When it comes to most family holiday vacations, parents are lucky if they can find a sledding hill near their hotel so they can at least tell their kids, “there’s something there for you to do.”
But winter in Central Oregon was meant for kids and at Sunriver Resort, the Traditions holiday celebration is kid-focused family fun from day one. It all starts on Friday November 19th with the resort’s “Grand Illumination” which features Central Oregon’s largest outdoor light display. Next to the main lodge is one of Santa’s North Pole annex buildings where kids can work on holiday craft projects, get their faces painted, and enjoy a petting zoo.
With Victorian carolers filling the early evening air with the sweet sounds of the holidays, it doesn’t get any more family-friendly than that. But at Sunriver Resort, that’s just the beginning of a long holiday month.
The resort’s annual “Elf Tuck-Ins” start the following Friday, November 26th. One of Santa’s helpers will visit your lodge room to read your little ones a holiday tale. The elves will leave behind a goodie bag to whet your child’s whistle before Santa’s big day. The tuck-ins happen between 6 and 9 p.m. through Christmas Eve, cost $25 to $45 (depending on the day) and reservations must be made in advance so be sure to order yours before the elves are booked! (They’re pulling double duty, remember.)
Kids wanting to surpirse mom and dad with their own special holiday creation under the tree will have plenty of time to make something magical at Santa’s Workshop. From hand-painted mugs to fused-glass ornaments, the children will have a blast turning their creativity into a family keepsake.
For the stuffed animal aficionados, Traditions also offers the chance to create your own Teddy Bear at the Bear Factory. You can hand stuff the bear and dress him up any way you’d like and maybe attach a note for mom and dad to put the little guy under the tree to keep an eye out for Santa’s visit.
Beyond that there’s gingerbread cookie decorating stations, the 19th annual Gingerbread Junction fundraising event featuring hundreds of edible masterpieces, magic show and tons more events at Fort Funnigan. With ice skating at The Village at Sunriver, one-horse open sleigh rides all month long and a sledding hill just a short drive from the resort, Sunriver is an amusement park of play for your kids (and yourself) this holiday season.
Beyond the resort, when the wind-chill dips, you don’t have to stay locked in the lodge. The U.S. Forest Service offers guided snowshoe or Nordic tours near Mt. Bachelor that will enlighten you to the winter wildlife and majestic peaks of the Central Oregon backcountry. Oh, and of course there is actually some great sledding as well – either on the tubing hill at the Mt. Bachelor or Hoodoo ski areas or the hill at Wanoga Sno-Park.
But if it’s just too cold for your liking, the High Desert Museum is a great place to warm up with an interactive family experience.