Sometimes the most meaningful and eco-friendly gift is an experience that creates memories to cherish for years to come. Here are nine ideas that will get your recipients out into nature, eating local food or maybe even taking a local meat butchering class.
1. Give fitness all year long
Give a gift that includes a fitness center membership, ice skating, swimming and classes with an All Access Pass from Kansas City Parks and Recreation. With 10 community centers located throughout the city, your gift recipient will never have to go too far to get in a good workout. Right now you can get the pass for $150 savings over regular pricing. All Access Passes can be purchased at any community center or online at www.kcparks.org. Holiday pricing is available until January 2, 2016.
2. Become a butcher
For the meat lover, consider a gift certificate for a butchering class at Local Pig. Students will get hands-on experience butchering a whole hog or lamb, or learn the basics of making their own sausage. For all classes, students get to take home 5 to 25 pounds of the meat they butchered. If your meat lover doesn’t want to learn to butcher, you can give him or her a Butcher Box gift card instead. The card provides a week of locally produced burgers, sausages, chops and roasts, as well as several other handmade items from Local Pig. To see everything Local Pig has to offer, check out the website at www.thelocalpig.com or drop in for a visit at 2618 Guinotte Ave.
3. Start a home-brewing hobby
Give the gift of a class, such as Grain to Glass’ Homebrewing for Beginners Class. Attendees brew a batch of beer and bottle a previously fermented brew to take home. The cost is $50 for the 3-hour class, and each participant receives detailed instructions to become confident brewers at home. Grain to Glass is a homebrew supply shop in North Kansas City. Upcoming classes are scheduled for 4-7 p.m. on Sunday, January 3, and 7-10 p.m. on Wednesday, February 3. Private classes can be arranged for 4 to 12 people. The classes are held at 1611 Swift Street, North Kansas City. Learn more at www.graintoglass.biz.
4. Give the gift of music
If your loved one enjoys classical music, purchase a gift certificate to the Kansas City Symphony. Gift certificates never expire, can be bought for any amount and can be used for most productions, including holiday concerts. To purchase gift certificates, call 816-471-0400 or visit the box office at 1703 Wyandotte St., Suite 200 in Kansas City. For information on symphony events, visit www.kcsymphony.org.
5. Give a child a day as a zookeeper
At the Kansas City Zoo, mini zookeepers get the opportunity to help various keepers doing everything from cleaning exhibits and preparing diets to learning the basics of animal handling and educating visitors about conservation. Each participant receives a t-shirt, nametag and lunch. This program runs seven days a week through March 31, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Friends of the Zoo Members receive a 10-percent discount off the $145 regular pricing. Two age categories are available including Mini Zookeepers for ages 7 – 12 and Junior Zookeepers for ages 13-18. To give this gift, call 816-595-1765 or register online at www.kczoo.org.
6. Give a garden
If you know would-be gardeners who don’t live somewhere conducive to planting, you can rent a garden plot for them. Choose a raised plot (some of which are wheelchair-accessible) or a ground plot at Kansas City Community Gardens for $15-$25 per growing season. Or buy them the opportunity simply to enjoy the natural beauties of a garden with a $50 annual membership, with free general admission to Powell Gardens, located at1609 N.W. US Highway 50. For more information on garden plot rental, check out www.kccg.org. For Powell Gardens, go to www.powellgardens.org.
7. Rent a cozy cabin
Love the outdoors? Take your loved one or the entire family for a weekend getaway at a nearby state park or lake. Kansas and Missouri have thousands of available campsites as well as cabins. Many campsites are walk-in, but both states have an easy-to-use online reservation system. For help in finding your ultimate state park destination in Kansas, go to www.kdwpt.state.ks.us; in Missouri, visit www.mostateparks.com.
8. Eat out, eat local
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a foodie, consider a certificate for a dinner at one of Kansas City’s environmentally conscious restaurants. Many are committed to cooking with fresh, local ingredients and have instituted sustainable practices elsewhere in the kitchen. Try out The Farmhouse at 300 Delaware St. in the River Market, Blue Bird Bistro at 1700 Summit St., Café Gratitude at 333 Southwest Blvd., or Justus Drugstore, 106 W. Main St. in Smithville. For restaurants that cater especially to vegetarian diets, check out Eden Alley Café, 707 W. 47th St.; for vegan cuisine, share a meal at FÜD, 813 W. 17th St.
The Eat Local (and Organic!) Dining Card offered by Kansas City Food Circle makes a great gift, providing a one-time 10-percent discount at all of these restaurants and many more. For more information on local restaurants that use local ingredients, go to www.kcfoodcircle.org. Also, check for an extensive list of local, independent restaurants at Kansas City Originals, www.kcoriginals.com. Gift cards are available.
9. Make them a museum member
Although most local museums are free to the public, paid memberships help to keep them free. If your gift recipient is a lover of the arts, this could be the perfect gift for them — and membership, of course, comes with perks. Membership at the Kemper Museum of Modern Art, 4420 Warwick Blvd., includes a discount at the museum café and gift shop. Membership at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St. in Kansas City, includes free parking and exhibition tickets, and discounts in the gift shop, food court and several Kansas City restaurants. To buy a membership, go to www.nelson-atkins.org or www.kemperart.org.