From swimming to singing, here’s how to entertain the kids

Winter break begins in Hood River County as early as Dec. 19 — for students at Mid-Columbia Adventist School. Horizon Christian and Hood River County School District students will officially begin their vacations Dec. 24.

There are a variety of programs and events suitable for children as young as infants and as old as teenagers — although not necessarily at the same time — in Hood River, Cascade Locks and Parkdale, as follows:

Aquatic Center

The pool’s winter schedule runs through Feb. 20, with weekly $1 swims on Fridays from 6-8 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.

Additional open swims are scheduled Dec. 26-28 and Jan. 2-4 from 1-5 p.m. Cost is $3.50 for kids and seniors in-district and $4.50 out of district; $4.50 for adults in district and $5.50 out.

The Aquatic Center is located at 1601 May St. For more information, call 541-386-1303.

History Museum of Hood River County

The History Museum’s current exhibit, “Engineering Highway 30: Artist’s Dream / Engineer’s Nightmare” runs through Dec. 31. And if you haven’t been in a while, the museum has several new elements and smaller exhibits that may entertain the kids. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission fees apply. For more information, call 541-386-6772.

Hood River County Library District

There are lots of regularly scheduled and special programing over the holiday break for all library sites over the next couple of weeks, including Baby/Toddler Story Time at the Hood River site on Dec. 20 at 10:30 a.m. sharp. The first 15 minutes are dedicated to developing literacy skills and the rest of the time, the children are free to socialize and play with books and musical instruments. For older kids, story time will also be held Dec. 20 from 10:30-11 a.m. and consists of movement, singing and stories.

If you go WAAAM, take a couple of right-turns past vintage planes and cars and hands-off collections of military and myriad collections to find a separate room full of hands-on wonders.

In the all-ages Learning Center, route planes to the airstrip from the miniature control tower, climb inside a submarine, drive a car or motorcycle or plane or helicopter ... and watch a video featuring Gary Fisher, a WAAAM volunteer and automobile restorer who, with teams of friends, created the submarine, plane, car, helicopter and other crafts from spare and disparate parts.

It’s a place of imagination and hands-on play. Even small adults might fit inside the submarine — made from an old propane tank, it’s an accurate replica known to fool even Navy veterans.

The Learning Center is for families, and a parent or guardian must remain with kids.

— Kirby Neumann-Rea

Parkdale’s bilingual story time is Dec. 21 from 10:30-11 a.m., with stories, songs and rhymes in Spanish and English. Note: There will be no story time meetings in Hood River on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3 and in Parkdale on Dec. 28.

There will be solstice parties at the Hood River (7-9 p.m.) and Cascade Locks (6-8 p.m.) sites on Dec. 21. See Happenings Pick of the Week, page B3, for details.

Teens, take note: The Hood River Library’s “Winter Break Movie Marathon” is from 3-5:30 p.m. Dec. 28-29. Enjoy snacks while watching “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” respectively.

All events are free.

Columbia Center for the Arts sing-along

A holiday tradition at CCA is the Dec. 24 Von Trapp Family Sing-Along from noon to 3 p.m. Watch — and sing along with — the film “The Sound of Music.” The event is free.

Note: CCA will be closing on Dec. 24 at 3 p.m. and remain closed on Christmas Day. The center’s after-holiday gallery sale is scheduled for Dec. 26-29, and it will close again Dec. 30-Jan. 3.

Advent Concert Series

The last in Riverside Community Church’s Advent Concert Series is Dec. 21 at noon, and will feature the bell choir from Valley Christian Church, as well as the Barley Draught Band performing traditional Irish music. The concert is open to all and free to attend.

Columbia Gorge Dance Academy performance

Columbia Gorge Dance Academy will present “Alice in Winterland” on Dec. 22, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Hood River Middle School auditorium.

In keeping with a tradition, admission is by donation of canned food or other items to be donated to the FISH Food Bank.

Hood River Hobbies

The hobby shop has two regularly scheduled clubs: Pokémon Club from 4-5 p.m. on Tuesdays, and Magic Club from 4-5 p.m. on Fridays. Drop-in fee is $5, and parents must register kids ages 8-14. Loaner decks are available for both games. For more information, visit

The annual Gorge Rocket Club build and launch happens Jan. 1 beginning at 11 a.m. at Hood River Hobbies, with rocket launch to follow at Westside Elementary.

Transportation is not provided. There is a $10 supply fee for the build, and a $15 annual launch club fee; register at Hood River Hobbies or through Community Education.

Hood River Hobbies sponsors the Indoor RC Flying club on Saturdays starting on Jan. 5 at May Street Elementary School, in the gym.

Cost is $15 for the season, which runs through Feb. 23, or $5 to drop in. Registration is at Hood River Hobbies or through Community Education.

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