Family is family, but cabin fever can turn even the Brady Bunch into warring tribal factions. Luckily for Eastsiders, plenty of indoor and outdoor activities are open for business this December and ready to help your clan burn some pent-up energy.
LET IT SNOW
Being a whole lake closer to the Cascades than Seattle, it takes less than an hour for Eastsiders to zip up to Snoqualmie Pass for a partial or full day of fun in the snow. Ski or snowboard lessons, ranger-led snowshoeing walks, and two tubing parks await.
At Summit West—definitely the best beginner mountain—sign the kids up for group lessons, try a rental and lesson combo package, or simply rent equipment and grab a ride on the rope tow (summitatsnoqualmie.com).
Across the street from Summit Central lives the beloved tubing center. All ages are invited to grab a ride up on the rope tow during one of four two-hour sessions and a bite to eat at the small café when hunger strikes (summitatsnoqualmie.com/activities/tubing).
For kids with endurance and their own sledding devices, try driving just one mountain further to Hyak Sno-Park, which is groomed five times a week. No rope tow here, but there is a restroom onsite and amenities to be found at the nearby Summit East. Free admission, but a Sno-Park permit and Discover Pass are required (509.656.2230).
If your family prefers a walking pace, work up a sweat during a 90-minute or half-day guided snowshoe adventure with a park ranger. Children will especially enjoy the Saturday "Kids in the Snow" walk, which departs at 1 p.m. for 90 minutes of animal tracking lessons, snow cave exploration, badge earning, and other activities (fs.usda.gov/mbs).
THE GREAT INDOORS
With options ranging from swim camp, to craft camp, to Lego camp and more, the Bellevue Club has a variety of Winter Break Camps perfect for keeping your youngsters entertained and active. A variety of dates and times are also available to make it easy to fit into your hectic holiday schedule. (bellevueclub.com)
Channel your kids’ determination to jump on the furniture into hours of fun and exercise. SkyMania in Kirkland has wall-to-wall trampolines to suit all ages of troublemakers. Younger tots will enjoy Toddler Time when kids five years old and younger take over the gym (skymaniatrampolines.com).
Head a little farther north to Elevated Sportz in Bothell to experience the latest in trampoline gyms. Opened in December 2012, this indoor park includes not only a jumping room but also the largest soft play structure in Washington state (over 6,300 square feet and four levels high). Combo tickets are available for kids who can’t decide between playgrounds (elevatedsportz.com).
In December, Bellevue has plenty of active fun, events for youngsters. Drop by Bellevue Downtown Park to glide on the outdoor ice skating rink. Admission covers entry and skate rentals for all family members (magicseason.com).
Back on solid ground, the Bellevue Botanical Garden will offer its annual "Garden d’Lights" spectacle. In addition to the ornate light displays, children can look forward to a lighted animal scavenger hunt. As a bonus, kids ten years old and younger get in free (gardendlights.org).