Wondering how you’ll keep the kids busy over Winter Break? We’ve got you covered with lots of frugal, family, fun events to keep you busy each day of Winter Break. Updated for 2017! PS We have another post right here with FREE ideas. Because holidays and weather sometimes cause unannounced changes, we do suggest you use the links we provided to confirm details before you go.
Read on for the whole list! We’d love to hear what you decide to do!
1. Visit The Model Train Festival
Check out our post with a reader mom review about this annual event at the history museum in Tacoma.
2. Check Out an Indoor Playground Or Pet Animals-Indoors!
There are so many places to play indoors if you’re not up for being outside in the rain and mud!
- Wiggleworks in Puyallup has fun planned all break long and is always a great choice for your preschool set. Hint: They have gift cards if you need a last minute idea!
- Aerosports in Federal Way would be a lot of fun for your tweens and teens. This is the spot that used to be Trampoline Nation. We haven’t been since the change-let us know how it is if you go!
- Debbie Doolittle’s Indoor Petting Zoo is such a cute spot for your animal lovers. It’s the only place where you can pet critters to your heart’s content and stay warm and dry! Here’s more on this fun spot! **Note from SFM Do check their fb page first, as their hours and such seem to change quite often.
- Tiffany’s Skate Inn has special skating times all break and some great deals like 2.00 Tuesdays. You can also sign up for Kids Skate Free passes!
Tacoma’s annual temporary, outdoor skating rink has a new home at Point Ruston this year, with open times all break long.
Admission (tickets only available at time of visit):
Admission with skate rental: $12.50
Admission with personal skates: $10.00
Kids (10 and under): $9.00 (with or without skates)
Military/Veteran with ID: $9.00 (with or without skates)
Senior Citizen (over 55) discount: $9.00 (with or without skates)
It opens most weekdays at 4PM and most Saturdays and Sundays at 10AM
If this is too spendy for you, you might consider one of the area’s indoor rinks, like the one at Sprinker Recreation Center (Look for their, “Cheapskate,” sessions to save the most).
4. Visit a museum for FREE!
Pack in some cultural punch with your kids while they’re on winter break! One of the best deals around are the free museum passes available from your local libraries. Check out passes just like you would check out a book, show up at your museum of choice, and in you go! Get all the details on our post Free and Cheap Museum Going Around the South Sound.
5. Take a Driving Tour of Christmas Lights!
This event is of the Do It Yourself variety, but that’s the best way to do this! Check our our guide to South Sound Neighborhood Lights Displays. Try a neighborhood out of your area for something new!
6. Catch a movie!
See a movie on the cheap! Check out our post on Where to See Kids Movies for Cheap in the South Sound.
7. Build At the Lego Expo!
Freighthouse Square will again be filled with Lego for the winter event from Brick by Brick. If you have a lego lover, you don’t want to miss it! Our post here has all the details, including how to get your tickets.
8. Go sledding!
These spots depend on Mother Nature, so do be sure to check in for weather and road conditions before you go. Check out our post on Where to Play in the Snow around the South Sound.
9. Visit a Lights Display!
We are partial to Fantasy Lights in Spanaway and you can get all the details in our full post here. You can also check out Ivar’s Clam Lights in Renton, Zoolights at Pt Defiance, or Holiday with Lights at Wild Waves in Federal Way.
Many big holiday shows still have performances. Check our holiday arts guide to find something great.
11. Take Your Kid to NW Trek for a Winter Wonderland!
Join the animals at NW Trek for a Winter Wonderland! Activities are free with admission. Animals around the park get to enjoy tasty holiday treats and the little ones get an up close encounter! December 29-31. Note: Trek is expensive, but it is a very full day of fun. You might consider a membership as an experience Christmas gift this year!
12. Go for a swim!
There are lots of South Sound Pools with Water Park Style Features. Be sure to call ahead to see if your local pool has special holiday hours.
13. Check out First Night in Tacoma
First Night in Tacoma, in Downtown Tacoma, is a family-friendly, arts-centered, alcohol free celebration of New Year’s Eve that takes place throughout the Downtown Tacoma theater district.
Evening festivites begin at 6:30 with the world’s shortest parade. Followed promptly by over a dozen stages of music, arts and entertainment. And make sure not to miss the fire spectacular beginning at 11:30PM
Buttons cost $10 – $12 each. Children age 10 and under are free. Day of event, price goes up to $15 each. Buttons can be purchased around town, or online for a small, extra fee.
14. Go for a Polar Plunge
If you want to do something really crazy on the first day of 2018, join in on the Polar Bear Plunge in Tacoma at Point Defiance Marina.
Kick off the new year with a cool tradition—a refreshing plunge into invigorating Puget Sound!
11:30 am: Cub Plunge, for youth under 10 years of age.
12:00 pm: Adult/Family Plunge at noon
Cost: The Polar Bear Plunge is free, just show up and enjoy the fun!
Location: Point Defiance boat launch, 5912 N. Waterfront Drive in Point Defiance Park
The event is free and takes place rain or shine at the Point Defiance boat launch, located at 5912 N. Waterfront Drive in Point Defiance Park. For the safety of participants life jackets will available and lifeguards will be stationed on the docks.
Daring folks who jump in can warm up afterward in heating tents, sip free hot drinks, and purchase treats from the snack bar. Changing tents will be available.
Need to keep your fun on budget?
Got any other ideas we missed? Of course, you can always just spend a day at home in your jammies, making a gingerbread house and paper snowflakes. Whatever you do, we hope you enjoy special memories with your kiddos at this magical time of year!