Giving Science, Not Things
Last year around this time I blogged a list of science gifts for children. This year I am turning my attention to adults. But let’s face it — most of us have enough Things. So I thought I would put together a list of things that are not Things that science-minded people would enjoy.
The examples should help you think of ideas in your area.
Memberships to museums and science centers are great gifts because they last all year and they usually pay for themselves in just a few visits. Memberships do more than just get you through the door. They offer other benefits including special members-only events and hours, adult evenings, early preview of new exhibits, museum store discounts, and other perks. Not only that, but some memberships carry reciprocal agreements so members can visit other institutions at a reduced price or free with a paid guest.
Not for baseball or hockey, but for science! There are lots of great lectures and lecture series that your favorite science-person might like. Check out some of these:
- National Geographic Live!
- Smithsonian Air & Space Lecture Series
- Royal Alberta Museum Curatorial Lecture Series
- The Beaty Biodiversity Museum Lecture Series
- Natural History Museum of Utah “Nature of Things” Lecture Series
- The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada Lectures
- The Cleveland Museum of Natural History Planetarium & Observatory “Frontiers in Astronomy” Lectures.
HOST THE HOLIDAY!
How about one gift for all of your friends – a holiday party at a science centre or museum! Sure, it will cost more, but maybe you and your friends want to forgo gifts and go in together on a very cool party instead. Museums, science centers, and zoos usually offer unique spaces for private events. In some, you can even book the IMAX theatre. Here are few to give you some ideas:
Even if you don’t own a telescope, you can still give the gift of stars. Astronomy clubs, science centres and observatories often host star gazing events and have telescopes available to use. Also some observatories offer tours and a chance to look through the big telescopes.
- Mauna Kea – Keck Observatory (Hawaii) Stargazing, tours.
- Palomar Observatory (Caltech) Tours.
- Kitt Peak National Observatory ( Tucson, AZ ) Regular viewing and an advanced program.
- Gustov Bakos Observatory (Univ of Waterloo, ON) – Tours and special events viewing
- David Dunlap Observatory (Richmond Hill, ON) – Star talks, tours, viewing
- Prince George Astronomical Observatory (Prince George, BC) Tours, viewing
- More .. in Canada
And speaking of star stuff, can you really name a star in honour of someone? Here’s Fraser Cain with the lowdown on that:
BOOK A TOUR
Did you know you can arrange private VIP tours and behind the scenes visits to many museums and research facilities? Here are a few:
- The American Museum of Natural History – Private and VIP tours
- TRIUMF Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics – Public tours
- Canadian Light Source (Synchrotron) – Public tour
- Houston Space Center – Level 9 VIP Tour (Mission control!)
- California Academy of Sciences – Behind the Scenes Tours
- Bell M. Shimada Research Vessel – Public tours
- Biosphere 2 – public tours
- Marine Biological Laboratory –Public tours
- Brookhaven National Laboratory – Tour
- Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory – Public and VIP tours
- CERN !
- Fly in a biplane
- Dig for fossils in Canada. US too.
- Dive in a submersible
- Howl with wolves
- Take a Canopy Tour
- Admire ancient rock art
- Watch a whale Sense-ibly!
- Explore a cave or dine in one! (only if it is not a bat hibernaculum*)
* There is evidence that humans have accelerated the spread of White-nose Syndrome in bats by entering caves with contaminated clothing, gear or equipment.
Not a baby or a kitten, but an artifact, a zoo animal or an endangered species. Sure, it’s more like making a donation in the recipient’s name, but still it’s fun to tell people you are the adoptive parent of a whale, a shark, a 100 year old tapestry or a cat mummy.
So that’s my list of things that aren’t Things. If you have any other ideas, please add them in the comments.