stack of presents (ideas for experience gifts in Boston)

My kids have a lot of stuff. So much stuff, in fact, that we just finished our basement in order to store and play with this stuff and not have it all over the house. You can see why I fear the gift-giving holidays! Please, no more stuff! Instead, I am suggesting, encouraging, and hoping for experience gifts for our children. As much as my girls love stuff, they also love doing. And there are so many incredible options. Here are a few of our favorite Boston-area experience gift ideas — mom tested and approved!

A membership to the local children’s museum

Whether it’s the Boston Children’s Museum, the Fall River Children’s Museum, the Cape Cod Children’s Museum, the Discovery Museum in Acton, or the Easton Children’s Museum, a family membership is a great idea! Costs range from $60-220/year, depending on the number of children/adults and the perks you are interested in. What’s great about these memberships is that they pay for themselves within a few visits. They are great for use during school vacations, days off, and summer break.

Passes for active, indoor fun

A visit to a trampoline park, a rock climbing gym, Legoland Discovery Center, or another indoor play space is an exciting occasion! Passes or tickets to these spaces are always a welcome gift for my very active little ones.

Zoo memberships

There are so many zoos in New England. For the Boston area, we love Franklin Park and Stone ZooSouthwick’s Zoo (offering memberships through EARTH Limited), Capron Park Zoo, Buttonwood Park Zoo, and Roger Williams Park Zoo (in Rhode Island). Zoo memberships range in price from $70-422/year. The zoo may seem like a place to visit in the summer months only, but there are so many things happening there year round! Whether it’s jack-o’-lanterns, Christmas lights, or adult/parent nights, the zoo can provide endless fun and education! Our girls love visiting the animals, and we typically do so many times throughout the spring, summer, and fall!

Museum of Science membership

This membership is great for kids of all ages! We were once gifted a family membership when my oldest was 2. I wasn’t sure how it would work out with such a young child, but she loved it there! While many of the exhibits are for older children, the Museum of Science also provides great adventures for little ones! Membership prices range from $100-235/year, and some membership levels include free parking!

Tickets to a show or sporting event

For a child, there’s something magical about anticipating and then attending a live show or sporting event with a parent! Try gifting tickets to a play, a Revolution game for your soccer lover, a Disney on Ice show, a concert by a favorite band, a Bruins game for your hockey kid, or any other game or performance that speaks to your child!

Aquarium memberships

The New England Aquarium in Boston and Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut are two family favorites. These memberships range from $109-305/year, again depending on the number of children/adults included in the membership. Memberships at the aquarium include discounts at their stores, monthly perks, and special members-only events! If your little ones love the sea, an aquarium membership is definitely a great idea for a gift this year.

Tickets to pop-up events

There’s always a cool new experience somewhere in Boston that’s only in town for a brief period. It’s hard to hit them all, but when the tickets are a gift it’s extra special! Be on the lookout for the Art of the Brick, Immersive Disney Animation, the Museum of Ice Cream, and Bubble Planet.

Contributions to lessons or classes

Does your child love her gymnastics class? Is he really into his art lessons? Maybe they’re hoping to try a new music class or continue ice skating lessons this year? When family members ask what to gift for the holidays or an upcoming birthday, suggest a contribution to an activity or lesson your child is already involved in and enjoying!

Sarah grew up in Rhode Island and now lives in West Bridgewater, making brief stops in Quincy, Fall River, and East Bridgewater, along the way. She made the leap from Rhode Island to Massachusetts way back in 1999 when she decided to pursue a teaching degree at Boston University. She chose her career in 1987 and is currently teaching high school English to 10th and 12th graders, fulfilling a 6-year-old’s dream at the age of 22, a proclamation that often brings forth snickers from her students. She became a mother for the first time in 2016 to her daughter Cecilia, then doubled down in late 2018 with the birth of her second daughter, Adelaide. She currently lives with her husband, Jason, their dog, Nanook, their cat, Moxie, and five chickens. They share a home with her parents, who live above them and also provide the most amazing childcare for Ceci and Addie. Sarah couldn’t live without her family, her insulin pump (shout out to other T1D mamas), and Starbucks iced chai lattes. She could live without angry people, essay grading, and diaper changing.

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