We’re down to single digits people. That’s right, just a handful of days until Christmas is here. Are you panic shopping like I am? I’m down to the wire on gifts, wrapping and just about everything else this year… but I’m also trying a new approach – buying more “experience” presents.
When my kids open a new toy, I love seeing the look of joy on their faces just as much as the next parent does – but I also know it’s a matter of time before even the most exciting of playthings will be forgotten. This year, rather than collecting more things, I’m opting for gifts of time and memories. And so I give you the Family Fun Edmonton Top Picks for Terrific Last Minute Gift Ideas That Aren’t Toys!
1. Blind them with Science! It’s a no-brainer – For about the price of two family full-day admissions, you can purchase an annual membership to the TELUS World of Science Edmonton. It offers unlimited access to TWOSE’s great galleries and exhibits, plus discounts on everything from movies to food to science-y stuff in the gift shop. Oh, and speaking of movies, add the IMAX Movie Fanatic Annual Pass (on sale until January 5) for unlimited access to educational IMAX films, and great deals on special events like PJ parties and Hollywood movies!
2. Giant Mall, Giant Fun: Galaxyland, World Waterpark, Sea Life Caverns, and so much more – West Edmonton Mall is chock full of fun for days! To enjoy it all, check out the many options they have with their Multi-Play Passes. You can choose everything from 2-day passes to a full year!
3. Zoo for You! The Edmonton Valley Zoo is open 364 days of the year. Annual Members enjoy unlimited access to the Zoo during regular public hours, free or discount admission at other zoos in Canada and the United States, and a discount at the Zootique gift shop!
4. Mammoth Fun! I had to drag my children away from the new Royal Alberta Museum on our first visit. It was right then and there I decided to buy a Mammoth Pass. It’s a no brainer – especially if you have littles like I do. Kids 6 and under enjoy the museum for free every day. For the rest of us, the annual Mammoth Pass is equal to or less than the cost of two visits.
5. Oh Canada! A Parks Canada Discovery Pass offers access to over 80 national parks and historic sites. Kids 17 and under enjoy year-round free admission, so all you need to do is purchase adult passes to get the whole family in! Bonus – buy before December 31, 2019 and enjoy $20 off the regular price!
6. Mini Pops = Mega Fun! Channel your own childhood as you sing, dance and make memories with your kids when you gift them ticket to the Mini Pop Kids Bright Lights Tour! This musical spectacular will hit the stage at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in March 2020.
7. A Gift that’s Dino-mite! A good gift is worth the wait, right? Dinosaur lovers young and old will love a visit to Jurassic Forest – just remember that the seasonal facility is open May to October. Choose from season passes or one-time visit tickets.
8. Dinner Theatre for Kids Dinner and a show isn’t just for grownups anymore – Check out the fun, funny shows offered by Jubilations Dinner Theatre in their Jubilations Junior series! The Saturday matinees feature a kid-friendly meal and a performance perfect for the younger crowd! Buy tickets for one show, or check out the whole series!
9. Give the Gift of Creativity! My kids can’t get enough of Paper Scissors Paint Art Studio. This process art studio allows kids to try different mediums and techniques with no pressure to create a specified final product. They are free to be as creative as can be! Get a gift card that can be used toward a camp, class, workshop or even open studio time!
10. Tickets, Tickets! An experience gift doesn’t have to be a season pass, of course. Why not purchase tickets for a concert, event or show? The Winspear Centre has everything from the ESO for Kids, to Fred Penner to Peppa Pig Live! St. Albert’s Arden Theatre boasts an impressive family-friendly lineup in 2020, including The Great Balanzo in Concert and Dufflebag Theatre presents: Beauty and the Beast. Sherwood Park’s Festival Place has excellent family programming coming up, including the Peking Acrobats and the Festival Players for Kids present: Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. The Horizon Stage will be rocked by Rhythmo! in January.