Categories: Feature Story Date: Dec 10, 2014 Title: Gift Shops with a Difference
Heading offline and off the beaten track can lead to unusual presents
How can you do a little good with some of your holiday shopping? Make a short trek (or a long one) to a gift shop run by a Central New York cultural, historical or conservation organization.
Photographs by Michael Davis
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s attractions are numerous during the holidays. Many animals in outdoor exhibits are especially active in cold weather. Asa, the male snow leopard born in July, is now spending some time in the snow leopard exhibit on the Wildlife Trails. But most of the zoo’s exhibits are indoors, so there are many animals to see when the weather is too beastly for people. The well-stocked gift shop sells roughly 700 items, ranging in price from 10 cents to $59.99. The 30-inch plush animals (white tiger, lion, elephant, wolf) are especially popular as gifts.
Rosamond Gifford Zoo, 1 Conservation Place, Syracuse. Open daily, excluding Christmas and New Year’s Day, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for those age 62 and up, $4 for ages 3 to 18, and free for children age 2 and younger. Half-price admission occurs during January and February. No need to pay if you’re visiting just the gift shop. Call 835-8511 or visit rosamondgiffordzoo.org for information.
Plush snowy owl, $19.99; Rosamond Gifford Zoo shop.
Elephant necklace and earring set, $19.99
Plush fennec fox, 12 inches, $18.99
Flamingo tumbler, $14.99; tiger mug, $11.99
Veterinary Kit, $13.99
Founded in 1982, the H. Lee White Marine Museum aims to preserve the maritime history of Lake Ontario and the surrounding area with exhibits, galleries and vessels. Visitors to the museum (the former offices and repair shop of a grain elevator, which was torn down in the ’90s), tend to taper off as the wind on Lake Ontario picks up and the temperature drops. However, the gift shop—called the Treasure Chest—is a worthy destination, with gifts ranging from 25 cents for a candy stick to $190 for a replica of a 1541 globe.
H. Lee White Marine Museum, West First Street Pier, Oswego. Open Monday through Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Admission to the museum in December is $3 for adults, free for those under 20. (The rest of the time admission is $7 for adults, $3 for teens, free for age 12 and under.) You can always visit the museum’s shop without paying admission. Call 342-0480 for information, or visit www.hleewhitemarine
Wooden model sailboat, 14 inches high, $12
Three-charm necklace, $40
Diving helmet clock, $72
Treasure-map puzzle in a bottle, $14.95
The Erie Canal Museum is housed in the only remaining weighlock building in America. Exhibits include a full-sized replica of a line boat, a general store, a canal-side tavern, a pottery shop, and a number of model boats. The museum is undergoing some interior and exterior construction and the entrance has been moved to the Water Street side. Paid parking is available on the street in designated areas. In the shop, item prices range from 25 cents for a piece of candy to the most expensive piece, a $600 sterling silver plaque by the artist Norman Dann, with images of the Erie Canal.
Erie Canal Museum, 318 Erie Blvd. E., Syracuse. Open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Entry to the museum is free, but a donation of $5 is appreciated. Admission to the annual Gingerbread Gallery, through Jan. 4, is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, and $2 for children. (If you’re just going to the shop, you do not need to pay.) Call 471-0593 or visit eriecanalmuseum.org.
Box of 10 note cards, $12.95
Handmade soap bar, $3.99 each
Rag doll, $10.95 Stand, $3.95
Handmade wooden Erie Canal boat, $27.95
Handmade wooden mule, $8.95
Finger top, $2