What to do during Thanksgiving Week? Kids’ fun, this way …

GET ON BOARD Polar Express early enough and score a seat in the view car aboard one of the historic rail cars operated by Mt. Hood Railroad.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
GET ON BOARD Polar Express early enough and score a seat in the view car aboard one of the historic rail cars operated by Mt. Hood Railroad.

For youngsters, the fact that there is no school all week, along with a big Thanksgiving dinner, and the prospect of snow on the mountains (be optimistic!) are enjoyable enough aspects to the last week of Thanksgiving.

But just in case they’re looking for things to do, here are some other fun things going on in the community.

Neon mini-golf at Immanuel

Hood River’s only full-size indoor “Glow in the Dark” 18-hole Mini-Golf Course is open to the public for the next two weekends at Immanuel Lutheran Church, located at Ninth and State streets.

The totally neon-lit mini-golf course offers 18 unique and entertaining holes that will be a fun challenge for all ages. Cost is $5 per person. All proceeds go towards Immanuel’s middle school and senior high youth ministries.

Dates are Nov. 25, 5 to 8 p.m. and Nov. 26, 2 to 8 p.m., and Dec. 2, 5 to 8 p.m. and Sat. Dec. 3, 2 to 8 p.m. For more details go to www.ImmanuelHR.org.

Library activities

Nov. 22 — 4 to 6 p.m., Hood River, Make Your Own Thanksgiving Placemat Art Project. Make a place at the table by decorating your very own Thanksgiving placemat. Supplies provided and cookies to enjoy. Bring your own family photos if you’d like. Each placemat will be laminated to stand up to the spills.

Nov. 23 — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Cascade Locks, Thanksgiving Art Activity. Make colorful snowflakes and enjoy cookies and a cup of hot chocolate.

Hood River Aquatic Center

The pool is closed on Thursday, but lifeguards will be on duty for extra open swims, 1-3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Annual Turkey Trot fun run

The Mosier Twin Tunnels Turkey Trot happens Thursday, Nov. 24 — Thanksgiving Day — at the Mark Hatfield West Visitor Center Historic Columbia Gorge Highway Trail from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Choose from 3K, 5K or 12K options. Runners and walkers are welcome. Registration is from 8:30-9:30 a.m., with a short Kids Fun Run beginning at 9:50 a.m. See main listing for details.

‘Polar Express’ gets rolling

Mt. Hood Railroad’s “The Polar Express,” inspired by the book of the same title by Chris Van Allsburg, started 2016 service on Nov. 12. Santa and his helpers greet passengers at the North Pole and then board the train, where each child is given the first gift of Christmas — a silver sleigh bell. Chefs aboard each car lead passengers in singing Christmas carols on the ride back to Hood River. This year, a new North Pole village has been built just south of Van Horne Drive in Pine Grove.

Service runs through Dec. 23 on select dates, with departure times at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Exact dates, fares and excursion times are available by visiting www.mthoodrr.com/the-polar-express-train-ride/ or calling 800-872-4661.

Polar Express Train Rides are licensed by Rail Events, Inc. on behalf of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Inc. Since 2005.

Take a hike

United States Forest Service encourages the public to enjoy two of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area’s popular hiking trails .

The first — Eagle Creek Trail on the Oregon side of the Gorge — dates back to the early days of the Forest Service, traversing public lands that are part of the National Forest System. Carved by hand from a cliffside starting in 1916, it has provided 100 years of recreation to campers at Eagle Creek, which itself was the first developed campground in the young Forest Service. What’s striking about this trail is its natural landscape, a forested river canyon that has remained largely unchanged in a century.

The second trail, Cape Horn, leads hikers past a series of overlooks on the Washington side of the Gorge, roughly across the Columbia River from Multnomah Falls. It offers an eastward glimpse into the Columbia’s rolling river canyon as it passes through the Cascades. Parts of this landscape nearly became a subdivision, but a desire to protect its views played a role in inspiring the designation of the Columbia River Gorge as a National Scenic Area. Today, its amazing vistas are an experience that can be shared by all. This trail is striking for its diverse landscapes: country lanes and curious goats, majestic forests, screes, and ecologically restored lands. Cape Horn illustrates the promise of the National Scenic Area as a unique form of protected area and the possibilities that are available when landscapes are protected by balancing them with sustainable human use. Although the pathway to protecting one of the most popular overlooks in the Gorge was not always easy, diverse groups committed to making it a reality, offering inspiration for what’s possible in the next 30 years.

Use the hashtag #LeaveItGorgeous as you celebrate and follow Leave No Trace practices to sustain resources for future generations.

NOTE: Even on a “short” day hike, remember to read and obey signage, stay on marked trails, bring water and some energy snacks, dress in layered clothing, charge up your cell phone, and tell friends or family where you are going.

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