Stumped on where to find the perfect gift for the pint-sized aficionado in your life? If you have a kiddo who’s gaga for a certain theme: trains, planes, dinosaurs, outer space, art, etc. then you’ll find presents galore in Balboa Park’s free-to-enter museum gift shops––where a treasure trove of offerings reflect the beloved museum exhibits. From astronaut ice cream to fossil exploration kits, Blue Angel toy aircraft to costume butterfly wings, each shop boasts one-of-a-kind holiday picks. Read on to see where to score some wow-worthy gifts.

Fleet Science Center

Have a future astronaut waiting in the wings? Fill her stocking with freeze dried astronaut ice cream so she'll know what it's like to eat in outer space. Find glow in the dark stars to brighten her room, or inspire her with a robotics kit or NASA doll. The North Star Science Store at the Fleet is a treasure trove. Find dress-up gear for astronauts in training and  a NASA “I Need My Space” T-shirt for that hard to buy for brother-in-law. Kids of all ages will have fun with Galileo and Einstein stuffed magnet dolls. Those with online aspirations will love Stickbots to pose and create their own videos to upload. Touchable bubbles and light up gadgets that harness human powered static electricity make original stocking stuffers too.


Where’s your favorite place to score unique gifts in Balboa Park? Share in the comments!

––Cherie Gough (photos too, except where noted; featured image courtesy of Balboa Park December Nights)