White-wrapped gifts with sprigs of greenery on a wooden table

A Curious Gift Guide

Curate a perfect wish list in our Curiosity Shop

Published11/20/2019 , by Gretchen Zampogna

In our gift shop, you’ll find a marvelous assortment of gifts for everyone from space buffs to nature lovers to kids—and the young at heart. You know who you are—that fossilized turtle poo makes you giggle, and for only $6!

Dive right in to this year’s gift guide, and let us help you satisfy even the most persnickety person on your list. Hint: Try an air plant in a gold-painted sea urchin shell for just the right combination of charm and style ($8.95).

The member tote with illustrations of a mammoth, wolf, and loon in space

Members Get More

Bell members, take advantage of a special sale December 14–22. Show your membership card (or join) to receive 20 percent off shop merchandise.

Gift membership gives year-round!

Gift memberships are a great way to give a year packed full of discovery and exploration at the Bell Museum for your loved ones. Gift memberships at any level will transport them from the very beginning of time to the far reaches of the universe! And this season you'll receive a special gift—a members-only tote featuring designs from local artist David Witt, constellation magnet, and gift packet to bundle together and gift for the holidays. Click here to purchase and learn more about gift memberships.

Everything Plants

An assortment of plant-related gifts

Any plant lover with an artistic bent would be delighted by Plant: Exploring the Botanical World, a luxuriously designed coffee table book showcasing 300 botanical works of art ($59.95). Faux plant stems can bring a hint of warmer days inside ($10 per stem), and the right person will look fetching in a moss crown ($7). Our resin flower bangle is wearable whimsy ($39.95*), a shining chrysanthemum brooch is simply stunning ($44‡), and a wood wall botanical is a wonderful way to bring some elegant plant detail to any room ($13.95). Combine your love for plants, tea, and birds—just look at that charming hummingbird on the handle of the hibiscus teapot! ($50) Top it all off with one of our plantable greeting cards so the lucky recipient can grow some wildflowers when spring finally rolls around ($4.25*).

Sparkle and Shine

A selection of sparkly gifts

A sunbeam through this art glass Tree of Enchantment ornament can brighten any day ($24.95; several designs available). Pair it with a simple black stand ($11.95) for an ideal gift. An air plant has a happy home in a cheerful rainbow ($19.95*)—or looks fabulous in this beautiful amethyst candleholder ($40). Our jewelry strikes just the right balance of sparkly and colorful: Try the statement bead necklace ($29.95‡) or the amethyst druzy rings ($36 each). Our favorite might be this amazing gold beetle pin, though, for a touch of sparkle and a whole lot of shine ($60). Under the beetle, you can see a selection of our dazzling crystal cupcakes ($13.95). These lovely little pieces can pull together any tablescape or bring a little glitz to a desk or shelf. Agate bookends are an enduring classic ($36/set), and we have a variety of candles with wonderful botanical scents. Pictured here is the orange blossom option ($25*).

Avian Accents

A group of bird-themed gifts

We will never tire of birds, and with treasures like these, how could we? Treat a friends or loved ones to their own avian art piece with a fair trade, hand-carved bird (barn swallow, $40; great blue heron, $79; kestral, $76; owl, $64; quails, $21.95 each‡). Backyard Birds is perfect for winter bird identification ($15.99), and you can up your hygge game this season by playing a cozy game of cribbage on this cardinal board ($21.50*)—roaring fire and hot beverage not included. A darling hummingbird finger puppet ($6.50) rounds out this selection of bird offerings, but there are plenty more to choose from in the Curiosity Shop!

Give Them a Little Space

A gathering of space-related gifts

A Bell gift guide wouldn’t be complete without space-themed ideas. We have items to delight every kind of space fan: The littlest learners will love The First Moon Landing, a Little Golden Book ($5.99); bigger kids (and adults!) will enjoy our Nanoblock sets (astronaut, $10; space center, $20), and there’s certainly no age limit on our space fan beanie (assorted colors, $21). A NASA mug is classic ($10), or you can get a silly with an AstroNell string doll ($9.99‡). Lunar landing thinking putty gives a tactile spin on space ($15), and you’ll never go wrong with space stickers—come on, look at that otter! ($3*). Night sky playing cards bring a little astronomy to your card game ($5.95). If you want to get crazy, combine them with the cardinal cribbage board! And you can stow your small space items in a cute flight bag ($12.99).

Small Treasures

An assortment of stocking stufers or secret santa gifts

Do you have stockings to stuff? Are you someone’s secret Santa? We’ve got you covered. This is just a small sampling of the fantastic array of gifts you can snag for under $20 in our shop! For the unicorn fan in your life who also likes outer space, a unicorn astronaut patch can’t be beat ($7*). The budding chemist will have tons of fun with a bouncing ball laboratory ($7.50). Animal lovers will appreciate a felted bird ornament ($12.95‡), mini plush beaver clip ($6), realistic-looking bullfrog ($9.99), or a tiny fox or otter ($3.99; variety of animals available).

Deck the halls with felted ornaments: Besides the birds, we also have acorns ($19.95‡) and mushrooms ($6.95‡). Game enthusiasts will dig our unique decks of cards (visions of the future, $9.95; National Geographic, $9.95), Lord of the Wings game ($9.99), and a mini bird puzzle ($8.95). Scientific minds will appreciate an authentic owl pellet ready for dissection ($7), or one of three test tubes containing science activities: viscoelastic slime, growing crystals, or water marbles ($4.50 each).

Any stocking would be improved by a real orthoceras fossil ($7.95), mini thinking putty ($3.50), Kind Lips balm ($5 each†), or shiny mermaid earrings ($10.95†). Still need a finishing touch? We have a great variety of stickers ($3 each*)—just try to resist that happy axolotl—as well as the cutest little gem bottles you’ve ever seen ($1.50). Last but not least, the cat astronaut pin rivals its unicorn buddy for cuteness ($10*), and a mini moonstruck memo book is the tops ($7.50).

Don’t Forget About the Kids!

An assortment of kid-geared gifts

Encourage flights of fancy with an astronaut uniform (sizes from 6 months to youth large $19.95) or butterfly wings ($19.95). Kids can explore space with a starry kaleidoscope ($7), a space puzzle ($40), or Astrophysics for Babies ($9.99)—they can even cuddle the Moon ($21.99) or a planet ($21.99–29.99). We have space fashion, too! Lil’ Dipper socks ($6) and a baseball T-shirt with original images from local artist David Witt ($18.50 for the toddler sizes) make a great set, and the shirt comes in sizes from 2T to adult 2XL, so the whole family can match! Of course, the Curiosity Shop is chock full of natural history, too. A plush log is home to forest-dwelling finger puppets including a black bear, a moose, and friends ($19.95 for the set). Don’t miss the lovable octopus finger puppet, either ($6.50), and the wonderful board book A Marvelous Museum ($8.99).

*Independent maker, †Fair Trade, ‡ Made in Minnesota