By LAURI GROSS
Sometimes shopping local can take you a world away, like when you visit area museums and other attractions and stop in their gift shops. These stores offer selections specially curated for enthusiasts of everything from science to music to conservation, depending on which store you find yourself browsing. Here we point out a few of the myriad gift choices available at these fun museum/area attraction gift shops, all of which will spare you shipping charges of buying online, and stand ready to capture your imagination and earn hugs from everyone on your holiday gift list.
Cleveland Museum of Art
Visit the Museum Store at the Cleveland Museum of Art for gifts that range from classic to captivating. Selections include charming wooden Christmas trees that look great clustered together and displayed as is. Or, make it a family activity to paint them for a more personalized statement. Shoppers looking for children’s gifts will find toys, books, art-making activity sets and more. Teens and pre-teens love the store’s collection of mystery novels with an art-museum twist. These include “The Case of Missing Museum Archives,” “The Case of the Portrait Vandal,” and “The Case of the Counterfeit Painting.” The store also carries a large inventory of locally made items from jewelry to aprons bearing images of famous paintings. Other choices include gloves, calendars, porcelain teapots and beautiful international choices such as jewelry made from recycled Indian saris, jackets and Barbie dolls from Africa, and much more, including many items from fair-trade companies.
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History inspires visitors to learn more, do more, understand more. The Museum’s gift shop is full of ideas for taking a bit of that inspiration home. There’s a STEM lab set that invites young scientists to conduct their own colorful experiments and a Kitchen Cabinet Science Project book that details 50 hands-on activities using everyday ingredients to explore basic scientific principles. Kids who visit the Ralph Perkins II Wildlife and Woods Garden (Presented by KeyBank) will love eco-friendly plushies featuring fun and realistic designs that represent the ecological importance of Ohio’s native species. Or, choose a clothing item from the shop, including hoodies or a T-rex beanie. The allure of the museum’s dazzling display of minerals in the new Visitor Hall is captured in the gift shop’s crystals and geodes perfect for any display or rock collection.

Cleveland Orchestra
The Cleveland Orchestra offers experiences for one-of-a-kind gift-giving. Tickets to a holiday show at Severance Hall will delight music lovers. Or, consider tickets to the Blossom Music Center. There are lawn ticket books with 10 lawn tickets and two pavilion seat upgrades to use at Cleveland Orchestra concerts at Blossom Music Center next summer. There will also be movie concerts at Blossom. These feature the orchestra performing a live movie score while the film shows on Blossom’s big screens. Get tickets for showings of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” June 29 and June 30, and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” Aug. 2, Aug. 3 and Aug. 4.
Greater Cleveland Aquarium
The gift shop at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium reflects their mission to energize curiosity about aquatic life and the environment to inspire positive action. Shoppers will find lots of fun choices including puzzles, books (including color-by-number options), conservation-focused jewelry, and more. Some of the most popular items for kids include the Green Toys’ ferry boat, seaplane and loader trucks, made from 100-percent recycled plastic. Kids also love the shop’s collection of plush sharks, eels, snakes, stingrays and seadragons. Purchase jewelry at the Aquarium gift shop from 1 Tree Mission and the organization will plant a tree. Or, choose a Dorsal bracelets, which equates to one pound of trash removed from the ocean. The store also carries gluten and dairy-free honey and sauce from The Spicy Shark, a New England company. Or, choose an ocean-themed umbrella with a canopy made from recycled plastic. Future marine scientists will love the E-Team X Shark Playset which comes with a boat, a great white shark and a diver action figure.
Great Lakes Science Center
You don’t need to pay admission to the Great Lakes Science Center to enter the Science Store, since it’s accessible in the main lobby (although exploring the Science Center is always worth the trip).Check out the store’s perennial favorites, including astronaut ice cream (a super popular stocking stuffer) and a wide variety of NASA apparel including T-shirts, ballcaps, hoodies and astronaut jumpers. Other gifts will appeal to STEM enthusiasts of all ages, from plush toys to telescopes. Pick up solar eclipse safety glasses (also a great stocking stuffer), as well as new building kits that correspond with the Science Center’s current special exhibition called Build It: Engineering Ideas Brick by Brick. Or, give the gift of a membership to the Science Center (purchase at the box office or online.)
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The museum store at the Rock Hall is loaded with items that celebrate rock, punk, hip hop, metal, and pop music, from Christmas ornaments to vinyl LPs, books, clothing and much more. How about a 10-inch collectible mini guitar including one that’s a replica of a Fender Mustang Sonic Blue like the one Kurt Cobain played on stage during Nirvana’s 1993 In Utero tour, or another that’s an officially Licensed Elvis Presley ‘55 Tribute Acoustic Mini Guitar? The Rock Hall gift shop has these and many other mini replica guitars. There are also Jimmy Hendrix (and many other) greeting cards, a pack of David Bowie Ziggy Stardust Motion Guitar Picks and plenty of items that celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip hop including books, clothing, vinyl LPs, wall art, and even a cassette player boombox radio.