Cleveland: 'Out-of-the-box' Christmas gift ideas

9:16 AM, Dec 8, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- If shopping at the big box stores has you frustrated, don't give up just yet.

Northeast Ohio has plenty of places to find one-of-a-kind gifts.

The Greater Cleveland Aquarium is heading into its first holiday season, and offering some unique experiences for visitors.

Guests can reserve a spot hand-feeding the sting rays in the touch pool. 

There's also an opportunity to be an aquarist for a day, shadowing one of the caretakers for the marine life. 

For the SCUBA certified, there's the chance to dive into the tank with the aquarium's sharp-toothed, 7-foot residents.

The best way to give this unique gift: call the GCA, at (216) 862-8803.

"These are experiences you're going to remember forever. You get pictures, and other people come with you. It becomes a social event as well as a learning event," said manager Tami Brown.

Clevelanders know West 25th Street in Ohio City is a food lover's dream.

At Maggie's Vegan Bakery (1830 W. 25th St.), owner Margaret Bilyeu whips up tasty treats for the health-conscious.

"For people who are lactose-intolerant, vegan because of their religion or just decided they'd like to eat better. But the [baked goods] taste good, so they're for everyone, really," Bilyeu said.

The bakery will offer holiday gift baskets full of fair-trade coffees and teas, plus muffins, cookies and cupcakes from a long-list of flavors.

The Gordon Square Arts District and Detroit Shoreway are known as a cultural hub on the west side.

Saturday and Sunday (December 8-9), the 78th Street Studios will host the annual Bazaar Bizarre. 

Featuring over 100 mostly local artists and vendors, this is not your average craft show and mall. 

Bill Tregoning from Tregoning & Company gallery, is showcasing remarkable watercolor paintings by Cleveland native artist Frank N. Wilcox.

"You could buy a watercolor of Paris before World War Two from us," Tregoning said. 

"There's no limit to the amount of material you're going to see, enjoy and find it's all really reasonable," Tregoning said.

The Bazaar Bizarre runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, at the 78th Street Studios (1300 W. 78th St.).


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