Experience Gifts for Kids in Southeast Michigan

Trade gifts that won’t keep their attention long for memories that will last a lifetime with these experience gift ideas for kids in metro Detroit and Ann Arbor.

The holiday season means one thing: gift overload. If you’d rather not spend the first few weeks of 2022 making space for new junk that your kid will eventually lose interest in, consider an experience gift instead.

Experience gifts are presents that give the receiver the chance to do something and make memories, rather than a gift toy that will inevitably sit in the bottom of a toy chest collecting dust.

Here is a list of 10 gift experiences perfect for kids that live in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw counties — or somewhere nearby. Pick one for the child in your life and give the gift of lifelong memories this holiday season and beyond.

Amusement park season passes

Is your child into roller coasters? Gift them a pass to Cedar Point or Michigan’s Adventure so that they can enjoy the adrenaline all year long! If that’s too pricey, consider passes to C.J. Barrymore’s or a local trampoline park, like Urban Air.

Animal and nature experiences  

Kids who love critters will love a membership to the Detroit Zoo. You can get single parent admission for one named adult and up to four kids that live at the same address for $95. If that’s out of your price range, consider purchasing a Michigan Recreation Passport to visit the Belle Isle Nature Center or any of the State Parks. They’re just $12 for residents with your license plate renewal or $17 at any state park. The Huron-Clinton Metroparks also offer a yearly pass for $35 for residents.

Art classes

Does your child love to draw, paint or sculpt? Help them hone their art skills by gifting them an art class this year. Pewabic Pottery and Art and Scraps in Detroit offer all kinds of classes for artists of all ages.

Discover a new game  

New activities are always popping up in southeast Michigan, so why not take advantage and treat the kiddos to a new family outing. Axe throwing is all the rage and there are plenty of axe throwing spots that offer gift certificates in our area. You can also gift archery classes at Detroit’s Outdoor Adventure Center, a round of Fowling (aka football bowling) at The Fowling Warehouse in Hamtramck or feather bowling at Mount Clemens’ Bath City Bistro.

Helicopter rides

Treat your kids to a view of their community that they’ve never seen before with a White Pine Helicopter tour from Oakland International Airport or Canton-Plymouth Airport.

Mini vacation

You don’t have to hop a plane to make memories with the kids. Instead, gift the kids a trip to Frankenmuth where they can enjoy shopping, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice skating indoor swimming and more. You can also consider a trip Up North to check out Mackinac Island or Traverse City.

Museum memberships

Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor are packed with all kinds of museums that are sure to ignite your child’s passions for art, history, science and more. Some family-favorite museums in our area that offer year-long memberships include the Michigan Science Center, Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, the DIA and the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.

See a stage show

Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor welcome all kinds of kid-friendly theater shows throughout the year and you can reserve your seat to many of them well in advance. Get individual tickets to WWE Monday Night Raw or Sesame Street Live. Consider a gift certificate to the Detroit Opera House, too.

Subscription boxes

Does your kid like to cook? There’s a subscription box for that. Do they like to learn about other cultures? There’s a subscription box for that. Are they interested in fashion? You guessed it, there’s a subscription box for that. Check out a list of our favorite subscription boxes for kids.

Tickets to a sporting event

Lions, Tigers and Pistons, oh MI! Michigan is home to a lot of great sports teams and you don’t even have to spend big bucks to treat your kiddos to a game. The big three start at about $25 a pop, but you can watch Detroit’s professional soccer team, Detroit City Football Club, for around $12 a ticket or Detroit Roller Derby for $13-$16.


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