Get Out and Get Active
It's true, much of the hubbub around the holidays centers around food and gifts, so an after-Christmas outing to get some exercise with your family is good for both the body and the brain.
There are several great ways to engage your family in active fun before winter break ends, from traditional events such as a walk in the woods to seasonal events like ice skating. Our list of ideas will help your family on their merry way.
Take to the Ice
Bundle up and go ice skating for some festive holiday cheer. All of the seasonal ice arenas are open into January. Top it off with some hot chocolate and this outing will be a sure winner with your kids. Try "stroller skating" at Bellevue's Magic Season Ice Arena; or make a trip to the Winterfest Ice Rink and enjoy all of the holiday fun Seattle Center has to offer. There is even a new synthetic rink this year (no chilly ice!) at Redmond Town Center.
Take to the Trails
Our friends over at the Washington Trails Association have some handy winter hike suggestions within 30 miles of Seattle. There are wild refuges right in the city and plenty of nearby trails that can be hiked year-round. So pack up your gear, and those little ones, and check out one of their recommended trails to enjoy waterfalls, views and old-growth forests.
Take the Polar Bear Plunge
OK, so these events are not for the faint of heart, but what could possibly make you feel more alive in 2018? Polar bear plunges take place New Year’s Day all around the Puget Sound. If your kids can run a 5K, do the Polar Bear Dive at Magnuson Park and take a chilly dip at the end of the run. Hot beverages will await you at the finish line. Or, skip the run and just do a free group plunge. The annual Polar Bear Plunge takes place at noon at Matthews Beach (younger polar bears can take part in the Polar Cub dip immediately preceding the main plunge). There is an 11 a.m. Polar Bear Dip at the Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park swimming beach in Renton. Point Defiance Marina in Tacoma offers a Cub Plunge (ages 9 and younger) at 11:30 a.m. and an adult and family plunge at noon (costumes are welcome and you get $3 off at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium for participating).
Take to the Slopes
Need sun? Bypass the passes for a snowy rendezvous in Eastern Washington. At Mission Ridge, just outside of Wenatchee, you’ll find sunnier weather, fluffier snow (true story – due to the cold, crisp weather in the valley) and a great family-friendly getaway. Mission offers daily half-day and full-day skiing and snowboarding lessons, where children of like ability are grouped together. After you check the kids into their lessons – voilà – you get time to hang out with your significant other to ski or board.
Mommy and Me Yoga
If your little one isn’t old enough to hit the trails or slopes yet, drop in for a Tuesday afternoon Mom & Baby yoga class at either Seattle Holistic Center near Green Lake or Whole Life Yoga in the Greenwood neighborhood. Gentle yoga poses are taught to help strengthen, energize and tone your body while also focusing on your sense of well-being – it’s just the thing for post-Christmas relaxation.
Don’t miss the chance to see the Kokanee this winter, a special salmon species that, unlike other salmon, spend their whole lives in freshwater streams and lakes. From now through late January these native fish can be viewed at Lake Sammamish, the only place to see them within 90 miles of Seattle. Call 206-477-4746 before you go to make sure the fish are visible. The best viewing locations are Ebright Creek along the East Lake Sammamish Trail, and Lewis Creek at 185th Place Southeast in Issaquah. Get your exercise along the trail and play "I spy" with these little red salmon.
Guided Nature Walks
It’s simple; it’s close to home; it’s the perfect way to enjoy nature with your kids. Here are some guided nature walks in Bellevue Parks for families in the next two weeks:
- Sunday, Dec. 31, 2-3:30 p.m., Family Friendly Ranger Walk: A guided trek through Mercer Slough Nature Park. Explore habitats, birds and other wildlife with a knowledgeable guide. All ages. Cost: Free. Please RSVP to MSEEC@bellevuewa.gov or 425-452-2565.
- Saturday, Jan. 6, 10:30-noon, Lewis Creek Ranger Hike: Join a ranger in exploring the natural history of Lewis Creek Park. Look for signs of wildlife and learn what to do when encountering animals in the wild. Dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes; the total distance on this hike is about one mile. All ages. Free. Lewis Creek Visitor Center, 5808 Lakemont Blvd. SE. 425-452-4195.
- Friday, Jan. 12, 10-11 a.m., Lions, Coyotes and Bears, Oh My!: Do you know which large predators live in the Bellevue area? Learn about cougars, coyotes, black bears and other native hunters in this educational program. You will also learn why natural predators are so important to a healthy ecosystem and what to do if you run into one. All ages. Free. Lake Hills Greenbelt Ranger Station, 15416 SE 16th St., please RSVP at 425-452-6993.