30+ Experience Gift Ideas for East Bay Families - 510 Families

30+ Experience Gift Ideas for East Bay Families

We appreciate Children’s Fairyland for sponsoring today’s guide to thoughtful local experience gifts. Renew or purchase a membership by December 31, 2023, and receive a BONUS MONTH! That’s 13 months for the price of 12. Don’t miss the chance to gift a year of joy and play.

San Francisco Bay Area experience gifts can work for any age or budget. We love memberships for a whole family, show tickets to stuff in a stocking, unique classes to amplify a child’s interest, and eating tours a group can enjoy together. The gift of a shared experience is a perfect last-minute and clutter-free gift solution —  and so thoughtful!

Experience Gift: Family Memberships to Enjoy All Year

We love these local kid-friendly museums for year-round enjoyment. Membership usually pays for itself after 2-3 visits.

Membership to Children’s Fairyland

Dive into a year of unlimited fun with family memberships starting at just $139. Create priceless, screen-free memories—whether enjoying puppet shows, rides on The Jolly Trolly, or celebrating your birthday with a Fairyland party, discounted for members.

fairyland entrance with iconic shoe
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe welcoming children through the magical gates of Fairyland | Photo provided by Fairyland

Fairyland members are also invited to two FREE days of Fairy Winterland and a members-only playtime pop-up on December 26 and 27, from 12 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The exclusive member lounge will knock your holiday socks off with music, complimentary beverages, a photo booth, arts and crafts, plus balloon art with Buki the Clown! Membership details >

More Kid-Friendly Museums for Year-Long Experience Gifts

We love these other family-friendly museums, zoos, and experiences in the Bay Area. Buy a membership that the family can enjoy all year. Huge appreciation to the grandparents that put these under the tree.

Fairy Winterland at Fairyland in the old timey ghost town
Fairyland members get two free days at Fairy Winterland this year | Photo: Children’s Fairyland

Experiences Our {510} Team is Wishing For

We asked our team of contributing writers what they wish Santa would bring and here’s what they told us:

Harlem Globetrotters in Oakland 2019

Harlem Globetrotters tickets have become a family tradition

Experience Gifts: Tickets to Games and Shows

Support our East Bay favorite teams and troupes with forward-looking tickets to mark a special day!

  • Harlem Globetrotters return to Oakland in mid-January. Our kids loved the show two years ago, and we even hung around afterward and got autographs. We are superfans!
  • Oakland A’s Baseball will play one final season in the Town. If you’re moving on to the Giants, consider a day at the ball park, arriving by ferry from Jack London Square!
  • Monster Jam will be at San Francisco’s Oracle Park on January 6 and 7. Superfun, but bring ear protection for yourself and the littles.
  • Cal Sports Games are often free or cheap, but little kids don’t know that.
  • See our Ticket Alert page for more shows coming to the Bay Area soon!

Experience Gift: Activities & Classes

As we mentioned up above with museums, membership has its privileges. Choose a single special visit, sweet workshop, or regular pass.

Quarry Park Adventures in Rocklin, CA

Experience Gift: Travel around the Bay Area

Make a day into an experience by creating a special little day trip to make magical memories. Do you like the ocean, the mountains, the forests? We’ve got it all!

    • Climb & Swing. Try your skills at Quarry Park Adventures for rock climbing, rappelling, or ropes courses in Rocklin. See website for holiday deals >
    • See animals. A tour of Safari West to see African animals roaming free.
    • Edible Excursions walking, eating, and drinking tours of Oakland and Berkeley are tasty and lots of fun. Our {510} team has done three of them and totally recommends them. Also fun for visiting grandparents or big kids. View website >
    • Choose your own adventure. Take a Staycation that lets you sleep in your own bed tonight after playing all day.
    • Hit the snow. With or without skiing, a day in the snow is a joy for our fair-weather city kids.
    • Play tourist in the Bay Area with a trip to Alcatraz with your kids or an e-bike tour.

Vacation Inspiration: Driveable Family Getaways

Blowing bubbles in Joshua Tree (visit Palm Springs in the same trip!) | Photo: Julia Gidwani

What’s better than the Best Day Ever? The best weekend trip, of course. Would your kiddos get excited to think about the next great vacation? I will tell you mine do NOT care but they love it once it is over. Here’s the inspiration for your calendar that can make a special experience gift.

Children's Fairyland sign
Children’s Fairyland sign with Zayn for scale | Photo: Anna Azimi

See our HOLIDAY ACTIVITY GUIDE for ideas in December.

fairyland logo

Thanks again to Children’s Fairyland in Oakland for sponsoring today’s guide to local experience gifts. Now through December 31, receive 13 months of membership for the price of 12.

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