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IN THE BAG

Shopping column: Give the gift of a parks experience

Department offers programs from health and fitness to the arts.

Friday, December 14, 2012 - 12:01 am

Don't forget, gifts can be more than just things — they can be experiences, too. A membership to a museum, tickets to a concert, even a gift certificate for a class can be the perfect gift. Know somebody who's getting a new camera for Christmas? Maybe he or she would like to take photography lessons.

Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation offers programs for all ages, from health and fitness classes to drawing classes, ballroom dancing, scrapbooking and more. Gift cards can be purchased to be used for program registration fees, concert tickets, green fees, etc. You choose the amount. Go to www.fortwayneparks.org to peruse Fun Times, the department's listing of courses and activities.

To purchase a gift card by phone, call 427-6000, or stop by the office at 705 E. State Blvd.

•Speaking of the parks department, another great gift idea is a membership to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. Membership has its privileges, including unlimited free admission next season, as well as discounted admission to more than 150 zoos nationwide. Cost: $99 for a family or grandparent; $86 for a single parent; and $75 for an individual.

For $50, you also can adopt a red panda at the zoo; you'll get a plush red panda as a gift and your fee will pay for professional care for one year. Purchase online at www.kidszoo.org or call 427-6827 weekdays to order by phone.

•The Tulip Tree Gift Shop at the Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St., sells botanically inspired gifts.

•Ye Olde Gift Shoppe at the Community Center, 233 W. Main St., sells handcrafted items, most under $10, made by local seniors. Proceeds benefit the Community Center Wellness Program. Cash and checks only are accepted. Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Candy Cane Event

Three merchants at Covington Plaza are having a Candy Cane Event on Saturday and Sunday. You choose a candy cane and receive a special discount or service. Those participating are The Monogram Shoppe and more…, The Olive Twist and Merle Norman.

Also, local author Suzanne Rogers will sign her two books, “Being Bob” and “My Mother Can Do Anything” 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

Book-signing

Christopher James Menswear in Covington Plaza, 6410 W. Jefferson Blvd., is hosting a book-signing and meet-and-greet 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday for the Christmas-themed novel “Postcards from a Tuscan Christmas,” by Margarite St. John, which is the pen name of two Fort Wayne sisters, Margaret Yoder and Johnine Brown. The book features fictional characters from Fort Wayne. Brown will sign books.

Know of a store opening, closing or remodeling? Find a good deal? Call Cindy Larson at 461-8284, fax 461-8817, email clarson@news-sentinel.com or write to: In the Bag, C/O The News-Sentinel, PO Box 102, Fort Wayne, IN 46801. To read other columns, go to www.news-sentinel.com/section/LARSON.