Almost everyone looks forward to the holidays.
Kids are out of school, some parents have time off from work and houses fill up with holiday guests.
But after a few days it can all go south.
Kids are bouncing off the walls, parents are pulling out their hair and visitors are wishing they had booked an earlier flight home.
Prevent house-bound blues by staying active over the holidays.
Here are some tips to keep parents sane, children active and visiting family wanting to come back next year:
1 Slip and Slide
It can be fun for the whole family. Take advantage of Nanaimo's winter wonderland conditions and hilly terrain and go tobogganing. Ride old-school on a large piece of cardboard covered with a garbage bag, use the kid's plastic outdoor swimming pool, an inner tube or the newest of inventions to get down the slopes. Places to go: Bowen Park, Nanaimo Curling Club, Calder Road, Quarterway Elementary, Mountainview Elementary and Rutherford Elementary
2 Figure 8
Grab a scarf, tuque, a warm pair of mittens and head to a rink near you to spin the day away. Take advantage of Nanaimo Parks and Recreation's holiday skating schedule from Dec. 20 to Jan. 4. www.nanaimo.ca or call 250-756-5200 for information.
3 Take a dip
There is something for everyone at this huge indoor playground. Surf the waves, ride the river, leap off the diving boards, count lengths, relax in the hot tub, sweat in the steam room or sauna or sit back and watch the kids (if they are more than eight years old) from the dry deck. Admission for children is $2.75, Adults $5.25 and a family day pass (maximum two adults and three children) is $10.50. 750 Third St., 250-756-5200.
4 Jump around
This 8,000 square-foot indoor playground is a kids' paradise. The massive play structure, ping pong and air hockey tables, private party rooms, toddler section and 80-seat cafe keeps children entertained for hours. Parents or caretakers can relax in the cafe with a clear view of the whole facility. The menu has something for everyone and parents who need to get some work done can hook up to Jumping Jiminy's wireless Internet for free. Admission is free for adults and prices range from $4.25 (children aged 10-23 months) to $9.25 for kids aged 4-12. There are discounts for three or more children. Located at #400-2980 Island Highway North, 250-729-0999.
5 Tour of lights
It's definitely worth the drive to see the Christmas light display that runs almost one kilometre along First Avenue in Ladysmith. If you want to stay more local, roll along Candy Cane Lane (McGirr Road), to see the neighbourhood's effort to get in the Christmas spirit. Other addresses to check out are 6037 Breonna Dr., 365 Howard Ave., and 4311 Jingle Pot Rd.
6 Standing ovation
Nothing quite captures the imagination more than live theatre. The Chemanius Theatre Festival is the best place to experience captivating, professional performances and there are shows on throughout the holidays. Having Hope at Home is a tearfully good comedy, which runs until Dec. 29. Or wait for Rumpelstiltskin, a production for all ages, which runs from the Dec. 20 to Jan. 3. Watch for Family Fun nights with snacks and games. 9737 Chemainus Rd., Chemainus. 250-246-9820.
7 Puck drop
Frank Crane Arena plays host to the 2009 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge on Dec. 29 and Jan 4. Hockey fanatics can capture other games at Strathcona Gardens in Campbell River, the Comox Valley Sports Centre in Courtenay, the Cowichan Valley Arena in Duncan, Oceanside Place in Parksville and the Alberni Valley Multiplex in Port Alberni. 250-756-5200.
8 Movie mania
Sometimes it is just nice to get out of the house for a couple of hours. Don't wait outside at the ticket booths to buy your movie tickets. Go straight in and get them at the counter when you order your movie treats. Cineplex, 213-4750 Rutherford Rd. (North Nanaimo Town Centre), 250-729-8000. Avalon Landmark, Woodgrove Centre, 6631 North Island Hwy, 250-390-5021.
9 Treasure trails
Put on some waterproof boots and burn off some energy in Nanaimo's beautiful parkland. Westwood Lake, Morrell Sanctuary, Neck Point Park, Piper's Lagoon, Harbourfront Walk and Colliery Dam offer nature-lovers the opportunity to get some fresh air and a few hours of peace from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
10 Christmas Express
There are only a few days left to ride the Christmas Express steam train at the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan. Take a ride through the enchanted forest, write and mail a letter to Santa Claus, walk through a plethora of displays and soak up the Christmas spirit all in one place. Tickets are $5, children under-2 are free. 2892 Drinkwater Rd., Duncan. 250-715-1113.
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