Not only is spring just around the corner – starting on March 20 – but spring break for Washoe County School District students is right around the corner, too. That two-week stretch goes from March 21 to April 1 this year, and includes Easter on March 27. Many families head out on vacation over spring break or send their children to week-long camps, but for those looking for a few family-friendly activities to hit up in town during this time, a list of activities is provided below.
1. Bike at the Sparks Marina: The two-mile path around Helms Lake, at the Sparks Marina, gives children and adults plenty of opportunities to bike, walk or try out a scooter or even another wheeled device. Families can bring their dogs for a stop at the dog park, or check out some of the birds, including waterfowl and the American Coot. It also can be fun to stop at the volleyball courts to hit a volleyball back and forth or to allow the kids to play there in the sand, which feels great on the feet when it has been warmed in the sun. There are bathrooms to use, and to top it off, a terrific playground to stop at in one corner.
2. Explore the Nevada Discovery Museum: Whether it's to see the new Monster Fish exhibit, on display through April 24, or just to climb up the 'cloud' staircase or play in the water way on the bottom floor of the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, plenty of fun is sure to be had by children and adults alike. Because the museum's hours differ depending on the day, it may be best to check out the calendar on the museum's website for specific times before heading out. However, hours are extended from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday evenings and admission also is half-price at that time. (Additionally, there are a wide range of themed camps that have been scheduled over spring break at the museum, including Dandy Dinos and Hollywood Scientists, but more information, including cost, can be found on the museum's website.) The museum is closed on Mondays.
3. Hike at Galena Creek Regional Park: Yes, there is a kids camp, for those 8-12, scheduled at Galena Creek during the last week of spring break, but there are plenty of other ways to get into the park and have family fun without any cost at all. The Galena Creek Nature Trail and the Interpretive Trail are both located starting close to the visitor center, off the south side entrance to the park, and promise plenty of sightings from lizards to birds. It's also fun to check out Marilyn's Pond, although this does require a hike or drive to North entrance. And, although there is no food for sale at the park, there are plenty of places to picnic, and this can give both kids and adults the opportunity to become familiar with the park's often-seen Steller's Jays. The park is open every day, but the visitor's center is only open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
4. Roller skate at Roller Kingdom: For those times that the weather seems questionable or the kids may just have a lot of energy to expend, a trip to Roller Kingdom, on 7th Street, may be in store. It's hard to say what might be appropriate as far as day and time to go because there are so many different roller-skating session options that are available, including Wacky Wednesdays and Family Night Thursdays. Roller Kingdom's website provides a breakdown of scheduled costs as well as admission fees, but a special rate for families is available on Family Nights.
5. Play tennis at the Reno Tennis Center: This center, at 2601 Plumas Street, features 16 hard courts for players of varying abilities. The courts are open year round and open play is available, although it may be best to call ahead, at 775-689-2975, to reserve a court, at a fee of $1 per person. That said, there also are plenty of courts within the city that are open year-round. These includes two courts at at Dick Taylor Memorial Park in the northeast, two courts at Manzanita Park in the southwest and four courts at Barbara Bennett Park in the downtown area.
6. Hop on the Ferris Wheel at Scheels: While heights may not be of interest to everyone, they can definitely be fun for children with an unencumbered spirit. The Ferris Wheel at Scheels can't be missed since it is so centrally located in the middle of the store and is 65 feet high and has 16 cars. $1 tokens for the ride can be purchased at one of the register areas at either side of the store, but this should be done before families get in line for a ride. And the fun does not have to stop at there! Scheels also has two, 16,000 gallon aquariums containing either fresh or salt-water fish, an old-time shooting gallery that is on the second floor (tokens can be bought from a machine nearby) and an 800-square-foot wildlife mountain, also on the second floor, that showcases various wildlife species in taxidermy form. A visit to Gramma Ginna's Restaurant and Fudge Shop for a bite to eat or a bit of fudge can wrap up this family adventure.
7. See the exhibits at the Nevada Museum of Art: Not only did the Museum just launch a new exhibit --"Horses in the American West" on March 5th -- it also has a spring break camp called "Fun with Clay" ($155 for members) scheduled during the first week of spring break. Families who otherwise just want an hour or two perusing the museum with their children can pay $10 admission for adults and $1 for children 6 to 12. Two other current exhibits on display include "The Beautification Machine" by Andy Diaz Hope and Jon Berson and Daniel Douke's "Extraordinary," which provides actual physical reproductions of real-life things, like an iMac computer box. The museum is not opened on Mondays and Tuesdays.