Whether you’re trying to cut down on the amount of “stuff” given at the holidays, or you simply want additional ideas for your gift-giving this year – these experience gifts are the perfect option! You’ll find ideas for everyone in your family, from kids to spouses to siblings, all located here in Central Massachusetts.
1. Aerial Yoga Classes at Earth and Aerial Yoga – Hudson, MA
Can you imagine yourself hanging upside down, suspended by a silk? Neither could I until I was gifted some aerial yoga classes to test out at Earth and Aerial Yoga! (Read more about my aerial yoga experience.)
A gift card can treat the fitness lover in your life to the new-student special of a month of unlimited classes (only $79!), which includes the silk rental for the month.
Or if you’ve got kiddos, you can purchase them a block of sessions in the next series of kids or teen aerial classes. (My kiddo is getting a 7-week class series for Christmas).
Tip: Students should bring a yoga mat to their class, so if you want to give a tangible gift along with your gift card – that’s a great option.
2. Ecotarium Passes or Membership – Worcester, MA
This museum of science and nature includes both indoor and outdoor activities. You’ll find live animal habitats, science programming, interactive games, walking trails and playgrounds, and more. Family membership costs $125 for the year (or $225 for two years) and admits up to 4 people. Memberships with additional family members are available for a slightly increased rate.
Tip: The museum is currently closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so be sure to factor that into your schedule if you plan to buy this as a gift for your kiddos.
3. Animal Adventures Passes or Membership – Bolton MA
You’ll find all kinds of creatures and critters at Animal Adventures, nestled in the small town of Bolton. From monkeys to alpacas to owls, they typically house about 175 species of animals at any given time! The zoo staff provides daily presentations that teach visitors about the animals, and you’ll often get to have up-close experiences with some of the animals. They also offer private tours and extreme tours where you can get even more opportunities for interaction. Family memberships run $250/year.
Tip: If you’ve got quite a bit of family nearby with kids, you could consider all going in on a gift for a lifetime membership. These are a splurge at $1500, but the pass admits up to 10 people with general admission for life, and includes one extreme tour and one exotic animal encounter each year.
4. Massage at Synergy Wellness Center – Hudson, MA
Is there any better gift for an overworked mom (or dad!) than an hour of a relaxing massage? Grab a gift card for Synergy Wellness Center that can be put towards either a 60-minute ($120) or 90-minute ($160) massage.
Or if you’re really looking for a splurge gift, consider buying a year of a massage membership, which includes a 60-minute massage and 1 complimentary yoga class each month ($80 per month, 12 month commitment).
5. Southwick Zoo Passes – Mendon, MA
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The Southwick Zoo zoo provides fun for the whole family, and is a great outing to look forward to in the spring and summer. When buying it as a gift, you can purchase one-day flex tickets for $35 per ticket (these don’t have a specific date and time attached).
Or, you can consider purchasing a 12 admission value pass for $264. You could also consider purchasing a membership to EARTH Limited, the nonprofit based in the zoo, which grants free general admission to the zoo all year long. A membership for 2 adults and 2 children costs $322.
6. Discovery Museum Membership– Acton, MA
If you’ve got young kids, a membership to the Discovery Museum is a great experience gift. The museum combines the concepts of science, nature, and play into one super-fun location. A 4-person family membership runs $170 for the year, and includes unlimited visits to the museum (as well as a 20% discount on any birthday parties you might like to host there).
Tip: There’s an outdoor play area as well as the indoor museum, so bring some warm gear in the cooler months in order to enjoy that area.
7. Boundless Adventures Passes – Berlin MA
Looking for an adventure? Try Boundless Adventures, an aerial park, which is a mash-up of ropes courses and zip lines. There’s 9 courses that span 4 difficulty levels, adding up to over 90 ropes bridges and 16 zip lines. Their holiday deal section offers several different gift options you can purchase.
As a heads up, visitors must be at least 7 years old, and there is a weight limit of 265 pounds.
8. Getaway at Great Wolf Lodge – Fitchburg, MA
If you’re looking to escape the cold winter nights, book a stay at Great Wolf Lodge and gift your family a little getaway. They’ve got a massive indoor water park (with the ambient temperature heated to 84 degrees year round – ahhh). This has been on our personal list to visit the last few years – we actually had a reservation booked in mid-2020, but we all know how that year played out.
Tip: They also have day passes if you’d prefer a shorter day trip rather than an overnight trip.
9. Apex Gift Cards – Marlborough, MA
From a ropes course to bumper cars, go carts to bowling…this entertainment center has everything a kid could ask for! Apex gift cards cover any number of fun activities there, and there’s also food onsite.
Tip: Some of the activities like bumper cars and go carts have height/weight requirements – be sure to check them out if you’ve got younger kids.
10. Ninja Warrior Classes at Ultimate Obstacles – West Boylston, MA
Is your kiddo into ninja warrior action?! Grab some classes at Ultimate Obstacles as a gift for them. Kids classes will help teach them skills to conquer any obstacle, like climbing, jumping, swinging, balance, vaulting, and more. An 8-week session costs $180 for Level 1 (beginner 30-min class + 30-min open play), $200 for Level 2 (45 min class + 30 min open play), and $220 for Level 3 (1 hour class + 30 min open play).
Tip: They also offer adult classes! You can find both fitness classes and adult ninja warrior classes.
11. Rock Climbing Adventure at MetroRock Littleton – Littleton, MA
Want to plan a fun date with your spouse? Or looking for something adventurous to do with your teens? Gift a rock climbing excursion at MetroRock Littleton!
Consider a few day passes plus gear, which run $35 each. No worries if your loved one is new to climbing – the facility has an auto-belay system that allows new climbers to use this system with automatic braking as you come down (you just need instruction on how to use it from an employee first).
12. The Butterfly Place Passes – Westford, MA
See tons of butterflies in amazing colors and sizes in this cute habitat at The Butterfly Place . While it’s currently closed, it’ll reopen again on Valentine’s Day 2022. Gift certificates are available which can cover the admission rates of $14 for adults and $10 for children. There are also quite a few special offers available, including a discount coupon booklet of 10 admissions for $80 if purchased before 12/31/21.
13. State Park Visits with the DCR Parking Pass – Throughout Massachusetts
If you love visiting DCR locations like Walden Pond, Quinsigamond State Park, or Wachusett Mountain State Reservation – grab a year-long parking pass to encourage more frequent trips. DCR parking passes cost $60 for the year, and you’ll need the license plate number and MA driver’s license number to purchase.
Tip: These passes are valid for the calendar year, January-December. Just double check that the purchase link lists the following year if you’re buying it before Christmas. (DCR let me know via email that purchasing now – Dec 2021 – should give you a pass that’s valid for all of 2022).
14. Curious Escape Room Passes – Fitchburg, MA
Want to gift a grown-up night out with your spouse, siblings, or parents? Try visiting Curious Escape Room! All games are currently private, so it’s just you and your family when you book. Current private game prices are $84 total for 1-3 players, or $28 per person for 4-15 players – making it a great option no matter what your family size! You can purchase gift vouchers for these so you can choose the date and time later on when you know what works for everyone.
Tip: Games are designed for adults, but teens are allowed – however, all participants must be at least 12 years old. As a heads up, “The Video Store” game needs a minimum of 4 players to play.
15. Breakout Escape Room Passes – Marlborough, MA
Another escape room option! At Breakout Escape Room, you can explore games like Undercover Alley, Kidnapping, or Museum Heist. They describe the experience as “real life adventures where you and your fellow players have an hour to break out of a room by cracking codes, solving riddles, piecing together puzzles and finding clues.” A private experience for 8 players runs $24.99 per person, 4 players at $31.99 per person, or 2 players at $39.99 per person.
This escape room is open for any age, but participants under age 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
16. Visit to a Local Brewery – Throughout Central Mass!
I could go into a whole additional post on Central MA breweries – and probably will! – but a gift card to a local brewery or cider shack is perfect for any craft beer lover. Here are a few local spots that are personal favorites and offer gift cards:
- Medusa Brewing Company – Hudson, MA
- Sterling Street Brewery – Clinton, MA
- Lost Shoe Brewing and Roasting Company – Marlborough, MA
- Amory’s Tomb Brewing Company – Maynard, MA
- Flying Dreams Brewing – Marlborough, MA
- Tackle Box Brewing Company – Marlborough, MA
- Wormtown Brewery – Worcester, MA
- Riverstyx Brewing – Fitchburg, MA
- Pony Shack Hard Cider – Boxborough, MA
17. At Home Beer Experience
If you want to create an at-home experience instead (with a bit of a tangible gift), consider purchasing a variety of craft beers from your favorite local breweries, and pairing them with a series of desserts. You and your loved one can snuggle up during the holiday break and enjoy tasting different beers with those sweet treats!
We’ve done Girl Scout cookie pairings at Valentine’s Day – and while they won’t be available yet for the holiday season, I bet you can come up with something similar. (Here’s some dessert pairing inspiration).
18. Comedy Show at The Comedy Attic – Worcester, MA
The Comedy Attic is located upstairs at Park Grill and Sprits in Worcester, and is a fun place for a date night or a night out with your (grown-up) siblings. Shows are usually Friday and Saturday nights, and general admission for most talent is $20 per ticket (prices can be higher for premium shows or events like New Year’s Eve). Great gift idea!
19. Horseback Riding at Cornerstone Ranch – Princeton, MA
Cornerstone Ranch offers one-hour and two-hour guided trail rides, great for those that want to experience what riding a horse is like. These are offered year-round, though occasionally weather cancellations can happen for heavy rain, icy snow, or super low temperatures.
Each trail ride group consists of up to 8 to 12 riders, so it can be a great family experience for everyone to do together. Of note, trail rides are for kids age 10+, but they also offer short pony rides for younger kids.
Tip: Check Groupon if you’re thinking about going; they often have deals for trail rides!
PS – They also offer horse-drawn sleigh and wagon rides, which make for a fun Christmas activity you could do before the holidays!
20. Season Pass to Six Flags New England – Agawam, MA
Now is the perfect time to buy a season pass for Six Flags New England, located right outside of Springfield. A 2022 season pass can be purchased now, and offers unlimited visits from the day you purchase through the end of 2022. A season pass with parking runs $54.99 per person, and without parking runs $49.99 per person.
21. Play Days at ABL Indoor Playground – West Boylston, MA
Sometimes it can be a challenging to find things to do during the winter months. ABL Indoor Playground is a great option during these chilly days! There’s open play hours on the weekends as well as a couple days a week in the evenings. The facility is designed for kids aged 0 to 12 years old.
You can purchase a gift certificate that can be applied to an open play day. Or if you’re looking for a bigger gift, consider buying a month-long or year-long unlimited pass.
22. Paintball at Advanced Action Sports – Webster, MA
Got a teen boy (or grown adult husband) that’s into paintball? Grab some paintball session passes or monthly memberships to Advanced Action Sports as a gift! Individual sessions start at $25, and monthly memberships are just $49.99 for unlimited play.
Tip: There are rules about eye and face protection that must be followed, so this gear can make a good tangible gift to accompany the experience.
23. Sushi Making Class by Cozymeal – Framingham, MA
For the adults in your life, consider booking a 3-hour immersive sushi workshop that covers how to make authentic sushi from scratch. Learn to make inarizushi, maki, and nigiri. It looks like this event can take place at the chef’s location in Framingham, but may also be able to be booked for an in-home private experience. Classes start at $149 per person.
Bonus – Vermont Getaway with Alpacas and Maple Syrup
This last one is about a two-hour drive from Central Massachusetts, but I stumbled across these two cute AirBnB experiences and think they’re worth the drive!
Start with the maple syrup experience in Townshend, where you’ll learn the process of making maple syrup from sap, how to grade syrup, and do a taste testing.
Then head about 15 minute away to Grafton for a baby alpaca experience, where you’ll get to pet, feed, and walk with the alpacas.
Feel free to extend your day in Vermont with a winter hike or a cozy dinner out in the area.
Share: Do you have other experiences you love to gift? Drop ’em in the comments!