Has your family made New Year's resolutions yet? Perhaps this year you'd like to make more time to appreciate simple pleasures? Or maybe you'd like to explore the beauty that surrounds us in the Pacific Northwest? Great! We've got you covered. The hustle and bustle of the holidays has passed and now it's time to slow down, (and maybe even unplug for a while). So get ready to connect and reflect with our favorite picks for mellow wintertime fun in Seattle.
Bald Eagle Watching
Do you have any Angry Birds at your house? Take them to see a real Mighty Eagle and learn a thing or two about the bald eagle wintering routine on the Skagit River. All through January, Eastern Skagit County celebrates with the Skagit Eagle Festival, so look for special family friendly events each weekend, including wildlife presentations, music, hayrides and bonfires. The Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center is open Fridays and weekends for guided nature walks, information and eagle viewing; and volunteers from the Eagle Watcher Program, hosted by US Forest Service, meet weekends through January at one of three viewing stations along the North Cascades Highway 20. Volunteers supply the binoculars and information, so just bring your curiosity. (And your rain gear!)
A Year with Frog and Toad
One of the most perfect ways to enjoy January is by taking time to reflect on the previous year and appreciate the little things in life. Two old friends, Frog and Toad, will show you how. Arnold Lobel's lovable characters are brought to life at the Seattle Children's Theater in this Broadway musical about simple pleasures and lasting friendship. But hurry! It's just running through January 15. While you're at the Seattle Center, be sure to visit the Children's Museum for some exploration and discovery time for the tots. And grab something to eat at the Center House food court before or after your show.
Unplug and Play
Fancy technology was high on most folks' wish lists this year, but occasionally it's nice to wind down with some old fashioned fun. In our world full of electronic gadgets, Lego continues to hold a special place in the hearts of many children and parents alike. Regardless of your age, there is just something calming about the clicking of bricks. Join the folks at Bellevue Art and Frame for a monthly Lego meet-up, where kids can learn cooperation, creativity and problem solving skills within the constructive context of Lego building. And for more unplugged fun, visit Wind Up Here, a toy store in Olympia where you can introduce your kids to classic games like checkers and backgammon during weekly family game nights.
Washington Park Arboretum
A stroll through the Washington Park Arboretum is the perfect way to rediscover your inner calm after the non-stop Thanksgiving through New Year rush. Start at the Graham Visitor Center where you can rent your Family Adventure Pack, which contains field guides, scavenger hunts, magnifying lenses and activity ideas for children in grades K-6. (Use the restroom here before heading out, since restroom facilities are only located on either end of the park.) This time of year, the Witt Winter Garden is especially striking; and don't miss the Japanese Garden on the other end of the park, where you can watch and feed the plump and peaceful Koi fish.
The air is crisp and the rink is frozen. It's time to channel your inner figure skater, (or hockey player), and glide over to Bellevue Downtown Park to catch the tail end of Bellevue's Magic Season celebration, and enjoy some icy fun! Even if the air is more rainy than crisp, you can still strap on your skates since the rink is covered. If you're a brave, stroller pushing skater, you can take advantage of stroller skate times on Thursdays. The rink is larger this season, and if you didn't get skates under the tree this year, just rent them at the park. But hurry, because the magic melts away after January 8.
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