The Art of Gifting An Experience {New Orleans Edition}

The holidays are my favorite time of year, specifically Christmas. The music, the decorations, the spirit – I can’t help but get swallowed up in the fun of it all! And I now love the experience of holidays with my toddler son!

Gift hunting may be a daunting task for some, but I even enjoy the search for the perfect gift for each person on my list. Experience gifts are my favorite type of gifts to give. Gifting an experience over a material item allows for the recipient to create memories at will and has a unique way of expressing thoughtfulness. I enjoy finding a thoughtful something that the person never would have thought to treat themselves to. And to add to that, experience gifts do not create clutter for recipient (or his or her parents if still living under their roof!)
With the holiday season right upon us, here are some gift giving experiences that may help you cross a few people off your list – or maybe some will even top your own.

Thoughtful Family-Friendly Experience Gifts

Audubon Institute Membership The Audubon Institute offers different membership packages to the Zoo, Insectarium + Butterfly Garden, and Aquarium. In addition to these family-friendly staples, the newly re-opened Nature Center plays host to many different types of events and has restored nature trails. I can remember going there as a kid on school field trips.

Global Wildlife Center Located on the Northshore, the Global Wildlife Center offers safari tours for people of all ages. Connect with nature and get up close views of giraffes, kangaroos and yep, even llamas. Llamas are the new sloths, so gifting a safari tour will basically make you the coolest gift-giver ever.

New Orleans Boulder Lounge I can remember going to Climb Max in the late 90s for rock climbing with one of my (still) best girlfriends. Climb Max is now closed, but New Orleans Boulder Lounge, which has 2 locations, fills that void. A gift certificate or membership to NOBL is a perfect gift for that adventurous spirit in your family! NOBL also offers kid-only hours each Sunday from 10am-12pm at both locations.

Sector 6 What kid wouldn’t love to go to Sector 6, the “largest extreme air sports facility in the world?” Heck, what adult wouldn’t love to go to this place?! Sector 6 offers kid jump time, family night, themed nights and even college nights. Another great gift suggestion for the adventurer!

New Orleans Motorsports Park Who on your list has a need for speed? New Orleans Motorsports Park is your answer for their gift this year. I gifted this experience a few years back to my husband, my brother and my brother-in-law. My brother has been back 3 or 4 times since! The Jr/Sr Karts are perfect for a kid to pair up with their parent or guardian.

The Monkey Room Gift a younin’ a Jungle Pass to The Monkey Room. The Monkey Room has a toddler area as well as an area for older kids. The child’s parents will love you for this gift, especially on rainy days when kids are full of energy.

Louisiana Children’s Discovery Center LCDC, located in Hammond, is a fun-filled children’s museum focused on the power of play. LCDC offers a variety of membership packages.

Louisiana Children’s Museum Located on the South shore, the Louisiana Children’s Museum offers a variety of exhibits that focus on play and imagination. LCM offers a variety of membership packages that would be perfect for a little one’s imagination (and his or her parents).

Ghost City Tours New Orleans is packed with 300 years of history…and ghosts. What better way to experience our wonderful city than through the true grittiness a la The Nightmare Before Christmas (or after, depending on when you gift this)! Ghost City Tours offers tours for all ages and 16+.

KinderMusik Classes at Kindermusik are so much fun for toddlers and kids…and their parents! We took my son to a class and he had a blast shaking and hitting the instruments.

Note: Some of the family-friendly experience gifts are geared toward older children. 

Thoughtful Experience Gifts For the Young at Heart

Not sure what to get your adult children, siblings, or friends who are like family? Here are a few ideas for thoughtful experience gifts for the young at heart.

Abita Brewery Tour Passes Give the gift of a tour of the Abita Brewery. The tap room and Abita Pub are also fun jaunts. Tours are$5 and are family-friendly. Yep, that’s right … bring the kids … but they have to be 21 or older to partake, of course.

Natchez Cruise Passes We have access to the Mighty Mississippi and its beautiful views. Give someone the experience of rollin’ on the river set against the beautiful of Downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter with Steamboat Natchez Cruise passes. Bonus: Children 6 and under cruise free with a paid adult!
Rosetree Studios Last year, I gave my brother and sister-in-law a gift certificate to Rosetree Studios for a “Blow Your Own” class. They had so much fun that they signed up for a second class. Your recipient can select a class based on the glass item they would like to create. I’m dying to take the ornament making class. Rosetree Studios is located in the BEST neighborhood in New Orleans, Algiers Point.

Restaurant gift cards We live in New Orleans—the city that lives to eat. You can’t go wrong with a gift card to one of the few thousand restaurants in the Greater New Orleans area. Need a few suggestions for different price points? Le Crepe Nanou (which is my favorite restaurant in the city), Maypop, Doris Metropolitan, Brown Butter and Avo.

What other experience gifts can you come up with? Let’s hear those suggestions!

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