Shopping Guide: Picks from Orlando’s Most Unexpected Gift Shops
These distinctive spots make it easy to put together a thoughtful holiday present.
From one-of-a-kind jewelry at the Orlando Museum of Art to spaced-themed kits for kids at the Orlando Science Center to a unique lamp concealed in the form of a hard-cover book at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, you’re sure to find gifts for even the most discerning family members and friends. Here’s a look at five of Orlando’s most unexpected gift shops that house treasures for any taste.
The iconic Tiffany leaded glass windows at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art are the inspiration behind many of the findings at the museum’s gift shop. Blown glass vases and pottery are just a few of the elements you’ll find here. Smaller gifts include journals, business-card holders, and leaded glass and shell suncatchers. The jewelry case sparkles with inspired pieces combining glass, metals, and precious and semi-precious stones in statement necklaces, rings, pins and bracelets. Vibrant scarves featuring iconic Tiffany designs can be worn as an accessory, or you can have a design printed onto a canvas, turning it into a work of art suitable for hanging. (Ask the staff, and they’ll handle the details.) For a personal touch, the Brackish Bow Ties start at $164 and come in a range of feathers and colors that will give an artistic flair to any ensemble. (see top photo) morsemuseum.org
The botanical elements of Harry P. Leu Gardens are replicated throughout the garden’s flower-inspired gift shop. Everything from birdhouses and wind chimes to bee nesting kits and notecards featuring aspects of nature make for great last-minute gifts. Pieces related to current and past exhibits include books, garden statuary, retro toys and Swarovski crystal ornaments. The book Florida Oasis is a photographic journey through the gardens and a perfect choice for any plant lover. Children can tap their green thumb skills with garden-themed checkers, cards and planting gear. And then there’s the ideal gift for anyone living in Florida: a flamboyant umbrella in the likeness of a pink flamingo or one of Orlando’s beloved swans. leugardens.org
The Orlando Museum of Art may house the works of well-known international artists, but it also hosts the Florida Prize, an annual exhibition featuring the works of some of the area’s most progressive local artists. The gift shop sells the annual book that features the showcased local artwork as well as a collection of locally made prints, cards, mugs and jewelry. Gift items from other Florida-based vendors include calendars and stationery by Rifle Paper Co.; insulated drinkware from Corkscicle; and handmade jewelry by local and international artists. Jazz up any look with a pair of socks from the shop’s colorful collection of Hot Sox. Or, flip through the museum shop’s library of books and give the art lover in your life something special. omart.org
The Orlando Science Center’s gift shop is about so much more than plush animals and hand puppets—although they have plenty of those, too. Collections of tumbled stones and minerals help young visitors find their inner geologist, while DIY science experiments and chemistry sets let kids create and learn. Budding scientists can make glow-in-the-dark slime, candy-like sugar crystal concoctions, grow “aliens” from a water-chamber pod, and even try their hand at chemical-reaction experiments. For future astronauts, there are NASA-themed toys, games, mini spacesuits, apparel and books. An out-of-this-world stocking stuffer: astronaut ice cream, a freeze-dried treat in a variety of flavors. osc.org
Located on the Rollins College campus, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum is the only teaching museum in the Orlando area, and items in the gift shop reflect the research and teachings from the museum’s exhibits. Museum-published catalogs feature art that ties into the curatorial themes of the exhibitions, as well as the works of artists from the permanent collection. The shop, which is fair trade certified, includes items by local and national artists—totebags; handmade jewelry from Rockhaus Metals; Florida-themed lapel pins, patches and prints from Secret Society Goods; and vases, jars and lamps from The Granite, an all-female workshop located in Portland, Oregon, plus stuffed toys and animal masks for kids. The museum’s children’s book, Stories and Studios: Conversations and Projects, takes little ones on an adventure through the Cornell with activities and games—proving it’s never too early to get an education in art. rollins.edu/cfam