Get Open air, Get Energetic and Have Enjoyable This Winter By means of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

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IIn the New Year, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation is offering a comprehensive range of winter recreation programs for South Sound residents and families. From an afternoon at Oly on Ice to music classes and recreational sports leagues, the City of Olympia has teamed up with community partners to offer activities for a wide range of ages, interests and skill levels.

Oly on Ice and winter day trips through Olympia

Located in Olympia’s Isthmus Park, Oly on Ice is a seasonal ice rink open to the public until January 16th. Photo Courtesy: Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

Located in Olympia’s Isthmus Park, Oly on Ice is a seasonal ice rink open to the public until January 16th. Whether you’re practicing jumps and spins on the ice or sipping hot cocoa from the sidelines, Oly on Ice is sure to provide you with a dose of winter fun. Special events and performances throughout the remainder of the season showcase local performance groups, nonprofits, and community organizations. For a full calendar of events, rink opening times and online ticket reservations, visit the Oly on Ice website.

This winter, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation is also offering relaxing day trips to frosty locations. Participants 12 and older can hike through the Snoqualmie National Forest on a snowshoe tour on February 4th. Residents 14 and older can hit the slopes this winter during White Pass Ski and Snowboard Day on February 12.

Winter recreation in Olympia for small children and families

Trail Time for Tots is a weekly outdoor playtime aimed at kids ages 2-5. Along with their parents or guardians, participants will be guided through the local trails at Olympia’s Squaxin Park. Trail Time for Tots will meet on Tuesdays starting January 10th. Participants will take part in a range of outdoor activities, from learning about local plants to searching for shore crabs on the beach.

“People who are best suited for this class are people who want to get outside and learn about the outdoors and interact with other adults with young children,” says Genevieve Becker, presenter for Trail Time for Tots.

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There are many exciting activities for the youngest residents of Thurston County. For the little ones and families who want to spend time in nature, Trail Time for Tots meets weekly at Squaxin Park. Photo Courtesy: Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

For parents and guardians looking to get more active with their little ones, ages 18 months to 3 years, Adult & Tot Gymnastics helps young participants learn new skills in a fun and creative class. Each session includes music, socializing and tumbling.

Another offering from the city’s partnership with Black Hills Gymnastics is Kinderast Gymnastics for children ages 3 to 5 years old. This course can serve as an introduction to gymnastics for young athletes. Both courses will meet on Tuesdays from January 3rd.

Youth and Teen Activities by Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

Outdoor Adventures is an opportunity for children ages 8-12 to explore Squaxin Park’s diverse landscapes, including beaches and hiking trails. Participants can also play outdoor games, learn wilderness skills, and socialize with their peers. This activity will take place on Tuesdays starting February 7th.

For young learners interested in activities related to science, technology and robotics, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation is working with community partners to offer a range of STEAM-centric activities in the new year. Full STEAM Ahead empowers school-age kids to learn about science, technology, creativity and more through fun classes in Big Brothers Big Sisters My STEAM Lab. Classes begin on January 11th.

Bricks 4 Kidz is partnering with the city to offer a series of classes for 6-14 year olds, held at the Olympia Center. In the Coding Class: Movie Maker, participants will create characters and use the Scratch programming language to help create their own movie. EV3 Robotics, LEGO Minecraft Class and LEGO® Class: Superheroes allow participants to build, code and play.

With the warmer months in mind, registration for the 2023 summer camps will begin at 8am on Saturday, March 4th. Scholarships are available to make summer camp activities more accessible to all Olympian families. The application deadline for Priority Scholarship Support is February 10th.

Leisure courses, activities and athletics for adults in Olympia

During the winter and spring seasons, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation hosts adult community sports leagues including 4-on-4 volleyball and basketball. January 3rd is the registration deadline for both leagues.

For school-age children, the New Year offers many winter recreation opportunities to learn a new skill, spend time outdoors and stay active, including activities such as outdoor adventures. Photo Courtesy: Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

For winter basketball, games are played at gyms in the Olympic area and are a great way to get winter exercise and engage in friendly competition. There are eight games in each season and referees referee each game. Ed Elze, a longtime team captain in Olympia’s community basketball leagues, says participating in these basketball teams focuses on having fun with a peer group.

“We’ve had a lot of success,” says Elze. “But winning has always been secondary, staying active and doing it with a group of friends is still a lot of fun. I would encourage others to do the same.”

For anyone over the age of 18, Beginning Yoga is suitable for a range of skill levels, including those with no prior yoga experience. Participants have the opportunity to practice strength and flexibility exercises while working on a calmer mindset. The courses take place on Wednesdays in the yoga yurt, the first class takes place on January 18th. Combined prenatal yoga and postnatal yoga classes are also available for new or expectant parents and caregivers. Prenatal and postnatal yoga classes meet on Thursdays at True Self Yoga starting January 5th.

Qigong will be offered on Tuesdays at the Olympia Center starting January 24th. Qigong is available to participants from the age of 15 and includes gentle movement, concentration and breathing exercises that can help to relax.

Another way to get active in the new year is through dance classes, which are available for different ages and levels of experience. The Olympia Dance Squad is for children aged 5 to 14 and as part of the team participants have the opportunity to learn multiple dance genres.

People learn taiko drums at Olympia Parks, Arts & RecreationAfter the holidays, Olympians may want to learn a new skill, musical instrument, or sport. And the winter recreation programs offered by Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation allow residents to find an activity that best suits their interests. Photo Courtesy: Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

Adult and youth dance classes are held at the Olympia Center during the winter season, including Hawaiian Dance, Belly Dance, Basics of Cha-Cha and Salsa, Slow Dance Moves, One Step Foxtrot, Waltz and Rumba, Swing, Rock & Slide, Basic Ballet for Fitness and Fun and Introduction to Tap for adults.

For those hoping to expand their musical skills in the New Year, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation offers music classes including Beginner Guitar, All About Guitar Chords, Taiko Drumming, Yes You Can Play Ukulele! and Bluesin’ Up the Uke.

This winter, the city’s partners are offering classes at the Sensory Tool House to help people ages 18 and older learn about neurodiversity and how sensory systems impact employment opportunities and everyday life. These include the course Neurodiversity – Understanding 8 Sensory Systems & Impact on January 9th and Neurodiversity – Advocating in Employment on February 6th.

Lauren Howard, director of resources at Sensory Tool House, says these courses can be helpful for neurodiverse individuals as well as parents and educators. “We look at a person’s global sensory systems and what those sensory needs can be.”

To learn more about winter recreation options or registration information, visit the Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation website.

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