You’ve probably thought about what Christmas gifts you may wish to buy this year. How about considering a clutter-free, memorable gift for the child in your life? Many families have too much stuff, too many toys, plenty of video games and can see that the kids tire of those new toys pretty quickly. Throw in the questionable toy quality (think recalled toys and lead paint), and these non-toy ideas look even more interesting.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking about different options. These ideas are primarily targeted to the Minneapolis, Minnesota market, but you probably have similar options in your hometown.
Many families may be short on cash and would appreciate a gift of a year-long pass to an attraction. Most of these deals can be ordered online.
Valley Fair Season Pass
Shakopee, Minnesota. Regular Season Pass not including parking is $79.95 each for ages 3-61. See the website for other packages and details about this popular theme park. If you plan on visiting at least three times this summer, this pass will pay for itself. Valleyfair.com
Minnesota Zoo Pass
13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley, Minnesota. Household membership is $85 for two adults and children. The price includes free zoo admission for a year, 50% off monorail tickets and discounted admission to 100+ zoos across the country. Mnzoo.com
Minnesota Historical Society
Family annual membership is $60.00 (through 12/31/07). Membership includes free admission to over 20 historical sites, museums and libraries throughout Minnesota, including Historic Fort Snelling and the History Center in St. Paul. Kids love the History Center as there are many interactive displays and the ever popular re-creation of a tornado hitting a house. Fort Snelling has many events during the year where costumed soldiers and personnel re-enact the Fort’s early days. If you travel to Northern Minnesota, the membership pass is also good for free admission to lighthouses, museum’s and more. The membership will pay for itself if used a few times during the year. Mnhs.org
Lifetime Fishing/Hunting License
This idea is a little expensive, but would be great for a hunting or fishing family to receive from a grandparent. A lifetime hunting or fishing license for Minnesota residents is available from the DNR. See the website for all of the details, but for example, you can buy a lifetime fishing license for a child three and under for $227.00. A child 4 to 15 fishing license is available for $300.00. Firearms deer hunting lifetime license costs $337 for a child age 3 and under, and $450 for a child age 4 to 15. That outdoor adventure loving child will remember you every year. DNR lifetime license website
72 Minnesota State Parks Permit
Also at the DNR, another holiday gift idea is a Minnesota state park annual permit. It enables the recipient to enter 72 state parks and recreation areas around the state for an entire year. The permit costs $25 and comes with a gift enclosure card and guide to Minnesota state parks. See their website.
Or call them at: DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).