Two parents sent messages to me today asking for spring break boredom-busters. Apparently their kids woke up and lasted about an hour before clamoring for “something to do.” Is it the weather? The lengthening daylight? Or, maybe the calendar snuck up on us this year, leaving many people, myself included, a bit lacking in the planning department (I know, I know, hard to believe)?
Whatever the reason, I’ve collected a nice basket of interesting, affordable, and age-diverse activities that should handle the Whaddle-I-Doers in your house. Feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comment section, below, or chime in on our Facebook page or Pinterest board titled “Kid Fun.” Savor this week off with your kids; before you know it, they’ll be back in school counting the days until summer vacation.
AKontheGO’s Top 20 Activities for Spring Break Fun:
1. Take a hike! Campbell Tract, Kincaid Park, Chester Creek, or Abbott Loop Community Park/lower Hillside trails in Anchorage all offer excellent terrain for kids. Write a story about the experience when you get home. Smaller children might enjoy drawing or painting pictures of their hike, too.
2. Go skating. Anchorage Parks and Rec offers Family Skates on Saturday afternoons, 1-3 p.m. This weekend is the Mascot Skate, so come dressed as your favorite. Free.
3. Learn some science. The Alaska Museum of Science and Nature in Anchorage, the Museum of the North in Fairbanks, and the Islands and Ocean Center in Homer are super examples of our natural world. Prices and operating hours vary.
4. Get directions. REI Anchorage is offering a class on 3/13 for those wanting to learn about the proper use of a map and compass. Great for ages 10+, this is an excellent class for scouts and outdoor enthusiasts. $20/REI members, $40/non members. www.rei.com/stores/16
5. Museum Without Walls? Sure thing, thanks to the Fairbanks Children’s Museum. They’ll be at the Delta Community Center on 3/16, and Tok school on 3/17 for two fabulous, hands-on afternoons of experimenting and creating. $5/child, $15/family. www.fairbankschildrensmuseum.com
6. Go for a spin. Older kids will enjoy saddling up the bikes and heading out with Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage for a 2nd Saturday Winter Bike Ride tomorrow. Meet at Goose Lake, 11 a.m. and bring helmets, water, snacks, and a solid mountain bike.
7. See why ice is nice. Ice Alaska continues in Fairbanks through the end of March. Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, this is an excellent example of ice art, ice playgrounds, and ice slides. Totally fun for the whole family, but dress warmly! www.icealaska.com
8. Tweet, tweet! Take notice of returning birds in your neighborhood. Visit a local park or just walk around the block, and count the different sounds you hear. This is also a great time to remove feeders, clean them, and store until next winter. The bears will wake up any day!
9. Mush on. The Alaska Zoo’s Iditazoo is happening tomorrow from noon-4 p.m. Follow the trail, complete the activities, and learn about the vital role of sled dogs to Alaska’s history. Free with regular zoo admission. www.alaskazoo.org
10. Create! The Anchorage Museum is hosting a Hands On Spring Break series next Tuesday-Friday from 2-4 p.m. Free with museum admission, kids of all ages will do crafts, listen to music, and do a little springtime dancing. www.anchoragemuseum.org
11. Gather ’round the fire. Wynn Nature Center in Homer is hosting a Family Bonfire on Sundays from 3-5 p.m. Join Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies staff for an afternoon of marshmallows, nature information, and snowshoeing. www.akcoastalstudies.org
12. Become a naturalist. Eagle River Nature Center is in full swing with their springtime list of programs and classes – plus, the trails are in great shape for a little skiing or hiking. www.ernc.org
13. Picture this! Do your kids like to take photos? Create a list of outdoor-themed items or places, and take a hike around town, shooting photos with a phone or camera, then return home and have a slide show. Great for older kids.
14. Hop on board. The Alaska Railroad heads northward on Saturday, southbound on Sunday. Why not take a trip to Talkeetna for the weekend and enjoy some mountain hospitality?
15. Shred or sled. Drive to Hatcher Pass and take a wild sled ride near the Independence Mine area, or, if the snow is too icy, take a ski around the mine’s townsite and revel in the view of the Mat-Su Valley. Bring your own food and drinks, but do consider a stop at the Hatcher Pass Lodge for a hot chocolate. www.hatcherpasslodge.com
16. Alyeska Resort has more than 600 inches of snow, and more is likely on the way. Ski for a day or two, then snuggle up in the Hotel Alyeska for dinner by a roaring fire. Ahhhh. www.alyeskaresort.com
17. Bear with it. We’re hearing that Joe Boxer, Mr. Bear, himself, has decided to wake up at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Head south along the Seward Highway to Portage, and say “good morning!” www.alaskawildlife.org
18. Go up, way up. Arctic Valley Ski Area offers family-friendly atmosphere combined with backcountry skiing, riding, and snowshoeing. And the view…!
19. See the Law in action. The Alaska State Trooper Museum on 5th Avenue in downtown Anchorage is a little piece of Alaska law enforcement history. Open M-F 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. noon-4 p.m. Free, but do consider a donation.
20. Just relax. AK Kid and I spent the morning at our local Kaladi Brothers coffee shop, sipping hot chocolate and playing National Parks UNO. Doesn’t matter where you hang out, just do it together. Go out to breakfast and have a treat, visit the local bookstore or library, wander the secondhand store. There’s fun to be had, everywhere!