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Give the Gift of Experience

It’s the start of gift-giving season! This year, make your gifts to loved ones go farther — and support your community — by giving the gift of experience. From lessons to museum memberships to educational opportunities, we’ve got a roundup of ideas for gifting Indy experiences that everyone will love. 

Restaurants 

Looking for a gift for your significant other? St. Elmo Steak House is the perfect place for an extra-special date night experience. For a more casual spot perfect for families and cocktail enthusiasts alike, grab a gift certificate (or two!) to Baby’s. With a menu packed with burgers, broasted chicken, salads, kid favorites, and milkshakes (including non-dairy and boozy options), you’ll find something for the whole family. 

Prefer sweet treats? Give the gift of ice cream with a gift card to BRICS. Waffle cones, shakes, sundaes and more— who says ice cream has to just be a summer treat? And Indy’s donut game is strong: gift cards to Longs Bakery, Rise’n Roll Bakery or General American Donut Company would make anyone happy. 

Museum Memberships 

Gifting a museum membership is a gift that truly pays dividends, especially when it comes to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. With five floors of fun, 12 sports experiences, a Dinosphere, space station and jam-packed calendar of rotating exhibits, a family membership to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a gift everyone will enjoy. (Insider tip: The Children’s Museum also has a fantastic gift shop!) 

In addition to housing the world’s largest children’s museum, Indianapolis is also home to several top-notch attractions. Conner Prairie offers families a portal into history like never before. With a membership, you’ll have access to a year of wonder and adventure at this local gem.   

And the eponymous Indiana State Museum goes well beyond the history of the Hoosier state. Start your journey at Birth of the Earth, dive into the Ancient Seas that once covered the Midwest, explore life in the Ice Age and learn about Indiana’s founding people. An IMAX theater rounds out the fun, making this museum a must on dreary winter days. 

Educational Opportunities 

As parents, we want to help our children be the best version of themselves, and the Terrateer Club is here to help. This monthly on-demand program helps children build better relationships, improve confidence and self-acceptance, manage stress, explore the beauty of nature, develop important aspects of brain functioning, demonstrate kindness, practice giving back and cultivate an open-minded world view. This is a great gift for families with children ages 4 to 8, and the perfect gifting idea for grandparents.  

Class 101 offers the gift of college planning made simple. This service helps students in 8th through 12th grade find the best schools, at the best price, for their best future. Their dedicated counselors help high school students identify their college goals, as well as support them in the steps necessary to achieve those goals in the most cost-effective manner possible.  

Performing Arts  

Art lovers of all ages can enjoy a wide range of classes at the Indianapolis Art Center. With classes in mediums ranging from paint to clay to digital animation, the gift of art classes is the perfect way to get those creative juices flowing.   

Tiny dancers can get their kicks at Indiana Ballet Conservatory, a pre-professional ballet school in Carmel. They offer classes for ages 3 through adult, including their unique gentlemen’s program. 

Musicians can take their craft to new levels with lessons from Meridian Music. Currently, private lessons are available for most instruments, including voice, and can be taken online or in their studio.   

And for families, a drive-in concert compliments of Actors Theatre of Indiana will get everyone in the holiday spirit. On November 27 from 7-9 p.m., enjoy holiday music with some special guests, including Santa. Purchase tickets at atistage.org 

Fitness 

Do you know a child with energy to burn? Gymnastics and ninja classes are for children of all ages — walking to teenager — and are wonderful ways for children to strengthen their bodies, minds, self-confidence and to just have fun! With six Indianapolis-area locations, Wright’s Gymnastics and NinjaZone makes it easy to find a class near you that fits your busy schedule.  

For the something the entire family will enjoy, give the gift of a fitness membership. At the Monon Community Center, their state-of-the-art facility is more than just a gym: it is an all-inclusive family experience. Whether you’re looking for an indoor track, yoga, basketball courts, cardio equipment, lap swimming, weight lifting or cycling, there is something for everyone. And little ones up to age 12 can enjoy all that the KidZone has to offer, including an indoor playground, creative arts area, computers for interactive learning and a reading nook.  

With 12 locations throughout Indy, a membership to the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis offers easy access for the entire family. With classes, programs and activities for all ages, there is something for everyone. And parents can enjoy a worry-free workout knowing their little ones are being cared for by the largest provider of child care in the country.  

This year, skip the “things” that will quickly be forgotten, and instead give a gift that will last all year long. 

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