8 unique Long Island experiences to give as gifts
Relax, holiday shopping procrastinators. You missed Black Friday, Cyber Monday and most of the shopping season -- but you can still fill the gimmes on your shopping list.
Here are some last-minute "experience" gift ideas at several local venues that will entertain and enlighten -- and they're easy to buy and give to your loved ones. Won't you look thoughtful?
TAKE A FLIGHT
INFO 212-843-8010, americanairpowermuseum.org
Send the history buff in your circle up for a real one-hour flight. Among options: a two-seat T-6 Texan fighter-trainer that taught a generation of Americans to fly and fight during World War II. If you (and they) can wait until Memorial Day weekend, consider the "Time Machine" flight -- they'll be decked out in fatigues and taken for a ride in a D-Day paratrooper transport plane surrounded by airborne re-enactors.
GET SEASON SHOW TICKETS
WHERE John W. Engeman Theater, Northport
INFO 631-261-2900, engemantheater.com
COST $145-$160 for three shows
Put them in an orchestra seat at this Equity theater, which stages professional shows with actors from Manhattan. The theater offers a package for the rest of the season: revivals of a thriller "Wait Until Dark" (Jan. 24- March 10), a Tony-winning comedy "Boeing Boeing" (March 21-May 5) and the tuneful Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "South Pacific" (May 23-July 14).
TRY TRAPEZE SCHOOL
WHERE Eisenhower Park, East Meadow
INFO 516-640-6995, iflytrapeze.com
COST $50-$60 for a 90-minute lesson
Know someone with flying dreams? From April through October, they can study aerial arts with Anthony and Marco Rosamilia, brothers who grew up in Franklin Square and have instructed at Club Med. At their I.FLY Trapeze School in front of the Aquatic Center, your beneficiary can climb a 23-foot-high ladder to a pedestal (supported by a safety belt and line over a safety net) and learn the first position. By lesson's end, they can try their first catch.
PLAN A DATE NIGHT
WHERE A la Carte Cooking School, Lynbrook
INFO 516-599-2922, alacartecs.com
COST $225 a couple
What fun is cooking alone at home? At this three-hour course for two, periodically offered by this cooking school, the happy couple can learn how to make a romantic dinner -- and then eat it, too. Napa Valley and Classic Italian are two popular menus, including appetizer, entree, side and dessert. When the work is done, the couple sits down with their homemade creations and a glass of wine. For an extra $15, give them Dinner Dance Date Night, which includes dance lessons.
SEND THEM TO COMEDY COLLEGE
Put some ha-ha-ha in their ho-ho-ho. A gift for comedy can be developed in a seven-week course taught by professional stand-ups. They will learn the makings of a comedy performance, including how to write and deliver material, deal with a crowd and emcee. Students will create a seven- to eight-minute comedy set and perform it at a graduation show. Alumni have gone on to perform in clubs, but the course also is helpful for developing public speaking skills.
WHERE Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center, Riverhead
INFO 631-208-9200, longislandaquarium.com
Particularly good for kids -- they will get to know the aquarium's three penguins: Pam, Angela and Kevin, named after characters from "The Office." The 45-minute interactive program takes the guest of honor behind the scenes for a feeding session, petting time and a photo with the frisky critters. Children younger than 12 must be accompanied by a paying adult -- no one younger than 5 is admitted.
WHERE Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard, Peconic
INFO 631-734-8282, sanninovineyard.com
COST $2,500 (half-barrel, can be shared by up to four people)
A gift that keeps on giving, for the wine enthusiast. For a year and nine months beginning next month, one can learn the winemaking process from the ground up at this 5¼-acre vineyard. The experience includes a "pizza and pruning session" in January, a wine education class in March and grape picking at the October harvest festival. A half-barrel yields 138 mixed bottles (roughly $18 a bottle), says owner Lisa Sannino.
SEE THE PROS
WHERE June 24-30 at Sebonack Golf Club, Southampton
INFO 631-488-4065, 2013uswomensopen.com
Help a golf fan plan ahead with tickets to the U.S. Women's Open, which will be played for the first time on Long Island next year. More than 150 professionals and amateurs are expected to compete on a course with panoramic views of Great Peconic Bay. Best deal: the $100 four-ticket pack, which can be redeemed on any of the tournament days.