Give the Gift of Experiences: Great Ideas for Central Iowa

‘Tis the season for giving and receiving. I know having two children, we get a lot of STUFF this time of year. Toys are great, but sometimes when there is too much, it easily gets forgotten about and not put to the greatest use. When friends and family ask what you or your children want this year, why not ask for something that you can experience and remember forever? I have created some great ideas, specifically for Central Iowa, of what you and your family could include on your Christmas lists this year. If I am forgetting something totally awesome, let me know! Let’s get it added so we aren’t all missing out on it.



Asking for a membership to one of these places, two of them, or ALL of them is such a great idea. These memberships can be used multiple times, all year round and you save sooooo much money!

Gift Cards/Passes

Winter is rolling around and after the holidays are over, I promise you, it will be cold and snowy. You will want to get OUT and have your children burn of some energy. These places are great options to ask for gift cards and/or passes. Use them during Winter break or a rainy day in the Summer

  • Pump it Up Urbandale 
  • Skate North Incrediroll
  • Playground For Kids
  • Glow Golf 
  • Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park
  • Brenton Skating Plaza
    • They offer Punch Passes!
  • Monkey Joe’s 
  • Warrior Lanes
  • Bowling at Uncle Buck’s – Bass Pro Shops
  • Val Lanes
  • Valley Community Center
    • The Valley Community Center’s play area is always FREE, but they offer some fun classes such as Zumba Kids, Kids Mini Pretzels, and more for a low cost. You can purchase a punch card pass for 5 classes for $15 or 10 classes for $30. Perfect idea for a close friend you may have play dates with regularly!
  • Flix Brewhouse
    • We tend to visit Flix quite often when fun kids/family movies are released. We love going on Saturday mornings when they offer breakfast! It’s a fun experience for everyone. Do you know there is a movie you all want to see, being released this upcoming year? Ask for a gift card!
  • Sleepy Hollow Sports Park 
  • Seven Oaks Recreation  
    • Do your children love to snowboard, ski or tube? Check out purchasing a membership to use at these sports parks during the Winter months. Don’t forget they offer tons for the Summer months too!
  • Date Night 
    • I know when it comes to date nights, it can be super hard when you have children. We plan we will do something once a month or twice a month, but we decide we don’t want to spend the money or we don’t have time. Ask family and friends to get you a gift cards to a new and fun restaurant (there are tons opening up around here) or a favorite restaurant you both enjoy.


Do you have a child who is interested in trying out a new extracurricular activity or you just haven’t had the chance to go check out a class? Have someone buy you a gift card to somewhere you are wanting to begin classes. This is a great idea to try it out and see if you like it! Or if you or your children are already involved in am extracurricular activity, see if they offer gift cards/certificates. This may be a great way to save some money on a monthly expense.

  • Pied Piper Studios
    • Pied Piper Studios offers tons of fun workshops and classes, including our favorite Kindermusik!
  • Martial Arts 
  • Tumbling & Dance
  • Des Moines Social Club 
    • The Des Moines Social Club offers all sorts of classes for all ages.
  • Jester Park Equestrian Center
    • Are you interested in horseback riding or maybe your kiddos are? This is the perfect place to take lessons!
  • Fitness Classes.
    • There are several places in Central Iowa that offer punch cards and/or gift cards. Have you been wanting to try Zumba or yoga? Perfect timing!


There always seems to be a show, concert, play, etc. that comes to town, but we never want to spend the money. If you know your favorite artist is coming or an awesome play will be showing, ask for tickets! Don’t forget about sporting events too!

Build Something – Get Creative

  • Build-A-Bear
  • Glazed Expressions
  • Pinot’s Palette
  • The Social Canvas
  • El Arte Uncorked
  • The Knotty Nail
  • Create an Art Supply Basket
    • Yes, I know this is considered actual STUFF, BUT we all know how much art supplies our children fly through. Create a huge basket filled with coloring books, glue, stickers, crayons, paints, markers, etc. Anything you can think of! Maybe, even buy specific items to create a special project that you have been eyeing on Pinterest. This is also a great idea for the teachers in your life!
  • Subsciption Boxes. Yes, again, more stuff, but this is a great way to try new things. There are TONS out there. Check out my Subscription Addiction. They have them broken down into categories such as for children, men and women.


Weekend getaways are always fun for the entire family! Look into these local or nearby locations, to see if they offer gift cards or plan the trip and create your own fun gift certificate. It could be as simple as a weekend getaway OR a grand trip to Disney!! Also, if you are already planning a fun trip for this upcoming year, tell friends and family you would like gift cards to go towards your trip expenses.


This may be more towards the moms out there, BUT dads would highly enjoy a back massage too! There are several salons and spas in the area where you can purchase packages to give to your loved ones. Everyone deserves to be pampered!

  • Massages
  • Haircut, color and style
  • Manicure & Pedicures
  • Full Day Spa Package



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