The ultimate kids' cold weather bucket list
It's winter in Happy Valley and that means FUN for all ages. Spend the first few weeks enjoying the full calendar of fall festivals and then, as the weather cools down, we've got you covered! Here are some of our favorite cold weather festivities this season.
Tussey Mountain has family fun down pat. Kids (and adults, too) love tubing, and there are seven ski slopes for the most novice skiers up to the most advanced. Snow tubing is open to ages four and up, and the handle-tow lifts make trudging back up the hill for another round a thing of the past. Catch one of the ski lessons on the weekend, for ages six to 12. Have teenagers or older kids who don’t necessarily need your watchful eye? Mom and Dad can cozy up at Edges Pub for a drink and great food, as well as live music on the weekends. Tusseymountain.com
Gingerbread House Workshop
Celebrate the season with family bonding and gingerbread fun with Taste Buds Kitchen's signature December workshop. Each parent/child pair works together to design and decorate their very own gingerbread house. Take a break from last-minute gift shopping and get messy in the kitchen. You and your creative chef will love the endless decorating options from frosted candy roofs to pretzel picket fences. Everyone will enjoy the cheerful holiday tunes as they experience quality parent/child time. Spread the holiday spirit by bringing home your very own gingerbread creation! $35 per parent/child pair. (They also offer an adult only BYOB workshop for adults who are kids at heart.) To register, visit tastebudskitchen.com/statecollege/
Pegula Ice Arena
The Pegula Ice Arena is an annual tradition for our family. Home of the Division I hockey team, the community ice arena is roomy, sleek, and fun. There are 360 days of public skates, and there is no better time to go than the winter. Make it part of your holiday tradition — either a pre-Thanksgiving workout or a Christmas Eve skate-off — and find out just how good you are on a pair of skates! Adults: $8, Kids under 18: $7, Skate rentals: $3. Check for the schedule at gopsusports.com/pegula-ice-arena; 814-865-4102
Hop aboard your very own local Polar Express in Bellefonte. The Santa Express runs Dec. 20-22, and features Santa himself, along with a selection of his friends. Buy your tickets quick because this trip is in high demand (lap tickets are free for children under three). The ride is a little over an hour and departs from the Bellefonte Train Station, and Santa visits every car during the trip to the North Pole (aka, Pleasant Gap Fish Hatchery).
There are a ton of festivals occurring all over Centre County this season, but one of the most kid-friendly is the Bellefonte Victorian Christmas on Dec. 13-14. Stop by for another visit with Santa, plus carriage rides, shopping, crafts, story time, and more.
Pennsylvania Military Museum Kids Day Dress Up and Discover
Stop by the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg on Kids Day, Nov. 23, 12 to 3 p.m. Children of all ages can try on field and head gear from the museum’s education collection. Additional education stations will be set up throughout the museum for fun activities. Pamilmuseum.org
Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania
The best place in Centre County for school-age kids to learn and play simultaneously, Discovery Space is on North Atherton and features over 45 interactive exhibits that encourage play, exploration and experimentation. Discoveryspace.org
You know kids will dig into a bowl full of ice cream regardless of the weather outside! Get your perennial favorite, or order several different kinds and have your kids weigh in on the age-old debate — what is the best creamery ice cream? (Note that I've recently switched my alliances to the new White Out and I'm sticking to it... until a new favorite comes out.) creamery.psu.edu
Get Air Trampoline Park
It may be the only time you ever actually enjoy watching your kids bounce off the walls (had to get that joke in there somewhere!). Get Air Trampoline Park is a fairly new addition to the Happy Valley scene. You can find deals on their website, so grab some friends, make sure you have the right socks, and head over for some active, indoor fun. getairsports.com/state-college
We all know that a cave's temperature stays the same no matter what's going on outside, which means that Penn's Cave is going to require nothing more than a light jacket all year round to enjoy their 54 degrees. Take the 45-50 minute tour in the only cave in Pennsylvania on the National Register of Historic Places, and see glittering stalactites and stalagmites that have formed flowstone, curtains, cascades, and draperies against a background of pillars and gigantic columns. Weather permitting, you'll also get to explore Lake Nitanee outside the cave. pennscave.com