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Give experiences

A Point Defiance Zoo membership makes a great gift. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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The holiday season will soon be here, and gift giving (which can be a source of stress to many) is a big part of it. This year, consider the gift of experiences. It is a fun way to give something new.

Rather than a fruit or dessert-of-the-month club, purchase a Tacoma Museum Pass. For the price of one month of a club present, you receive a pass that is good for one visit to six museums -- and have a whole year to use it. The museums are within walking distance of each other, or take the free light rail.  Museums include: the Tacoma Art Museum, the Children's Museum of Tacoma, the Museum of Glass, the Washington State History Museum, LeMay - America's Car Museum, and the Foss Waterway Seaport. Passes are $42 with a military discount and can be purchased online at any of the six museums' websites. Just look for a "visit" tab, and then look for "Tacoma Museum District" for more information.

Drop in at Leisure Travel Services (LTS), which has two locations on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, for all kinds of discounted tickets on attractions across the country. Locally, the Seattle City Pass makes a great gift. Purchase at LTS and receive a voucher you can redeem at any of the listed attractions in your ticket booklet. Once you visit your first attraction, it is good for nine days. Attractions include: the Space Needle, the Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, the EMP Museum, the Woodland Park Zoo, and the Chihuly Garden and Glass or Pacific Science Center.

For a truly unique gift, purchase a gift certificate for the Gig Harbor Gondola. It is the only Venetian gondola operation in the Pacific Northwest.  Gondolier John "Cinque" Synco will take you on a magical cruise on beautiful Gig Harbor in an authentic gondola shipped from Venice, Italy. A one-hour cruise for two is $85. For more information, visit or call 253.432.0052.

A zoo membership makes a great gift for families or even grandparents, who can take their grandchildren for a fun day.  Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium has a variety of membership options that are sure to meet the needs of any family.  A combo membership is also available and includes Northwest Trek.  Memberships can be purchased at the zoo front gate, online at or by phone at 253.404.3635.

Ghost Tours make a great gift for teens.  Tacoma Ghost Tours offers a two-for-one gift certificate for just $16. This will allow your teen to invite a friend along on a 90-minute walking tour with tales of haunted houses, a mummy's curse and other scary stories. The tours meet at Brandy's Attic on Broadway in Tacoma. Reservations are required, and tours go rain or shine. Gift certificates can be purchased online at For more information call 253.732.3532, or email

The above suggestions allow you to complete all your holiday shopping online while still supporting local businesses. A win for everybody. 

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