Keep the kids busy |

Keep the kids busy

Caramie Schnell
Special to The Vail TrailSanta visits Millennium Bank

The great thing about the holidays: school lets out for winter break.

The stressful thing about the holidays: school lets out for winter break.

Not to worry – there’s plenty going on over the next two weeks to keep the kids busy. Starting on the east side of the valley and working westward, here are some ideas on what to do with the kids when school lets out Friday.

Vail Rec District knows that it’s tough to find things for the kids t do when they’re home for winter break. That’s why they host a School’s Out Camp during the entire Winter Break (Dec. 18 – Dec. 29). The camp, which is for children age 5 – 12, runs from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. every weekday during the break. The cost is $35 a day for Eagle County students. Every day there will be gym play, games, arts and crafts and a snack. Visit for more information.

Tucked in the loft above Subway in Lionshead is the Imagination Station, a children’s museum for children ages 2-12. Parent’s can bring their kids for art and science projects. “It’s a great place to use as a base for a family ski day,” says youth services supervisor Chad Young. “Parents can switch out parenting duties while the kids have fun.” Parents also can choose to drop their kids off for up to three hours at a cost of $10 per hour, per child. During winter break there are extended hours for Imagination Station. Check out for more information.

Another product of the Vail Recreation District is the Discovery Bunch, a weekly program for preschoolers. From 9 a.m. – noon, kids will listen to stories, create art projects and sing songs. For a full schedule, check out

If the thought of ice skating doesn’t make your child’s ankles buckle, then check out Dobson Ice Arena. Along with open ice skating sessions, the arena is hosting Chanukah on Ice from 6 – 8 p.m. on Dec. 18. The celebration will include a giant menorah lighting, buffet dinner, arts and crafts, latkes, donuts and more. Cost is $15 per person and includes skating and dinner. Call (970) 476-7887 to RSVP. Skate with Santa on Dec. 23 at the Ice Arena beginning at 6:15 p.m. Go to for more information.

An ice skating extravaganza called Oz on Ice begins at 6 p.m. on Dec. 28 and 29. Cost is $5 for children, $10 for adults and $25 for a family of four.

Millenium Bank is hosting the last of their free Santa workshops on Dec. 20 from 2 – 5 p.m. Children ages 2 – 10 are invited to come to the bank location in West Vail to take pictures with Santa, decorate picture frames, and enjoy hot cider, cocoa and holiday goodies.

Other ideas: free pond skating at the Vail Golf Course pond located between the ninth tee box and first green (no skate rentals available). The Vail Gymnastic Center is open for drop-in gymnastic classes for $10 per class. Call (970) 479-2287.

The Town of Avon launches their winter season with a free event called Icing on the Lake on Saturday, Dec. 16. The lake will be open for ice skating and $1 ice skate rentals will be available at the log cabin. A large tent will feature carolers and a brass trio. Nova Guides will provide children’s snowmobiles, Rocky Mountain Reindeer will be giving reindeer-drawn sleigh rides, and the Gourmet Cowboy will provide free chili. Face painting, a bonfire and hot chocolate and goodies will round out the events.

The Avon Rec Center is also hosting a winter break camp from Dec. 18 – 22, 27 – 29 and Jan. 2. “This is just like summer camp for kids. They come to the Avon Rec, go swimming, do arts and crafts, ice skating, play snow games,” said Danita Chirichillo, special events coordinator for the Town of Avon.

The camp ($36 a day per child) is for kids ages 5 – 12 and runs from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Bring on the games. Beaver Creek Resort Company and Brian Hall, president of Blue Creek Productions have paired to open a teen center called the Game Garage. The garage, set to open Dec. 15, is for kids ages 10 – 17 and located in the space behind the Dusty Boot in the St. James Building.

“Inside there will be pool table, foosball, air hockey, a bunch of video games, big screen TV, couch, all with a fun garage-style theme to it,” Hall said.

The garage is free to get in and there are minimal charges for the games, Hall said. The garage will be open from 3 – 9 p.m. and will be staffed.

“We tried to make it for the ‘tween’ age group that doesn’t have much to do,” Hall said. “We’re staffing it to make sure it’s a good, safe environment. It’s a good place for this age group to come, hang out, and have some fun.”

The ice skating rink in Beaver Creek plaza will also be hosting a figure skating series featuring local and amateur skaters. The first show is Dec. 27 and the second is Jan. 2. Both shows start at 6 p.m. and run around a half an hour, Hall said.

The resort also hosts Thursday Night Lights every week, a glow stick ski-down to music with a fireworks display afterwards. Guests who are intermediate skiers or above can participate. Register at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday’s at the Beaver Creek Ski School. For more information, call (970) 845-9090.

The Eagle Pool and Ice Rink hosts Kidz Night Out skate parties where kids ice skate in the dark with disco lights and music, enjoy games and win prizes. There is also pizza and punch for everyone. The evenings are themed; on Dec. 15 the theme is Christmas – dress up like Santa or one of his elves or reindeer. On Dec. 29 the theme is New Year’s Luau. Skate in your grass skirt or Hawaiian headdress. Kidz Night Out runs from 5:15 – 7 p.m. and costs $10 – $12 depending on skate rentals. Check out for more information.

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