As the clock ticks down to Christmas Day, last-minute shoppers may be scrambling to find something that doesn’t require battling crowded stores or keeping fingers crossed for speedy delivery. But what if the perfect gift isn’t a thing at all? Maybe it’s an experience.
Clark County is brimming with businesses and organizations offering classes, concerts and adventures that won’t sit on a shelf and gather dust but will enrich the life of the recipient. Call the number provided or visit the listed website to buy a gift certificate, no supply chains necessary. Here are 16 suggestions covering everything from ballroom dancing to ziplining. This isn’t a comprehensive list by a long shot but it might serve as inspiration for a gift that will enlighten, entertain and even thrill the recipient.
- The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra offers individual tickets and ticket packages for the current season, which finishes in May. Select any three 2021-2022 concerts for $100 or buy single tickets for $35. Tickets include guaranteed seating for in-person performances at Skyview Concert Hall, 1300 N.W. 139th St., Vancouver, as well as a watch-at-home livestream option. Get complete details at vancouversymphony.org or call 360-735-7278.
- Magenta Theater, 1108 Main St., Vancouver, is now selling 2022 season tickets for five plays in February, April, June, October and December. Purchase a three-show package for $58 per person or pay $95 for all five shows. Season ticket packages are available at magentatheater.com, as are tickets for the next Magenta Improv Theater show on Jan. 15 and adult improv classes. You can also reach the box office at 360-949-3098.
- Cantera Equestrian at Emerald Valley Stables, 1613 N.E. 259th St., Ridgefield, offers 30- and 60-minute group riding lessons on most days of the week as well as 30-minute private lessons on weekdays. Purchase lessons individually ($45 to $65 per group lesson, $65 per private lesson) or by the month ($155 for a half-hour per week, $235 for one hour per week). Lessons are available to anyone age 6 and up, including adults. Riders are evaluated before starting lessons and beginners are welcome. Learn more at canteraequestrian.com or call 360-607-0493.
- Short Acres Farm, 20609 N.E. 164th St., Brush Prairie, charges $55 per hour for group lessons and $70 per hour for private instruction. The owner has been teaching both English- and Western-style riding for 30 years. Weekday riding lessons are offered for all ages and any skill level. Learn more at shortacresfarm.com or call 360-514-0780.
- Beacock Music offers music lessons at its Vancouver location, 1420 S.E. 163rd Ave., Vancouver, or you can hire an instructor for virtual lessons. Use your own instrument or rent one. Private lessons are available in just about every instrument you can imagine, from banjo and mandolin to ukulele and electric bass, as well as voice. Monthly tuition is $120 per month for weekly half-hour lessons and $240 per month for weekly one-hour lessons. To learn more, visit beacockmusic.com or call 360-694-7134.
- Opus School of Music has two locations — Ridgefield (414 Pioneer St.) and Camas (726 N.E. Second Ave.) — offering group and private instrumental and voice lessons for ages 18 months and up. Group lessons are $74 to $104 per month and private lessons are $148 to $296 per month. Instrument rental is available. Gift certificates are now on sale for “Superstars,” a game-based introduction to music for ages 51/2 to 7 that includes drumming, ukulele, piano and voice. To inquire, call 360-887-8770 or visit opusschoolofmusic.com.
- The Source Climbing Center, 1118 Main St., Vancouver, is a 5,600-square-foot indoor climbing gym with climbing walls, fitness area and kids’ zone. The Source offers classes for ages 12 and up, as well as monthly passes and annual memberships. Classes range from $16 for a two-hour “Intro to Bouldering” session to $163 for a six-hour lead climbing course. Private coaching sessions are also available from $60 per hour for one person to $192 for two hours for four people. Learn more at sourceclimbing.com or call 360-694-9096.
- Skamania Lodge offers year-round, all-weather zipline tours. The 2½-hour course features seven zip lines from 100 to 900 feet, three sky bridges, light hiking and beautiful forest views. There’s no age limit, although participants must weigh between 60 and 275 pounds. The regular price is $99 per person; however, the lodge is offering $79 gift certificates in December and January that can be used at any time in the future. Gift cards can be purchased at zipnskamania.com and mailed to you or directly to the recipient. Call 509-427-0202 for more details.
- Sky Zone Trampoline Park, 5000 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., Suite C100, offers trampolines, ladders, climbing walls, rings, swings and other challenges with soft or bouncy landings. The Holiday Punch Card for $19.99 includes a one-hour jump plus freebies like pizza and socks. The annual Elite Pass is currently on sale for $150 (normally $300), offering unlimited jump time on weekdays and other perks. Four-person family memberships are $19.49 per month. Waivers are required. Learn more at skyzone.com/vancouver or call 503-433-3939.
- Aero Maintenance Flight Center, 101 East Reserve St., Vancouver, offers “Discovery Flights,” 45- to 60-minute flights out of Pearson Field. Passengers take the controls for some of the flight, which includes brief instruction on aircraft systems and controls. The flight, which soars over the Columbia River and the Vancouver area, is $160. To schedule a flight, call 360-735-9441, ext. 1, or visit aeromt.com.
- Arthur Murray Dance, 808 S.E. Chkalov Drive, Vancouver, offers weekday lessons in tango, rumba, salsa, bachata, swing, hustle, cha-cha, fox trot, quickstep, bolero, merengue and waltz. The studio sells holiday gift certificates; call 360-699-4500 for pricing. It’s also offering a special for new students: $20 for an introductory dance lesson and private consultation. Learn more at arthurmurrayvancouver.com.
- Groove Nation Performing Arts, 3000 Columbia House Blvd., Vancouver, offers group lessons for kids and individual lessons for adults in hip-hop, contemporary dance, jazz, ballet and tap. Private half-hour lessons are $40 per person, $30 per person for two people or $25 per person for three people. Private lessons for one or two people are also offered in ballroom and social dancing at $50 per half-hour or $95 per hour. Packages of six to 10 half-hour or hour lessons for singles and couples range from $282 to $850. See groovenationdance.com for details or call 360-699-7150.
- Journey Theater offers classes for ages 6 to 18 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during its winter term, Jan. 3 through Feb. 24. Classes include (among many other subjects) drama, voice, improv, dance, stage movement, musical theater, writing and choreography. The cost is $265 per student per term, although some classes have fees for additional items like make-up kits or shoes. Visit journeytheater.org to view the class schedule with locations around Vancouver or call 360-750-8550.
- Metropolitan Performing Arts, with a studio at 6403 E. Mill Plain Blvd., offers weekly classes (winter term runs Jan. 3 through March 12) in acting, dance, music, musical theater, make-up design, directing, stage combat and other theatrical skills. Classes and programs accommodate ages 6 to 19. Prices range from $120 to $360 per class per term. See the complete schedule and get enrollment details at metropolitanperformingarts.org or call 360-975-1585.
- Norris Arts, 1605 N.W. Sixth Ave., Suite D, Camas, offers “Pottery 101 — Taste Test” for $50, a two-hour session for beginners. Classes are offered from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturdays or 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursdays. Students will use a potter’s wheel to make two or three simple objects, like bowls or vases, then select custom glaze colors. Staff will finish the pieces, dry, fire and glaze them for pickup in three to four weeks. Clay and aprons are provided. Purchase gift certificates by calling 360-824-5449. Get complete information at norrisarts.com.
- Melt Glass Art Supply, 502 Washington St., Vancouver, offers an array of fused glass and stained glass workshops. The “Introduction to Stained Glass” course for beginners will be offered starting in January and February. The cost is $160 for three 21/2-hour sessions. Students will learn how to make a stained glass panel (choose one of several patterns); glass costs $15 to $25 extra, depending on the type of glass. Buy gift certificates at 360-771-5617 or meltglass.com.