If a Tucson child is on your shopping list, you have two options.
Option #1: Purchase a toy or book from a big box shop and call it a day.
Option #2: Buy from a local retailer – boosting our economy and providing a great experience for the recipient.
We recommend the latter – Gifts for Tucson Children.
Scroll through our top 5 gift picks for Tucson kids and families.
Bookmans Gift Certificate
Bookmans Entertainment Exchange has three Tucson locations. The stores sell books, music, movies, video games and systems, puzzles, toys, jewelry, musical instruments, and more. Plus, the stores have free WiFi, cozy seating areas, and clean bathrooms (in our experience).
Tip: Bookmans saves boxed sets of chapter books and arts & crafts kits throughout the year and then puts them out during the month of December. If you would rather forgo the gift certificate idea and purchase a gift you can wrap, Bookmans is a great place to pick up gently used books and more.
Membership to Reid Park Zoo
Located in Central Tucson, the Reid Park Zoo encompasses 24 acres and is home to hundreds of animals. It’s a fantastic little day trip for small children – even in the summer since the zoo has the Kenya Get Wet splash area.
A family membership is $65 and includes:
- free admission to the zoo all year long
- a quick entry member window
- 10% discount at the cafe and gift shop
- members-only events, including the much anticipated Ice Cream Safari
- discounts to zoo programs
- free reciprocal or discounted admission to 160 zoos and aquariums around the USA
Tip: Instead of using wrapping paper, buy a stuffed animal and have it “hold” the membership passes.
Membership to Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Desert Museum is a ways out of town…but the drive is worth it! The museum is currently rated #1 out of 164 Tucson attractions on TripAdvisor! Part zoo, part botanical gardens, and part museum, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is truly a marvel. The grounds include almost two miles of paths on 21 acres. Approximately 90% of the museum is outdoors – but there are a few air-conditioned spaces including a cave, reptile & amphibian building, Warden Aquarium, and on-site restaurants.
A Family Membership is $75 and includes:
- 2 membership cards good for unlimited Museum admission for one year
- Free admission for children or grandchildren, ages 17 and under
- 3 one-time use guest passes
- Free subscription to the quarterly magazine ASDM News and annual magazine Sonorensis
- Free coffee/tea at Phoebe’s Coffee Bar
- Free use of wheelchairs and strollers
- 10% discount on all education and Art Institute classes/workshops and in the Ironwood Terraces restaurants
- Members-only day at the Fall Plant Sale
- Advance notice of Museum special events and programs
- Desert Museum’s Research Library privileges
Tip: Think carefully about who will be visiting the museum most often. If grandparents are local, it might be a good idea to name “grandpa” or “grandma” as one the adults on the membership so they can bring their grandchildren throughout the year.
Anything from Mildred & Dildred
Our favorite Tucson toy shop is Mildred & Dildred, tucked away at La Encantada Mall, 2905 E. Skyline Drive. The staff is fun, engaging, and choosy about the toys and games that line their store shelves. You’ll find items that are educational, artistic, and downright beautiful.
Although the store is pretty teeny, there is a small area with a table train and play kitchen where little ones can play while you shop.
If you can’t make it to the brick-and-morter store, Mildred & Dildred does have a small online store. Free shipping with any order over $15!
Mildred & Dildred also offers free gift wrapping for every gift, no matter how big or small! Look for their distinctive style: brown paper packages tied up with string (“these are a few of our favorite things…”). The materials used to wrap gifts are manufactured from recycled materials.
Tip: Be sure to LIKE Mildred & Dildred on Facebook to see new products and to find out about story times + children’s plays (both happen regularly throughout the year).
Membership to Children’s Museum Tucson
What kid wouldn’t want to go grocery shopping for pretend food with a miniature cart, drive an ambulance to an emergency, or create a masterpiece in an art studio? The Children’s Museum Tucson in downtown Tucson offers all these opportunities and more. It’s a colorful, lively, and engaging place – especially well-suited for toddlers and preschoolers.
A family membership is $85 and includes:
- Unlimited annual membership for two named adults and four named children
- Additional people added at $5.00 each (Max 4)
- Members-only hours and events
- 10% discount at Toyastorus
- 4 one-time use guest passes
- 20% off birthday parties
- 10% off facility rentals
- Monthly eNewsletter Subscription
- Members-only discount guest passes
Tip: If the membership price is too steep, you could always buy day passes for a special outing to the museum. Also, note that the second Saturday of each month is $2 admission day.
What other local gifts do you recommend for Tucson children?