years ago to include dozens more local and fun experience gift ideas for families with kids of all ages. From art to sports to adventure and and overnight excursions, you’re sure to find something for everyone on your list. Scroll down to see our list of categories, and click on the categories that interest you. If we forgot a favorite experience gift idea, please email me at Katie@TriadMomsOnMain.com and we’ll get it added. Enjoy!
Click on each to go immediately to the following categories:
Give the Gift of Art (Classes, Workshops, Girls Night Outs)
Give the Gift of Food & Wine (Classes, Tours, Dinners, Girls’ or Guys’ Night Outs)
~ Visit our list of Kid Friendly Restaurants your whole family will love, or Ethnic restaurants, Adult Favorite restaurants, or where Kids Eat Free (and almost free!)
~ Beer School at Foothills Brewery
~ Black Mountain Chocolate (offer a gift card to the store after a factory and kitchen tour)
~ Edible Schoolyard at GSO Children’s Museum (for kids AND adults)
~ Southern Home & Kitchen cooking classes
~ The Stocked Pot cooking classes
~ Williams-Sonoma Cooking & Product Classes
~ Wineries: Click HERE to see more wineries and vineyards in the Piedmont area
~ Wine Tours with Yadkin Valley Wine Tours, NC Wine Tours, or LuRoo’s
Give the Gift of Membership or Daily Passes
There are so many different memberships you can offer your recipient, and here are a few local places that make it easy:
~ Children’s Museum of Alamance County
~ Greensboro Children’s Museum
~ Greensboro Science Center
~ Kaleideum Downtown
~ Kaleideum North
~ NC Hunting, Fishing and Trapping License
~ NC Parks Annual Pass (if you enjoy boating, swimming or 4-wheel driving at state parks)
~ NC Zoo
~ Old Salem
~ Reynolda House
~ Tanglewood – Annual passes can be purchased at the Front Gate or Welcome Center for $25.00. Entrance fees and Annual Admission do not include Admission to Special Events.
~ Wet N Wild
~ Memberships to gyms or other health/wellness organizations are always a good idea: YMCA of NWNC, YMCA of Greensboro, YMCA of High Point, Orange Theory, 9Round, Jazzersize Winston-Salem Fitness Center, Burn Boot Camp, just to name a few!
~ Think ahead and buy your family a pool membership for next summer!
~ There are many other places to consider membership. Visit our directories of Arts & Enrichment, Sports Programs, and Birthday Parties for additional ideas!
~ Other museums and attractions to consider for memberships and passes:
Battleship NC (Wilmington)
Discovery Place (Charlotte) & Discovery Place Kids (Huntersville)
Marbles Kids Museum (Raleigh)
Museum of Life + Science (Durham)
NASCAR Hall of Fame (Charlotte)
Tweetsie Railroad (Blowing Rock)
Give the Gift of Sports
~ Purchase a season of your child’s favorite sport. Click HERE to see our directory of Sports Programs in the Triad.
~ Take the family to see a game (or a season of games) of your favorite sport at these local colleges:
Wake Forest University
High Point University
~ There are several other schools within driving distance of the Triad, including UNC Chapel Hill, Duke University, UNC Charlotte, NC State, Appalachian State, and more!
~ Don’t forget the pros: Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets.
~ Or tickets to a local minor league baseball game: Winston-Salem Dash, Greensboro Grasshoppers, Thomasville HiToms, and Burlington Royals.
~ Carolina Dynamo professional soccer – www.carolinadynamo.com/site
~ Catching a race at Bowman Gray is always fun too (and loud!) or at Farmington Dragway.
~ Of course you’re not limited to the Triad either. If you’re traveling out of town for the holidays, consider tickets to a game in the city/town of your destination!
~ Consider giving lessons of a favorite sport to your spouse, child, family member or friend. Ideas include horseback riding at Legacy Saddlebreds, Learn-to-Skate at Greensboro Ice House, basketball at CP3 Basketball Academy, swimming at High Point Swim Club (For 10% off, use the coupon code HPSC-TMOM at check-out!), just to name a few!
Give the Gift of Relaxation
Give the Gift of Adventure
~ Ace Adventure Center
~ Charlotte Helicopter Sight Seeing
~ Corn Maze Adventure
~ Greensboro Balloon Rides
~ Hang Gliding
~ High Ropes Challenge: Kersey Valley High Ropes, SkyWild
~ NASCAR Junior Ride Alongs
~ NASCAR Racing Experience
~ Sky Diving: Piedmont Sky Diving, Sky Dive Carolina
~ Snow Skiing & Tubing
~ Train Rides at Tweetsie, NC Transportation Museum, or Polar Express
~ Triad Eco Adventures
~ US National White Water Center
~ Zaloos Canoes
~ Zip Line Tours: Beanstalk Zip lines, Gorge Zipline, High Gravity, Kersey Valley, Richland Creek Zip Line Canopy Tour
Give the Gift of Local Fun
~ Trampoline Parks & Inflatable Fun: Air Fun, Bouncin’ Around, Get Air, Jump N Fun, Monkey Joe’s, Rockin’ Jump Greensboro, Rockin’ Jump Winston-Salem, Safari Nation, SkyZone
~ American Girl Store
~ Escape Rooms: Breakout Games, Kersey Valley Escape, Psycho 60, Triad Escape Room
~ Laser Tag: Laser Tag of Archdale, Laser X Burlington, SpareTime, Kersey Valley Laser Tag
~ Lazy Five Ranch
~ Obstacle Courses: Cliff Hangers, Kinetic Heights, Level Up
~ Many more local fun ideas can be found in our Birthday Party directory HERE!
Gift the Gift of a Night Out, Overnight, or a Family Trip
~ Consider one of these overnight packages with your significant other at the O. Henry Hotel!
~ Schedule a surprise Day Trip for the family
~ Book a night or two (or more) at Great Wolf Lodge
~ Splurge on a date night
~ Plan a family vacation to Disney or Universal Studios
~ Explore Biltmore, or experience Greenbrier
~ Gift them with thrills and memories at Dollywood or Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA
Give the Gift of Summer Camp
~ Start your search for the ideal camp experience with our Summer Camp Directory
~ From now until December 31, you can register your kids at YMCA Camp Hanes using 2017 prices. As of January 1, 2018, prices will increase.
Gift the Gift of Culture
~ Package tickets together with a gift card for snacks at a favorite national movie theatre, or a locally owned one.
~ Consider tickets for a performance at The Stevens Center, Blumenthal Performing Arts, Milton Rhodes Arts Center, Twin City Stage, Carolina Theatre, High Point Theatre, Triad Stage, Community Theatre of Greensboro, Paramount Theatre, Kernersville Little Theatre, UNCG Theatre, High Point Community Theatre, Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance, or the The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem.
~ How about dinner and a show at The Barn Theatre?
~ Catch a concert or show at the Greensboro Coliseum
~ Savor a night out with the Winston-Salem Symphony or Greensboro Symphony
*If you are seeking fabulous tickets to a Broadway or Off Broadway show – whether in NYC or another major city – here are some web sites and tips you might want to consider:
~ The free app Today Tix has a good roundup of both discount tickets and digital lotteries that you can enter right on the app.
~ You can usually find discount codes on BroadwayBox.
~ The website Broadway for Broke People is a good roundup of ticket lotteries (usually the day of, in person, or online) if you’re interested in going that route.
~ In NYC, you can also visit the TKTS discount booth the day of a show for tickets that are about 50% off. The one in Times Square usually has a long line, unless you go later in the afternoon (and there are usually some shows left then). There are also TKTS discount booth at the South Street Seaport, Lincoln Center and in downtown Brooklyn – and the lines are usually lighter at these locations – although all quite a long walk or drive from the theatre district in midtown Manhattan – so plan accordingly.
Other Ways to Give the Gift of An Experience
Like I mentioned above, sometimes the best gifts of all are those that are not even wrapped. Here are a couple other ways to gift the gift of an experience. Whether you are giving or receiving, these ideas offer an experience for both sides of the gift exchange.
~ Offer to do something nice for a year (laundry, dishes, yard work). You can suggest this to your children who don’t have money to spend on a relative.
~ Donate your time (not just your money) by volunteering with your family. We have great ideas listed HERE.