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Top 10 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas


This year, give experiences!

If the idea of foraging in a local mall to find just the right gift for the woman who bathed you, fed you, supported you, (and bailed you out a few times) doesn’t appeal, you’re not alone.  Sure, parfum, electronic fitness bracelets and gluten-free truffles can fill the bill for some, but hey, your mom deserves more.  (Besides, you did that last year.) So how about gifting Mom with an experience? Come along for the ride and she’ll go wild. The woman who swooned over your crayon masterpieces will love the originality and adventurous spirit behind these ideas. She will also have a reason to use the photo filters on the smartphone you gave her last Mother’s Day.

Here’s a quick guide to 10 Unique Mom Day Thrills for you to consider.  There’s something for every budget and the best news is you still have time to pull it off:

1.     Family Photo Shoot

Schedule a fun and casual professional photo shoot for the whole family in Mom’s favorite location. Be it backyard, Baby Beach in Dana Point, the marina, scenic park or other locale, google a local photo artist and enjoy the day!  You can color coordinate or add special props, or bring along a picnic lunch. If you plan on including pets, consider locales carefully – cats prefer to stay dry so waves gently lapping at their paws may not get the results you were hoping for.

2.     Whale Watching off Dana Point Harbor

There may still be time to reserve seats on one of the comfortable vessels cruising out of Dana Point Harbor, such as Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safaris.  Mama will never forget this world class adventure — magnificent mammals and abundant sea life all around.  Memorable rides on these vessels also come with the added perks of being able to bring along your own picnic lunches and wine. And the one-of-a-kind underwater viewing pods should “seal” the deal.  The weather is perfect so call 949-488-2828 or book online.

3.     Angels Baseball Game

Maybe mom is a baseball fan or likes rally monkeys or would just love to catch a live game with the family at Angel Stadium. This Mother’s Day, fans can watch the Angels play the Minnesota Twins at 1:00 PM and receive a FREE Mother’s Day Sun Hat to the first 20,000 Moms.  Tickets from $20. Or have a blast Mother’s Day Eve, Saturday evening game, replete with fireworks. Visit

4.     Annual Sunset Beach Art Festival

All weekend long, the Sunset Beach Art Festival offers live entertainment, arts and crafts booths, a juried art exhibit and a Kid’s Zone. If Mom’s idea of fun is shopping, beach, food, art and music rolled in one location –look no further. (Also a great place to showcase spontaneity and buy that craft she has her eye on.) Free admission, parking available at Peter’s Landing and the parking lot at the end of Warner with shuttle buses. Proceeds from this fun fest go toward charities benefitting the mentally ill, homeless families, at risk teens and art programs for local schools.

5.     House Clean Service

Give the gift of a clutter-free clean house to your favorite mom this year. Just whisper the phrase “professional house cleaner” to mom and watch the stress melt away. Give mom the gift of free time she deserves. Whether it’s one time, a month or two or a year’s worth of exorcising dust bunnies, she will be able to relax and rejuvenate. Try Naturally Clean OC for the environmentally conscious (858) 204-0199 or check Yelp for more recommendations.

6.     Hot Air Balloon Ride

Soar through the sky this weekend when you and Mom take your adventure up and away and fly high above beautiful Southern California. Hot Air Balloons are available over the wineries in Temecula, complete with champagne and continental breakfast, but also available on a smaller scale in Irvine, with tethered balloons that rise 400 feet and offer amazing views or the Orange Coast. Either way, Mom will love the high.

A Great Escape Balloon Adventure, Temecula (951) 699-9987

The Great Park Ballon, Irvine (949) 724-6247

7.     Museum Adventure

Mom wants an indoor experience? Orange County has some noteworthy unusual museums, aside from the award-winning Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.  (Bowers is hosting a fabulous Mother’s Day Brunch which includes free entry to the museum and other discounts.) Unusual Museum ideas include the Pretend City Children’s Museum in Irvine, Ocean Institute in Dana Point and the Muzeo in Anaheim, which engages guests through creative programming.  Traditional art museums include the Laguna Art Museum and the Orange County Museum of Art.


Whether you take Mom to breathe in the perfume of 1,600 roses at the visual feast that is Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge, a 150-acre oasis of beauty or stay closer to home and visit the stunning Fullerton Arboretum or the Niguel Botanical Reserve, Mama can’t go wrong experiencing Spring up close and personal.  The Niguel Botanical Reserve is a hidden gem and covers over 18 acres of Crown Valley Community Park.  Bring the picnic lunch, bug repellent and sunscreen!

9.     Anaheim Marketplace

This annual Anahim Marketplace Mother’s Day Event features mariachis, live music, ballet folklorico, free flowers for mom, raffles, giveaways and much more.  Free admission, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM.

1440 S. Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA (714) 999-0888

10.    PAINT & SIP

Does Mom have an artistic streak?   You’ll want to join Mom on this adventure. A new crop of art classes are on the landscape where amateur artists can paint, enjoy wine or beer and just have fun. Regardless of experience, the instructors will guide Mom and family into step-by-step artistic fun. And some venues allow you to bring in snacks.  There’s Pinot’s Palette with locations in Huntington Beach, Aliso Viejo, Brea, Tustin & Rancho Santa Margarita.  Brushes N’ Vino offers a mobile private party option, and  Sip + Colr in Irvine.

Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari

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Gift an unforgettable dolphin and whale watching experience! With year-round whales, dolphins, sea lions, sharks, and more, any time is a great time for your recipient to enjoy their gift.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods…” – Dr. Thomas Gilovich