There is a lot more to unwrap when you give the gift of nature.
One study showed that being outside – or even looking at photos of the outdoors – can boost memory and attention by as much as 20 percent. So this holiday season, help the outdoorsy Atlantan in your life find new ways to explore.
Where else can you get a 20 percent return on investment?
Here are our top six gift ideas to get you started:
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- Archery: It's not just for Cupid anymore. Channel your inner Katniss and take aim at one of the nine Georgia State Parks with archery ranges and targets. The highly rated Barnett Sportflight set runs $26.12 on Amazon and includes two small arrows to get you started. Once you've gotten comfortable with the draw, buy some nicer target arrows to improve your form. Last pro-tip: Tallulah Gorge State Park is the only one in the state that won't charge an extra fee for the archery range and has the added perk of a two-mile long gorge to visit.
- Bose SoundLink Micro: Small gift with big sounds. At $109, this is a great deal for a Bose, which is the brand known for well-built and great-sounding speakers (and even made in the USA). At 10 ounces and fully waterproof, this pocket-sized Bluetooth speaker has a rubber strap that you can use to clip the speaker to your backpack or your bike handlebars. Fully charged on its microUSB charging port, it will last for six hours of activity. Buy through the Bose website and get free expedited shipping.
3. Screamin' Gator Zip Line: When fear of heights is just the start. Forget a canopy tour. If you're planning an adventure in the sky, why not gift the gift of flying over an alligator breeding marsh? The $69.99 ticket includes admission for the day to Gatorland, a critter-focused Orlando theme park that dates to 1949, more than two decades before that park known for its famous mouse. If your recipient takes to the wildlife preserve with its reptiles, petting zoo (don't worry; they're mammals) and birds, splurge on an annual pass before you leave. They'll let you apply your zip line ticket price to the final cost.
4. Atlanta Track Club: 27,000 runners and walkers can't be wrong. Want to get the outdoor enthusiast in your life a guaranteed spot among the 60,000-strong running the AJC Peachtree Road Race? New membership to the Atlanta Track Club, the second largest running organization in the country, is just $35 (and $60 if you're in the same household and want to join in on the world's largest 10K race next July). Membership also includes discounts on other area races and the Track Club's training programs and even free entry into select events.
5. Co-op membership: A lifetime of discounts. Metro Atlanta is home to five REI stores, the outdoor gear shop that sells everything from kayaks to energy bars. If you're stumped at what to get the outdoor lover who has everything, remember that REI is a co-op, meaning you can buy the gift of REI membership for just $20. All six million members of REI earn an annual dividend that refunds a portion of eligible sales from the year. Co-op members also get exclusive access to in-store garage sales on returned gear twice a year and discounts on classes and rentals. If your special someone already is a member, gift cards are also a quick way to guarantee more outdoor time (after some shopping, of course).
6. The outdoors and wine: A perfect pairing. Atlanta's Winery Journeys has figured out a guilt-free way to enjoy a glass or two of wine made in Georgia or Tennessee. They include a vineyard trip in addition to planned outdoor activities, including hiking ($120 per person), horseback riding ($199 per person), golfing ($199 per person) and even a visit to an Amish community in Tennessee ($120 per person). All prices include the activity, winery visit, plus some food. And did we mention, there's also wine?