Best Experience Gifts To Give Your Kids
Tired of having a million toys cluttering up your house? Give your kids a gift that takes up no space and will give them memories that will last forever.
The best gifts don’t always come wrapped. These ideas will make memories your kids will never forget.
This is a primo last minute stocking stuffer. Get a year-long subscription to a theater near you that’ll get you discounts (from one movie a month to three a week). Perks include food and drink discounts, advanced seat reservation and e-ticket accessibility.
Kids as young as five can participate in the Positively Penguins Experience, where he’ll pet the flightless birds and watch them paint (you get to keep the masterpiece!). They can also opt for a Sea Turtle Experience, where they hand-feed the amphibians.
Take ’em out to the ball game all season long at a minor league field near you. Call a representative of the Lakewood BlueClaws, New Jersey Jackals, Somerset Patriots or Trenton Thunder to grab seats. You’ll get access to pregame concerts, weekend fireworks, stadium campouts and more.
They’ll get to make their way out of a staged set filled with props, clues, locks and riddles. They’ll need to solve the mystery before the clock runs out to escape. You can expect everything from hidden keys to word puzzles to secret codes. Adventure Rooms in Montclair, Escapology in Garwood, Solve It Sherlock! in Neptune and Escape Room NJ in Hackensack and Madison are all stellar options. If your kid’s into horror movie or getting spooked, opt for Bane Escape in Livingston or 13th Hour Escape in Wharton.
Instead of one costly day trip to ride the coasters, get a discounted season pass they’ll enjoy in spring, summer and fall. Try Dorney Park or Six Flags for the thrill seekers in the family, or Sesame Place for little ones. Make a splash for Christmas break at Camelback’s Aquatopia, Kalahari or Great Wolf Lodge or plan a day trip to Sahara Sam’s Oasis. These resorts have the perfect water temperature year-round. Plus, the kids will love breaking out their swimsuits in the winter.
Is your lil’ flosser totally obsessed with Minecraft? You’ll want to snag tix to Minefaire, a massive fan experience featuring live stage shows, virtual reality demonstrations, workshops, a LEGO station, costume contests and plenty of gaming, while you can. The event will be at the NJ Convention and Expo Center in Edison from August 3-4. They might feel antsy having to wait until summer, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. Until then, take a crack at family game night (Fortnite Monopoly, anyone?)
Tiny sleuths can solve a major crime in this Sherlock-inspired exhibit packed with experiments, clues and tips. They’ll learn how the pros find evidence by analyzing blood spatter, testing shoe prints, examining crime scenes, sending messages in Morse Code and more. Closes May 27.
The American Museum of Natural History, Intrepid Museum, Liberty Science Center, Philadelphia Zoo and Battleship New Jersey all offer out-of-this-world sleepovers. Find the one that suits them best and plan ahead (these events sell out way ahead of time!).
What better way to take advantage of their time off school than squeezing in a short family vacay? Whether you go for the day or a weekend, there’s no shortage of fun at these drivable spots: Gettysburg, where they can learn about the Civil War, Lehigh Valley, which is full of top-tier bites and attractions like Crayola Experience, or Philadelphia, where they can visit the newly opened LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Pennsylvania; Niagara Falls, where they can walk the Rainbow Bridge to Canada and hop a ride on the Maid of the Mist, or the Corning Museum of Glass, Fort Ticonderoga or the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves upstate, all in New York; and destination cities like Washington, DC, Baltimore and Virginia Beach.
Let Them Choose Their Own Adventure
What do the kids really want? More quality time with you! Take a day off from work when they’re off from school and let them plan their perfect day. It might mean eating cupcakes for lunch and dinner, but you’ll love it as much as they do.
Tiffany & Co. Blue Box Cafe
Willing to travel over the Hudson for over-the-top fun? Here are our fave experiences to give the kids in New York City.
It doesn’t get more elegant than finger sandwiches, sweets and tea at a high-end Manhattan tea room. Our fave kids’ tea experience is Eloise Afternoon Tea at The Palm Court in The Plaza, where they can sip an Eloise Rootbeer Float (while you sip a virgin mint julep or chamomile ginger ale) and munch pastries like chocolate dipped strawberry crispy rice treats, raspberry and vanilla cotton candy or seasonal fresh scones. Other options include Afternoon Tea at The Ritz-Carlton, Bergdorf Goodman or the Gotham Lounge at The Peninsula, or a full-fledged breakfast and tea party at The Blue Box Cafe by Tiffany & Co.
Didn’t get a chance to go over the summer? This Instaworthy pop-up is full of treats and sugar-filled rooms. Go over the holiday break to explore more than a dozen installation rooms including sugar sharks, edible jelly bean artwork, a licorice dragon and a marshmallow pool (yes, you can jump in!). Closes January 6.
This beloved pop-up is making a return in 2019. Visitors get to help puppets and characters rescue their island from evil forces and try out STEAM activities and problem solving to complete their missions. Get tickets to visit the immersive experience in the spring and beyond.
Unlike all the other viral pop-ups in NYC, this one’s totally permanent. The kids won’t believe their eyes in exhibits that include a real-life bottomless pit, The Mirage, The Infinity Room that’s packed wall-to-wall with mirrors and the Anti-Gravity Room where they’ll see the impossible, like a ball rolling uphill.
This interactive exhibition lets the kids get up-close-and-personal with their fave animated flick. Go for a dip in Glitter Creek, ride the Caterbus, marvel at a virtual gem-filled pool and snack on sweets. Splurge on the Hair We Go package to transform the kiddos with Troll wigs and pro makeup.
The American Girl Place doesn’t just have a new location, it’s had a complete makeover—and we’re not just talking about a fresh coat of acrylic paint. She can swing by the salon for side-by-side styling experiences with her doll, including hair, nails and ear piercings. Pair that with lunch reservations at their new super cute cafe, and you’ll be her hero.
You tell them to dream big, but with these mini-landscapes they'll feel like a giant. Gulliver’s Gate features super-small versions of NYC, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East with technology and detail that will blow both your minds. These “tiny wonders” occupy a full city block and will amaze with their intricate detail.
Normal aquariums are awesome, but they’re limited and can't have gigantic whales, but at this new Times Square attraction, they can get see the majestic creatures. Ocean Odyssey allows guests to come face-to-face with humpback whales, great white sharks, squid, sea lions and more. For East-coast natives, you don’t want to miss this opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with these Pacific creatures.
The sky’s the limit at the Trapeze School of New York, which will teach him aerial and flying tricks—and make you the greatest gift-giver. He can jump off a ledge and float through the air from the safety of a harness while simultaneously conquering any fear of heights.
Snag tickets for The Lion King, Aladdin and School of Rock. Make sure the show is age-appropriate for your kid before ordering.