Love it or hate it, we are on day two of Spring Break here in Hillsboro. Show of hands, who is ready for their kids to be back in school? Just me? Well, I can’t see the hands, so I am going to assume that there are some of you out there like me who are trying to rack their brains as to how to keep these kids busy for the remainder of the week. As it is not always possible to hit the coast or another state for the week, here are some ideas I had for those of you on the staycation train who are looking to find fun activities around town that won’t break the bank.
Walk it Off!
Hillsboro has some pretty fantastic parks for kids of all ages. Some of my favorites to visit when I want the kids to get out as much energy as possible are:
Griffen Oaks Park out in NE Hillsboro, which has multiple playgrounds for various ages, the Tyson Rec center for anyone looking to host a party, undercover picnic benches, and a baseball field.
Magnolia Park which borders Tanesbourne, close to the Whole foods, the spa we can’t go to when we have the kids (shedding tears over that one), and multiple and much needed coffee shops. Magnolia park has reservable picnic shelter, tables and Barbeques. The playground has a spray feature (not turned on during this season), chess tables, a half-basketball court, a tennis court, and a central lawn offer a range of activity options.
53rd Avenue Park is on…well, I think the name spells that out. It is in southern Hillsboro by the Insomnia coffee shop and Coyote’s bar and grill. What I love about the 53rd Ave park is how open it is. The kids can run around while I sit in one spot and I can see them wherever they go. 53rd Ave has a good sized playground, tennis courts, a field used for soccer and lacrosse, a basketball court, and a large water feature (also not turned on during winter).
Rood Bridge Park is on Rood Bridge Road, also in Southern Hillsboro, close to Hillsboro High School. It boasts a good sized playground as well, covered picnic areas, one with a fire place, tennis courts, and my favorite, nature trails. Rood Bridge park is perfect to go walking in, as you get to experience that feeling of being in the woods while being close enough to a potty (can you tell I’m a mom?!) for the kids. It is also a beautiful background for family photos.
For those of you who are not familiar with geocaching, it is like a high tech scavenger hunt. There is a free app you can install on your phone, made by Groundspeak that you can install. There is also the $9.99 version, which allows you a greater access to caches and logging them as you find them. A friend of mine introduced me to geocaching five years ago, and what I love about it is that it gets you outdoors exploring. Some of the funniest experiences and best conversations I have had have been geocaching with my friends and seeing the excitement on my kids’ faces when they find a cache. The app will show you if there are caches close by, and you can use the navigate feature to track them down. Caches range in size from micro (think really mini bison tube) to the large (ammo cans) to the creative (caches hidden in wooden logs, bird houses, etc). In each cache is a log book where you can write your name (real or geocache moniker) and sometimes there are trackables and trinkets you can trade for. Yesterday the kids and I adventured out to the new Orenco Nature Park, and we found two of the letterboxes hidden by the Hillsboro Parks and recs department. It is a ton of fun that you can have pretty much for free.
Shute Park Aquatic and Recreation Center (SHARC)
SHARC is fantastic for letting kids swim at a reasonable fee. I think for two kids and myself I paid somewhere around $15 as a resident, and that may have included a towel rental as well. Honestly I can’t remember. SHARC offers 3 pools, including one with a water feature dedicated to the littles, a waterslide, diving boards, a sauna, and a hot tub. SHARC also has swim classes that go on as well as other activities that include spin classes and the like. Recreational swim is from 7-9pm on weekdays, and on the weekend it is from 1-5pm.
In Hillsboro, our public libraries are located on Brookwood Ave (Hillsboro Main Library) and on 10th (Shute Park Library). Both locations are offering a variety of activities this spring break, including a Stuffed Animal and Pajama story time, Duck Tape Crafts for Teens, a Magician, spring walk, art, and yarn crafts. The Main Library also has an indoor sesame donuts and small coffee shop, while outdoors you can roam the pathways and view the ducks along Dawson Creek, while at the Shute Park location you have a large playground and various picnic areas. It is also across the street from SHARC. Whichever way you go, there are lots of fun activities to keep the kids busy for free.
Try a new Restaurant
Who doesn’t love food?? Hillsboro offers all kinds of restaurants, from American to Chinese, to Latino, to Hawaiian….well, you get the drift. If you want to try something a little upscale but doesn’t take too long (necessary as a parent), try visiting La Provence in Orenco, which boasts French cuisine, and a bakery. They also offer a Baracolat, which are sipping chocolates, a fancy word for hot chocolate. Not only do they offer a variety of sipping chocolates, but they offer a hot chocolate flight. A flight of chocolate people! How can that not make a spring break list? It’s a fun way to elevate the kids’ palates while on break.
What are you doing this spring break? What are some of the creative ways you are keeping your kids busy? I’d love to hear!!