Friday, January 20, 2012

Experience Gifts in NH

Although Christmas has come and gone, Experience gifts still work for birthday, anniversaries, Easter baskets...

As you know, I am a fan of experience gifts or something unique that is not plastic and in the trash in 2 days. I tried to find a list of great ideas for season tickets or cool memberships in New England, but there was not a comprehensive list anywhere. So, I had to come up with one... why do I have to do all the work around here???

The first on my list is a season pass to Water Country here in New Hampshire. My Mom has already gotten Ariana and Annika each one for Christmas. Do you know how excited they will be each time we get to go to Water Country this year courtesy of Grammy & Grampy??? It is way better than some plastic toy that they will play with for 2 days and then forget about. And for only $59 per pass, it actually makes trips to the Water park affordable for the year. Check your local water park to see if they have season passes (most do). Another water park here in NH is Liquid Planet that sells their season pass for $60.

You can also get season passes to many other family attractions around New Hampshire, like Santa's Village. (at $67, it's a great deal, although it does not appear to be available to order online yet.)

A pass to the state park system is a perfect gift for a family like us who enjoys the outdoors. It covers admission to the beaches, hiking, playgrounds and all of the other amenities that the state park system offers. The NH State Park pass is only $120 for the whole family for the year.

A lot of communities have indoor play gyms or activity centers that us stay at home moms love to utilize in the colder months in New England. Locally, we have the places like Cowabungas that offer gift cards that make great experience gifts.

A universal great experience gift would be to get movie theater gift cards. What family doesn't love a good trip to the movies... but who can afford it these days? My parents gave us one for Christmas one year and Ariana was so excited to have it, she begged to use it every day until we finally went. Check out Fandango for gift cards for $10-$100.

So, in researching these ideas, probably the best value I have found was the Association of Children's Museums Reciprocal Program for memberships. You buy a membership at your local children's museum and it is good at hundreds around the country! At around $125 dollars that is a great value for someone like me who doesn't mind taking the kids on day trips to get out of the house. There is a caveat where the membership might not reciprocate for a museum within 90 miles of your home museum, you'd have to call and check first, but there are literally dozens around New England:

The Children's Museum of New Hampshire (Dover, NH)
McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center (Concord, NH)
Mount Washington Observatory and Weather Discovery Center (NH)
SEE Science Center (Manchester, NH)
Boston Children's Museum (Boston)
Cape Cod Children's Museum (Mashpee, MA)
Children's Museum in Easton (North Easton, MA)
World, Children's Global Discovery Museum (Cohasset, MA)
Berkshire Museum (Pittsfield, MA)
EcoTarium (Worcester, MA)
Museum of Science (Boston, MA)
Springfield Museums/Springfield Science Museum (Springfield, MA)
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Woods Hole, MA)

Children's Discovery Museum(Augusta, ME)
Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine (Portland, ME)
Coastal Children's Museum (Rockland, ME)
Discovery Museum(Bangor, ME)

Providence Children's Museum (Providence, RI)
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University (Providence, RI)

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center (Burlington, VT)
Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium (St Johnsbury, VT)

The Children's Museum (West Hartford, CT)
Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut (Niantic, CT)
Imagine Nation Children's Museum (Bristol, CT)
Kidcity Children's Museum (Middletown, CT)
Lutz Children's Museum (Manchester, CT)
Stepping Stones Museum for Children (Norwalk, CT)
Bruce Museum (Greenwich, CT)
The Children's Museum (West Hartford, CT)
Discovery Museum, Inc. (Bridgeport, CT)
DNA EpiCenter (New London, CT)
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History (New Haven, CT)

• Check out my gift ideas for last year with everything from murder mystery cruises to spa gift certificates.

Check out for 50% off ski gift cards, restaurants, salons and more in NH and MA!

• If you are in New England and have a suggestion for a membership or season pass, please let me know.

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