Sometimes the most meaningful and eco-friendly gift is an experience that creates memories to cherish for years to come. Here are seven ideas that will get your recipients out into nature, eating local food or spending a day as a zookeeper.
1. 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 destination, go to Kansas State Parks or Missouri State Parks. Many state parks across the country offer cabins or camping sites for rent.
2. 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 $100 savings over regular pricing. All Access Passes can be purchased at any community center or online at K.C .Parks Community Centers. Holiday pricing is available until December 31, 2018.
3. Let them dig in the dirt
If you know would-be gardeners who don’t live somewhere conducive to planting, you can rent a plot at one of Kansas City Community Gardens eight sites for $20 – $25 per growing season. Or buy them the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauties of visiting a garden with a $60 annual membership to Powell Gardens at1609 N.W. US Highway 50. For more information on garden plot rental, check out www.kccg.org or for a garden membership, visit Powell Gardens.
4. 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. Find a list of restaurants and local farmers at Kansas City Food Circle (KCFC). You can also buy a KCFC gift membership that has benefits like free tickets to farm tours, happy hours and pop-up events.
5. Help a child be a zookeeper for a day
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. 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 13-17. To give this gift, call 816-595-1765 or register online at K.C. Zoo Keeper for a Day. Or purchase a zoo membership for a family or child. They are on sale now at K.C. Zoo.
6. Make them a museum member
Although some 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 discounts in the gift shop, food court, art classes and several Kansas City restaurants. For membership options, go to Nelson Atkins Museum of Art or Kemper Museum of Modern Art.
7. Give the gift of music
If your loved one enjoys live music, purchase a gift certificate to the Kansas City Symphony, the Heartland Men’s Chorus or the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra. Gift certificates never expire, can be bought for any amount and can be used for most productions, including holiday concerts. To purchase K.C. Symphony gift certificates, call 816-471-0400 or visit K.C. Symphony. Contact the Heartland Men’s Chorus or 816-931-3338 and the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra at 816-225-4949.
Photo: Cross Timbers State Park in Toronto, KS