‘Experience’ is the name of the game when it comes to smart holiday gifts to grandkids
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
If your grandchildren have plenty of toys and games, consider giving experiences this year. What children enjoy most is the gift of time with the adults who love them. Pair up a gift card with the promise you’ll take them there this year and you can create memories neither of you will forget.
• Seneca Park Zoo tickets start at $9 for kids. Buy them for all your pre-teen and younger grandchildren for a fun outing. Some teens may also enjoy the zoo; others may not.
• The Strong National Museum of Play offers admission for $16. Children can enjoy hands-on fun alongside you.
• Clubhouse Fun Center operates in two locations — Henrietta and Greece —so read each site to tell which amenities you like better. Clubhouse doesn’t have admission but charges per activity. Kids can apply their monetary gift cards ($10 to $100) to whatever activity they want: go-karts, arcade tokens, batting cage, miniature golf, gemstone panning, bumper cars or ball play. Children from about age 4 through teens would enjoy the place.
• Waiting to use gift cards to theme parks Darien Lake Roseland or Seabreeze can build the anticipation all winter and spring. Each park offers a variety of packages, from one-day tickets to full season passes.
• Altitude Trampoline Park is perfect for grandkids who are already bouncing off the walls, from toddlers through teens. Admission starts at $8.99.
• Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures offers ziplining and obstacle courses for adults and bigger children or one for younger children, starting at age 4. Double-locking belays and other security measures keep adventurers safe. Gift cards start at $53 and allow the user (or his parents) to select the right course.
• Genesee Country Village and Museum offers a great outing for history buffs to share with their grandchildren. The facility includes many hands-on activities for children at no additional charge. One-day admission must be purchased at the gate; however, tickets to special events are available online. Family/grandparent admission is $130 annually and includes two adults and the grandchildren you list. That may be a more budget-friendly option if you plan to attend often with many grandchildren. The facility is generally stroller-accessible; however, not every building can accommodate strollers.
Consider giving a gym membership, camp or lessons. If your grandchildren want to get fit, excel in their favorite sport, learn a new skill or improve in playing their instrument, discuss with their parents what you can do to support their interests.
Ask for a Senior Discount
Many of these tickets may be ordered online for easy shopping. Most places offer free admission for those 2 and younger. Some facilities like theme parks offer a “non-rider” entry at a lower cost if you came along only to watch. Of course, ask about a senior discount, since many venues offer this.
Especially if your grandchildren are small, give a small gift along with their gift card so they have something tangible that represents their “real” gift, such as a plush puppet to go with a zoo gift certificate or a sporty water bottle to go with their gym membership certificate. Always ask their parents in advance about experience gifts to ensure that your gift is appropriate.
Photo: Genesee Country Village and Museum offers a great outing for history buffs. Photo by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant.