The holiday season officially kicked off with the passing of Thanksgiving weekend, and Americans are on a gift buying bender the likes of which have not been seen in the past decade. As per the American Research Group, the average American plans to spend $929 on gift buying this holiday season, the first time since 2006 that number has exceeded $900. In 2016, the National Retail Federation estimated that 44% of shoppers would make their holiday purchases online over the long weekend, and 40% would make them in stores. As Market Watch explains, Americans would prefer to shop from their couch than fight crowds at the mall. These assumptions didn’t disappoint – in the 5 day shopping blitz starting on Thanksgiving Day and culminating in Cyber Monday sales, Americans spent billions online. In fact, Black Friday online sales increased by over $300 million (21.6%) from last year to $3.34 billion. Comparatively, Cyber Monday online sales raked in $3.45 billion, but this was only a 12.1% increase over last year. Overall, more than $9 BILLION dollars was spent online Thursday-Sunday.
If you haven’t quite finished your holiday shopping yet, I encourage you to give a gift of experience – one that puts your community first. There are a variety of gift ideas from Brown County destinations that would be a welcome stocking stuffer or gift item under the tree! With a wide range of price points, there is something here that could benefit everyone on your gift list. One could argue that the holidays are truly about spending time together, not about the gifts – but giving the gift of doing something together keeps the holiday spirit alive and well long after December has come and gone.
For Animal / Nature Lovers and Families:
- $47 NEW Zoo and Adventure Park Zip, Climb, Bike Package – 3 hour fat tire bike rental (to be used on Reforestation Camp trails), 2-3 hour Adventure Park package to use zip line, climbing apparatus. The Adventure Park IS OPEN during the off-season (November-March) weather permitting, but maintains regular hours April-October. More details here.
- $25 Fat Tire Bike Rental – 3 hour fat tire bike rental (to be used on Reforestation Camp trails). More details here.
- $45-60 Individual or Family NEW Zoo Membership – Free admission to the NEW Zoo, plus perks like discounts at the gift shop, a limited number of complimentary tickets to special zoo events, early admission to the zoo on select dates, AND free or discounted admission to more than 160 zoos and aquariums nationwide. More details here.
For Those Who Love the Outdoors, Or for Fido!:
- $20 Annual Brown County Dog Park Pass – This $20 pass grants access to the Brown County Dog Park and Pet Exercise Area. Purchase online here.
- $25 Wisconsin Annual State Trail Pass – This $25 pass grants access to State Trails throughout Wisconsin, including the Fox River Trail. When you buy your state trail pass through Brown County, more of your purchase dollars stay in the local parks system. Purchase online here.
- $80 Annual Brown County Fitness Pass – This $80 all-inclusive pass grants access to State Trails, Brown County Trails, Cross-County Ski Trails, Horse Trails, and access for one dog at the Brown County Dog Park and Pet Exercise Area. Purchase online here.
- $40 Brown County Annual Cross Country Ski Trail Pass – This $40 pass grants access to the trails at the Reforestation Camp (now lighted at night!), Neshota Park and Barkhausen. Purchase online here.
- $30 Brown County Annual Boat Launch Pass – This $30 launch pass grants unlimited launches from Bay Shore Park, Lily Lake, Wrightstown, Bomier, Fox Point, Perkofski, and Green Bay Metro. Purchase online here. Purchase online here.
- $28 Registration for the 1st Annual Neshota Park Snowshoe Race! This brand new snowshoe race is a great way to enjoy the beautiful trails at Neshota Park in Denmark and get outdoors in frosty January. Register online here by December 31!
For Science and History Lovers and Families:
- $40-$80 Neville Public Museum Individual or Family Membership to the Neville Public Museum – annual membership at the Neville Public Museum grants free admission to the museum, a discount in the gift shop, invitations to VIP events, a discounted guest admission rate, and free or discounted admission at nearly 600 museums, botanical gardens, nature centers, zoos, etc. in 40 countries. Buy online here.
- Some of the free admission destinations included with a Neville Museum membership in the Midwest are:
- Duluth Children’s Museum (Duluth, MN)
- Lake Superior Zoo (Duluth, MN)
- Science Museum of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN)
- The Adler Planetarium (Chicago, IL)
- The Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago, IL)
- Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago, IL)
- Orpheum Children’s Science Museum (Chicago, IL)
- Children’s Museum of Eau Claire (Eau Claire, WI)
- Children’s Museum of La Crosse (La Crosse, WI)
- Discovery World (Milwaukee, WI)
- Madison Children’s Museum (Madison, WI)
- Milwaukee Public Museum (Milwaukee, WI)
For the Golfer In Your Life:
- $475-$1150 Brown County Golf Course Annual Passes (prices vary based on age/access) – grant unlimited course usage throughout the Brown County Golf Course season. These passes do not include golf cart rentals. Details here.
- A nice gift for the occasional golfer at a lower price point would be a gift certificate to Jimmy O’s Golf Shop, or the Safari Steakhouse.
For the Frequent Flyer In Your Life:
- $30 Skybox Lounge Annual Pass – Have a friend or family member who often flies for business or pleasure from the Green Bay Austin Straubel International airport? Consider the gift of an annual membership to the Skybox Lounge. The lounge offers a private, quiet and relaxing area with complimentary refreshments. Flying in and out of Green Bay is already far less stressful than it can be at larger airports, this is an added bonus for a frequent flyer! $30 covers an annual membership. Apply here.
For the Book Lover in Your Life:
- $15-65 1 to 5 year Friends of the Brown County Library Membership. A membership to the Friends of the Brown County Library makes an investment into enhancing our local library system. Members receive VIP early access to the Semi-Annual Used Book Sale, local bookstore discounts and the knowledge that you are investing in programming that benefits ALL county residents and library users. Apply here.
For the Gardener in Your Life:
- $110 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program – This 12 week class offers the ultimate experience in expert level training for someone with a green thumb in your life. Learn more about Master Gardener certification nationally or register for the local program here.
- You can also contribute in any amount to the Brown County Community Gardens effort through their Garden Blitz campaign. The Community Gardens program brings gardening experience and fresh fruits and vegetables to Brown County residents. Donate here.
You can find more local, experiential gift ideas from the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau here.
Happy Holiday shopping!