Two of our top holiday gift picks: the new coloring book from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and a graphic novel about aliens invading The Magic House.
What we’d like most for Christmas is another year of fun at our favorite St. Louis destinations! Shopping at museum gift shops is a great way to support their operations, so why not fill your sleigh with gift-shop goodies for all the good little girls and boys? Below is a sampling of some of our favorite picks, many of which also offer a uniquely STL flair. Tell your elves to take some time off toy-making duty and hit these museums instead!
Love, Your friends at Sprout & About
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra If you’re celebrating the holiday season with one of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s festive performances, be sure to give yourself a few extra minutes to stop by The Boutique Gift Shop. Though the boutique carries a variety of recordings, apparel and more, we have our eye on the The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Coloring Book. Illustrated and written by St. Louis artist Fox Hyon Smith, the book is designed to introduce children to Powell Hall. With a mix of cartoon children and more intricate artwork depicting the architecture of Powell Hall, mom and dad will be tempted to pick up the crayons, too. The coloring book is $15; all proceeds benefit the SLSO’s Youth Orchestra & Education Concerts.
The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum If you were an extraterrestrial creature from another planet, what would be your first stop on Planet Earth? The Magic House, of course! This holiday season, visit The Magic House gift shop to purchase “Neener Neener Neener,” a comic that follows the adventures of siblings and their new alien friend as they work together to prevent cute visitors from another planet from creating mischief at The Magic House. The siblings and their new alien friend use the scientific process based on lessons they learned at the museum to thwart this whimsical alien invasion. “Neener Neener Neener” is available for purchase in The Magic House gift shop for $10.
The Arch Store If you’re looking for a gift that epitomizes hometown pride, where else would you go but The Arch Store, the gift shop located inside The Gateway Arch Visitor Center? The Arch Store offers a variety of apparel, books, gifts and accessories that are sure to be a hit with St. Louis natives. Start building your child’s sense of hometown pride early with a set of Gateway Arch Stacking Blocks, which are available for $10.95 and feature fun facts and images. At $6.95, the Gateway Arch/Old Courthouse key necklace is an affordable way to help a soon-to-be-graduate keep a piece of home close to her heart. History buffs will also appreciate the key's nod to the Old Courthouse, a local landmark that served as a turning point in civil rights history. The store is operated by the Jefferson National Parks Association; purchases support educational programming, exhibits and site improvements to JNPA’s partner sites. Insider tip: Save 15 percent on purchases with a Partner of the Parks membership. Can’t squeeze in a trip to the Gateway Arch before the holidays? All items are also available for purchase online.
The National Museum of Transportation When it comes to classic holiday gifts, we have two words: train set. Our elves at The National Museum of Transportation tell us the The Lionel Polar Express Train is sure to be a hot item this season; it’s available for purchase in the museum’s gift shop for $99.95. The gift shop also carries battery-operated, electric, Bluetooth-activated and starter holiday train sets. With special events happening throughout the season The National Museum of Transportation is a great place to visit with the family, just be sure to give yourself a few minutes to do a little Secret Santa shopping while you’re there!
Missouri Department of Conservation For a gift that brings joy to the recipient and Missouri’s wildlife, shop the Missouri Department of Conservation. The MDC 2019 Natural Events Calendar is perfect for the nature lover and features photography of native animals, plants and places. The calendar, which is available for $9 plus tax, helps fund MDC’s mission of fish, forests and wildlife management, as well as public outreach and education. For information about the calendar and other gift ideas, visit the online MDC Nature Shop.
Saint Louis Zoo Young animal lovers will love falling asleep each night with their own 12-inch red panda plush toy, and you’ll love knowing that your purchase helped support the care and feeding of animals at the Saint Louis Zoo. This year’s Zoo Panda Holiday Adoption is available for $45 and includes a plush red panda, a personalized adoption certificate, animal facts, a car decal, the recipient’s name on the Zoo Parents Donor Wall for one year and an invitation to the Zoo Parents Picnic. Orders must be placed by Dec. 7 for delivery by Dec. 24. For more gift ideas, plan a trip to this year’s U.S. Bank Wild Lights and stop by the Saint Louis Zoo’s Treetop Shop, which will be decked out for the holidays and offering a variety of toys, books and stuffed animals available for purchase, including the zoo’s 2018 limited edition glass holiday ornament. This year’s ornament features a cheetah from the Mary Ann Lee Conservation Carousel and can be purchased for $15.
Saint Louis Art Museum Give the gift of beauty this holiday season when you shop the Saint Louis Art Museum’s Museum Shops and support the museum’s overall operations and mission. The Saint Louis Art Museum Shops carry a wide selection of art-inspired gifts, including jewelry, books, posters, cards, toys, scarves, games and quirky stocking stuffers.
Missouri Botanical Garden With events like Garden Glow and Saturday with Santa, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a great place to spend the holidays, so while you’re there and feeling festive, why not do a little shopping, too? Stop by the Garden Gate Shop for gifts to brighten up the home of friends and family this winter, like the garden’s line of lavender items, or nurture your little sprout’s green thumb with nature-inspired gifts, like a monarch butterfly costume, available for $24.99. Note that garden members receive a 10 percent discount, and all proceeds support the garden. If you’d prefer to do your shopping when your little elves aren’t looking, an online store is available as well. Looking for a high-end gift for Mrs. Claus? Stop by the Little Shop Around the Corner and browse vintage and antique items that have been donated to the Missouri Botanical Garden for resale; purchases support the garden’s research and educational objectives.