Seattle's Child

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experiences not things

The Tinker Tank Maker Space is great fun for families at Pacific Science Center. (Photo courtesy of Pac Sci)

Give experiences not things: Memberships make great gifts

Also, lots of discounts available for holiday gift-giving

It’s holiday giving time, and you can cut down on clutter and waste (and quickly discarded toys) by giving experiences not things.

For instance, memberships to fun local places to visit. Joining a museum, zoo, etc., is a larger financial outlay at first, but in the long run it’s great to have. Just think: On those days when you have a small window of time, it might not seem “worth it” to go to the zoo at full price. If you have a membership, no worries! You march in and stay just as long as you like.

In addition, lots of local spots have special promotions to encourage holiday giving. Here’s what we’ve heard about (check back as we add more):

Experiences not things


iFly Indoor Skydiving in Tukwila offers pre-purchased skydiving packages, for a limited time, you can
save up to 40% off on the gift they’ll always remember.

Museum of Flight is sweetening the deal of a gift membership special offer of 15 months of exclusive Museum access for the price of 12! to any membership purchased as a gift.

Museum of History & Industry  (MOHAI) is offering $10 off gift memberships through Dec. 31. (Discount code GIVEMOHAI at online checkout.) In addition, members get discounts in the museum shop.



Pacific Science Center is running a 20% off promotion on membership, including gift memberships. Members get free, unlimited admission to all permanent PacSci exhibits, including the Tropical Butterfly House, planetarium shows, and Tinker Tank Maker Space, plus discounts on IMAX movies, laser shows, special events, and more. There are various levels of membership, and the discount is also good on renewals.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Tacoma, offers a variety of membership levels. Additionally, combination packages include admission to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville.

Seattle Art Museum is selling gift memberships at a 10% holiday discount. A membership includes 12 months of free admission to three Seattle Art Museum locations (SAM, Seattle Asian Art Museum and Olympic Sculpture Park). Plus, members get early access to upcoming exhibitions, discounts on events and invitations to members-only offerings.

Seattle Aquarium is offering membership gift certificates at 10% off through Dec. 31, 2023. There are 11 different levels of membership.

Village Theatre (Issaquah and Everett)  is offering three-show packages and gift certificates for the holidays. “Cinderella” is on stage there now, and upcoming are “Sense and Sensibility,” “How to Break a New Musical” and “Hello, Dolly!” Join their email list to learn about “Flash Friday” deals during December 2022.

Wild Waves Theme & Water Park in Federal Way is selling 2024 season passes at a 40% discount. There are three levels of membership.

experiences not things

The public can now see Tandie, pictured, living in Woodland Park Zoo’s African Savanna lion habitat. The male lion’s beautiful mane is growing in! (Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo)

Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle: Memberships include unlimited admission, plus discounts on food, merchandise, parking and the holiday show WildLanterns. In addition, members are invited to special events and get early access to summer camp signups. Woodland Park also suggests its ZooParent adoption program, with options beginning at $40; immersive Critter Connections animal experiences or e-gift cards.

Experiences not things: more ideas

Here’s what on stage at local theaters

Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo” will be at Climate Pledge Arena January 17-20, 2024. Ticket information here, including a Black Friday discount.



About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 15-year-old girl.