When the sea of wrapping paper turns into a sea of plastic toys after the holiday season, it’s easy to wonder if your kids’ new favorite things will be forgotten before Valentine’s Day. Just think about poor Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story getting stuck up in the attic. Instead, how about you give your kids the gift of experience. Here are four holiday gift ideas that forgo material items in exchange for the memories you can make with your child.

—Photo courtesy of Denver Art Museum

Museum Passes

For most of Colorado’s museums, three or so visits for a family equals the cost of a pass good for the entire year. Here’s the rundown of family passes to a few (there are many more) local establishments worth visiting year-round.

Denver Zoo: $130
Denver Museum of Nature and Science: $90
Children’s Museum of Denver: $130
The Denver Art Museum: $85
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum: $75

—Photo courtesy of Denver Center of the Performing Arts


For the theatre aficionado: Snag seats to either The Sound of Music ($30–$105) or Disney’s Beauty and the Beast ($30–$125) at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, both coming to Denver in June.

For the all-star: We know the Colorado Rockies haven’t been good in a long time, but if you opt for the 10-game FANtastick package ($120 per seat), your little slugger will get to see a variety of MLB teams and enjoy the ballpark all summer long.

For the music lover: No one forgets his or her first concert experience. Our first choice would be a Red Rocks show. The upcoming season’s lineup hasn’t been released yet, but allowing your kid to help pick the show will be half the fun.

—Photo courtesy of SwallowHillMusic.org


For the adventurer: If you kid loves to get outside, pick out a lesson to broaden his or her fresh air hobbies. Spring for snowboarding or skiing lessons at the kid-centric Keystone Resort ($175 for a full-day beginner lesson including lunch). If your child is geared to more fair weather outings, try a two-hour introductory stand up paddleboard lesson ($55) from Surf’SUP Colorado at Chatfield Reservoir or Aurora Reservoir.

For the budding musician: Guitar, fiddle, and yes, the ukulele are among the options for musical instrument lessons (starting at $114 for eight weeks) at Swallow Hill Music School.

For the future Olympian: Lone Tree-based SafeSplash swim school has 12 Front Range branches where kids six months to 14 years old can learn their strokes (starting at $75 per month) in the heated pools—no more dipping into freezing water.

—Photo courtesy of Great Sand Dunes National Park

Road Trip

Book a hotel, fill up a cooler with snacks, and enjoy the conversation with your kid on your way to in-state spots Junior won’t forget: elephants on a mountain, a dinosaur fossil quarry, sand sledding, yurts, and gold mines are just a few ideas.