Things to Do With Kids Around Here During Winter Vacation
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 2018! 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: Ask about their gift card offer.
- 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!
- Tiffany’s Skate Inn has special skating times all break.
3. Go Ice Skating
Tacoma’s annual temporary, outdoor skating rink at Point Ruston has open hours all break long.
There are also new rinks in Auburn and Olympia this year, or Sprinker is doing fun special skating sessions. Here is a round up:
- Indigo Frozen Fountain – Ice Skating at Point Ruston, November 14th – February 2nd. The Grand Plaza at Point Ruston will be transformed into a winter wonderland! Follow link for admission details and holiday hours.
- There’s a skating rink in Auburn this year! Let us know about this if you go; we haven’t had a chance to check it out. It looks to have open hours through the end of January.
- There is also a new ice skating rink in Olympia this season! This one runs through January 6th
- or enjoy Holiday ice skating at Sprinker Rec CenterDecember 7 – 31st and January 2nd-7th | during sessions listed
Holiday music, snowflakes, indoor snow flurries & a decorated Christmas tree in the center of the arena. – “selfie photo favorite” Please Note: Closed Dec. 25 | Jan. 1 Admission prices, skate rental information and more: Website: www.piercecountywa.gov/sprinker Phone: 253-798-4000
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.
You can also go to the Tacoma Art Museum for free Thursday evening-no tricks required!
5. Head to Fantasy Lights!
This drive thru light display is open through January 1st. All the info. you need is here.
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. Have Free Fun at the Library
The library is always a great place to find free fun for the kids. Here are our, “Best bets,” from Pierce County Library branches.
- Thank You Cards & Cocoa South Hill – South Hill Meeting Room Thursday, December 27: 3:30pm – 5:00pmContinue the season of giving! Have a cup of cocoa while making thank you cards for friends and family. All ages. Under 6 with adult.
Gig Harbor Friday, December 28: 10:30am – 11:30amAge 6 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Key Center Friday, December 28: 1:00pm – 2:30pmDrop in and create beautiful and unique snowflake art. You do need to register for this one.
Eric Haines: One Man Band Graham Friday, December 28: 2:00pm – 3:00pm Join multitalented performer Eric Haines for a high energy all ages show of comedy, music, and acrobatics as he unicycles, juggles and stilt walks into your heart.
- Thank You Cards & Cocoa Orting Friday, December 28: 2:30pm – 3:30pm Continue the season of giving! Have a cup of cocoa while making thank you cards for friends and family. All ages. Under 6 with adult.
- Ozobots and Beebots Milton/Edgewood Wednesday, January 02: 2:00pm – 3:30pm Explore coding and robotics concepts with Ozobots and Beebots. Also offered in Sumner Thursday and Friday; check the calendar for info. on those dates.
- Petite Picasso – Body Painting! South Hill – Thursday, January 03: 1:00pm – 2:00pm for toddlers and preschoolers; Prepare to get messy with fun, creative, and process-driven art activities! We’re going to read “I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More” by Karen Beaumont, and do our own body painting on paper! You do ned to register for this one.
- Knit (or Crochet) Together University Place – University Place Meeting Room Thursday, January 03: 3:30pm – 5:00pm Come knit or crochet, No experience required. All supplies provided. All ages.
- Chess Club: Beginners Welcome! Gig Harbor – Gig Harbor Meeting Room Thursday, January 03: 6:00pm – 7:00pm Chess program for grades K-8.
8. Go sledding (maybe).
These spots depend on Mother Nature, so do be sure to check in for weather and road conditions before you go. For all your options, check out our post on Where to Play in the Snow around the South Sound.
Note: As an added wrinkle, some spots are likely closed as of this writing due to the government shutdown.
9. Walk Through A Lights Display!
As we mentioned already, we are partial to the drive thru display, Fantasy Lights in Spanaway and you can get all the details in our full post here. But there are also a number of fun displays you can walk through! Check out Ivar’s Clam Lights in Renton (free), Zoolights at Pt Defiance, or Holiday with Lights at Wild Waves in Federal Way.
10. Ring in the New Year
Check back here for our guide to a Kid Friendly New Years. Hint: The HOCM in Olympia has one of our favorite options.
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 29-30. 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. Go for a Polar Plunge
If you want to do something really crazy on the first day of 2019, join in on the Polar Bear Plunge in Tacoma at Point Defiance Marina. Brrrrr! This, “Cool,” tradition is definitely brag worthy.
11:30 am: Cub Plunge, for youth under 10 years of age.
12:00 pm: Adult/Family Plunge at noon
Cost: FREE, just show up and enjoy the fun!
Commemorative T-shirt $5 while supply lasts.
Point Defiance boat launch
5912 N. Waterfront Drive
(in Point Defiance Park) (map it)
Parking available at the event.
FREE Shuttle Service from Owen Beach 10 am-2 pm
The event is free and takes place rain or shine at the Point Defiance boat launch. For the safety of participants life jackets will available and lifeguards will be stationed on the docks.