One of the best Christmas gifts I ever received, I had to wait six months to use. On Christmas Eve 2005, my mother-in-law presented our whole family with tickets to see "The Lion King” at Tulsa’s Performing Arts Center.
In June 2006, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, husband, older son, older niece and I watched enraptured as Julie Taymor’s grand vision of the Disney tale unfolded. (The first high note from the actress playing Rafiki marked the first time I felt my almost-2-year-old son kick in the womb.) As another holiday season approaches, that treasured recollection reminds me that arts, culture and learning experiences can make meaningful gifts. Oklahoma is dotted with museums, theater companies, art galleries and other cultural institutions. Tickets to see a play, a tour of an art exhibit or a piece of original artwork can spark a lasting love of the arts. Museum gift shops offer unusual and educational gifts. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art sells art books and kits to inspire youngsters. If your child prefers science, Science Museum Oklahoma carries items ranging from the Weather Center for budding meteorologists to an inflatable space shuttle. Besides dinosaur puppets, models and plush toys, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History offers gifts from miniature Chinese calligraphy sets to handmade African dolls. Museums, zoos, symphonies and more also sell memberships or season tickets. For those looking for the ultimate, the natural history museum and The Oklahoman are sponsoring "Walking With Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular,” which will rule Jan.