School is out for Hood River County School District and Horizon Christian School students beginning Monday, Dec. 23 and running through Friday, Jan. 3. For students at Mid-Columbia Adventist Christian School, vacation begins Dec. 19 and runs through Jan. 2.
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 — countywide, as follows:
History Museum of Hood River County
The energy and exhilaration of sport, particularly the conditions typical of water sports, are difficult to capture in a museum setting. Nonetheless, through videos, photographs, and colorful gear, The History Museum virtually vibrates with the energy of the Gorge’s water scene in the exhibit “Water Sports in the Gorge,” running through December.
The museum is located at 300 E. Port Marina Drive and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 10 as well as serving military and their families.
For more information, visit hoodriverhistorymuseum.org.
Hood River County Library sites
Hood River County Library sites have multiple events planned.
On Dec. 20, the Traveling Lantern Theater Company presents “Scrooge” at 6 p.m. at Parkdale Elementary School. The event is free, and everyone in attendance will receive a small gift.
On Dec. 21, there are two events: The (Blank) Was Better Trivia: Star Wars at 4 p.m. (bring a phone or tablet to participate; snacks and prizes will be provided) and a 6 p.m. Solstice party (puppet show by Dragon Theater Puppets, art activity, refreshments and a small gift), both at the Hood River Library.
On Dec. 21 and Dec. 28, the Makerspace will be open at the Hood River Library from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Makerspace open hours are self-directed, with no formal lesson or instruction. Check in at the kids’ desk and fill out a short form. Use of the space is free, but donations to the Library Foundation will be accepted to contribute to supplies.
On Dec. 28, teens 11-19 can enjoy Teen Movie Night at 4 p.m. at the Hood River Library, with popcorn and snacks.
Baby/toddler and big kids story time happens 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays at the Hood River Library. Story time at the Parkdale Library is Fridays at 10:30 a.m., and at the Cascade Locks Library on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. — although note that the Cascade Locks story time will be canceled through the New Year.
For these and more events, visit hoodriverlibrary.org/events.
Play in the snow
Mt. Hood Meadows has partnered with Columbia Area Transit to expand Meadows’ seasonal shuttle service into the Gorge. The Gorge to Mountain Express makes stops along Highway 35 between Meadows and the Event Site. The service is free to encourage ridership. For more information, visit ridecatbus.org.
Teacup Sno-Park, located on Highway 35, offers more than 20 kilometers of varied terrain for Nordic skiers of all ages. Snowshoes are not allowed; dogs are also not allowed. An Oregon Sno-Park Permit is required. For more information, visit teacupnordic.org.
Cooper Spur Mountain Resort offers skiing, snowboarding, alpine instruction, a tubing center, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The ski area features a double chair lift and three rope tows servicing 10 ski runs. The resort is located at 10755 Cooper Spur Road, Mt. Hood. For more information, visit www.cooperspur.com.
Little John Sno-Park is limited to inner tubes and sliding discs only. No sleds, toboggans, snowboards, skis, snowmobiles, etc. Note: Read safety information posted on the information board at the snow play hill. Many serious injuries occur here due to unsafe behavior, according to the Hood River Ranger District. An Oregon Sno-Park Permit is required. Little John Sno-Park is 30 miles south of Hood River on Highway 35.
Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum
You know about WAAAM’s Second Saturday events and you know about its ever-expanding collection of antique cars and airplanes, but did you know there’s an 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. WAAAM is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day). Admission is $16 for adults and $7 for kids ages 5-18; kids 4 and under are free. There are also senior, veterans and active military rates.
WAAAM is located at 1600 Air Museum Road, Hood River. For more information, visit www.waaamuseum.org.
Head to the pool for $1 open swim times on Fridays from 6-8 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. There are additional open swim times at regular pool rates scheduled for Thursday and Friday, Dec. 26-27 and Monday, Dec. 30 from 1-5 p.m.
Note: The pool will be closed at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 24 and Tuesday, Dec. 31, and all day on Wednesday, Dec. 25 and Wednesday, Jan. 1.
The Aquatic Center is located at 1601 May St. Call 541-386-1303 or go to hoodriverparksandrec.org before visiting to check pool conditions.
Head to the Columbia Gorge Hotel on Wednesday, Dec. 18 for a reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Santa at 6:30 p.m. Free and open to all.
The Advent Concert Series at Riverside Community Church ends Friday, Dec. 20; the noon concert will feature Diana Beterbide and the Riverside Chancel Choir. This event is also free and open to all.
The Dalles-Wasco County Library also has a free music event on Dec. 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with Wayo Hogan. Enjoy Christmas and holiday tunes. The library is located at 722 Court St., The Dalles. More at wascocuntylibrary.com.
On Dec. 21, it’s the annual Columbia Gorge Dance Academy performance at Hood River Middle School, with “Alice in Winterland” at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. In keeping with tradition, admission is by donation of canned food or other items to be donated to FISH Food Bank.
There’s a Hanukkah Party on Sunday, Dec. 22 from 1:30-3 p.m. at the White Salmon Valley Community Library. All are welcome to this free event to learn about the holiday and its history.
Help those in need
Volunteer day at Columbia Gorge Food Bank, located in The Dalles, is Wednesday, Dec. 18 from 5-7 p.m. Help pack meal bags for people who may not have stable housing and are in need of ready-to-eat food that doesn’t require a kitchen. Kids are welcome. RVSP to email@example.com — and if you plan to bring a group, please let them know in advance. The food bank is located at 3610 Crates Way.
Volunteers are needed to help with the annual Hood River County Christmas Project to sort, pack and distribute food and gifts at the Community Building at the Hood River County Fairgrounds; register at hoodrivercountychristmasproject.com/volunteer. Volunteers can choose any task that remains on the sign-up page. There are multiple times between Dec. 18-21; tasks include everything from packing food and toiletries to cleaning up the Community Building at the fairgrounds.
Gorge Rocket Club launch
The Gorge Rocket Club will host its annual New Year’s Day launch at 11 a.m. on Jan. 1 at Westside Elementary School.
The cost is $15, cash only, which includes a building kit with engine. This is an all-ages event, but parents must accompany and supervise children.
The Gorge Rocket Club is an official National Association of Rocketry (NAR) club that is run by volunteers. For more information, visit gorgerocketclub.com.
First Day hikes
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department hosts its annual First Day hikes on Jan. 1. There are 37 hikes in 31 parks planned across the state, all guided by a park ranger or volunteer who will share stories about that park’s history, geology, wildlife and plants, said an OPRD press release.
All hikes are free and day-use parking fees will be waived at all participating parks on this day only. Register for these special hikes at bit.ly/ParkStoreEvents; registration is not required, but it helps park staff plan the hike and provides them with participant contact information should details change, said the press release.
There are two hikes planned in the Gorge:
- Deschutes River State Recreation Area: 9 a.m., meet at Oregon Trail kiosk.
- Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail: 1 p.m., meet at the Mark O. Hatfield East trailhead in the Mossier Twin Tunnels parking lot.
More information about participating parks, including maps and directions, is on oregonstateparks.org.