Giving the gift of experiences
Christmas and the gift-giving season is here, and along with it is the question of what to give the children in your world. All too often toys are forgotten within a week, and by the next year, nobody can remember what was given or received.
Something more meaningful than stuff is the gift of time and experience. They’re also gifts that continue to give throughout the year. No matter what your family enjoys, from hiking to shopping at a miniature grocery store, there’s a membership available. Give the gift that keeps on giving for the year to come.
Here are a few Upstate treasures that would make perfect gifts for the children in your world.
Roper Mountain Science Center is a perfect gift, and a family membership is only $65 for a year for two parents and household children. Families can attend the public events like Friday starry nights, second Saturday and summer events like the butterfly garden. They also get discounts on other events throughout the year.
Roper Mountain Science Center memberships also come with a reciprocity program to visit other science centers at a discount or for free. Memberships can be purchased online, but keep in mind the year membership starts the day of purchase. Visit https://ropermountain.org for more information.
A perennial favorite is The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, which has locations in both Greenville and Spartanburg. A family membership includes admission to both locations for $150. This gives unlimited visits to the museums throughout the year, as well as invitations to exclusive preview parties and discounts for birthday parties, classes and more.
A family membership covers the adults and children in a home or grandparents and grandchildren. You can even use your smartphone as your membership card. Membership information and the ability to sign up is available online at http://www.tcmupstate.org/membership.
The Upcountry History Museum gives families a glimpse at some amazing exhibits throughout the year. Membership gives access to the museum for a full year for members of a household. There are exclusive member events and discounts to ticketed events. It costs $95 for an annual membership for a family of up to six people. To purchase a membership, call the museum at 864-467-3100. More information is available online at www.upcountryhistory.org/support-the-museum/membership-opportunities.
The Greenville Zoo is another location that will give the family the gift of fun throughout the year. An annual membership gives a family admission into the zoo for a year, plus the ability to sign up for camps and programs before the general public. It also gives members discounts to over 130 other zoos across the country. Membership for the family is $70 and is for two adults and up to six children in the home. They also have a grandparents and grandkids option, as well as a family and friends option. Check the website for pricing and more information at www.greenvillezoo.com.
If more action is needed, why not purchase season or half-season tickets for the Swamp Rabbits, Greenville’s own ice hockey team? Even if you just get tickets for one or two games, it’s sure to be an experience to remember. A full season will run anywhere from $270-$875, and a half-season between $162-$333. Individual games range from $10-$30 each if purchased in advance. Not only do attendees get to experience the game, but they also often have fun games and extras depending on the time of year. Tickets are available online at www.swamprabbits.com.
Finally, for a family that loves the outdoors, look into South Carolina State Parks passports. There are three different types available. The Inland Park Passport gives access to 42 parks, but not ones along the coast, and is $50. The Park Passport Statewide gives access to all 47 SC parks for a year and is $75. For $99 the Park Passport Plus gives access to all parks, plus admission for four to Atalaya Castle, free swimming at Oconee State Park, Paris Mountain and Table Rock, plus more. Park passports cover anyone inside the car and are good for one year from the purchase date. With twelve parks in the upstate alone, this is a perfect gift of adventure. Visit https://southcarolinaparks.com for information and to purchase passes.