Whether you need a cure for cabin fever, want to stimulate young minds or just yearn to see your kids look up from their electronics for a few minutes, come to the Kitsap Peninsula. We’ve got a sleighful of activities that are fun for the whole family.
Light Up the Night – We all need a little light to pierce the December darkness and the Port of Kingston’s holiday display brings the magic. There’s a beachscape that includes a giant sea turtle and a garden of colorful blooms that cheers the darkest night. The display next to the Kingston ferry continues daily through Jan. 5 and is free. More info.
Can’t get enough holiday lights? Try Christmas in Big Valley through Jan. 2. Ron Comin spends six to eight weeks each fall transforming his 1.5-acre property into a wonderland with more than 70,000 lights. There’s a toy railroad, waterfall, Candy Cane Lane, Nativity and North Pole workshop. Kids under age six get in free. It’s $7 for everyone else. Details.
Hands-on Museums – Ring in the New Year KiDiMu style at noon on Dec. 31, when the Kids Discovery Museum on Bainbridge hosts its annual countdown to noon, with a balloon drop, crafts, bingo and face painting. Check the schedule for other break activities, including Messy Monday, Tuesday Tunes and Math Wednesday. Admission is $7, with discounts for seniors and military. Learn more.
For more hands-on fun, try manning the controls of a submarine at the Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport, put on a show at the Valentinetti Puppet Museum or get up close and personal with creepy crawlies at Bremerton’s Bug and Reptile Museum. The undersea and bug museums are free; a per-family donation of $5 is suggested for the puppet museum.
Would you like ice with that? – Channel your inner Olympian at the Bremerton Ice Center. Check the calendar for daily public sessions. General admission is $6.50 and skates are $2.50. Look for Cheap Skate sessions, when the $6 admission includes skate rental.
Get Outside – Explore area shorelines at night and learn what lives under the docks at 9:30 p.m. Dec. 25 at Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal beach and from 7-8:30 p.m. Dec. 31 at the Poulsbo Marina. Kitsap Beach Naturalists will share their knowledge at both locations. In Poulsbo, a volunteer with the Poulsbo Marine Science Center will be diving to help share the living treasures under the sea. Register for the free beach explorations here.
A waterfall, trestle bridge and Japanese garden are just a few of the joys awaiting at the Bloedel Reserve, which is beautiful in any season. Through Jan. 3, the visitor’s center is transformed into a charming miniature town with intricately designed buildings and whimsical trains. It’s sure to captivate children of all ages and is included with garden admission, which is $15 for adults, $8 for students ages 13-18, $5 for children ages 5-12 and free for children age 4 and younger. More info.
There’s free entrance to all state parks on New Year’s Day and Kitsap has some beauties. Scenic Beach lives up to its name with close-up views of the Olympic Mountains and Kitsap Memorial and Illahee are oases of green close to city amenities.
Out-of-this-World Fun – Bremerton’s Pacific Planetarium is hosting winter break STEM programs to intrigue the next generation of astronauts and stargazers. Preschoolers can “Rocket to the Planets,” 6- and 7-year olds can learn what happened to the dinosaurs when asteroids hit the earth 65 million years ago and children ages 6-9 can plan a mission to Mars. There’s also an “Explore the Moon” program for the whole family. For info and to purchase tickets.