In the new year, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation has a full menu 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 joined 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

two kids skating at Oly on Ice in Olympia
Located in Olympia’s Isthmus Park, Oly on Ice is a seasonal ice skating rink that is open to the public through January 16. Photo courtesy: Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

Located in Olympia’s Isthmus Park, Oly on Ice is a seasonal ice skating rink that is open to the public through January 16. Whether practicing jumps and twirls on the ice, or sipping hot cocoa from the sidelines, Oly on Ice is bound to provide a dose of winter fun. Special events and performances during the remainder of the season showcase local performance groups, non-profits, and community organizations. A full calendar of events, rink hours, and online ticket reservations can be found on the Oly on Ice website.

This winter, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation will also be offering recreational day trips to frosty locales. Participants over the age of 12 can take a trek through the Snoqualmie National Forest on a Snowshoe Trip on February 4. Residents 14 and over can hit the slopes this winter, during the White Pass Ski and Snowboard Day on February 12.

Winter Recreation in Olympia for Young Children and Families

Trail Time for Tots is a weekly outdoor playtime geared toward children 2 to 5 years. Alongside their parents or guardians, participants will be guided through local trails at Squaxin Park in Olympia. Trail Time for Tots will meet on Tuesdays beginning on January 10. Participants will engage 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 nature and interact with other adults with young children,” says Genevieve Becker, facilitator for Trail Time for Tots.

two kids out on a trail with Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation
For the youngest residents of Thurston County, exciting activities abound. For 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 who are looking to get more active alongside their little ones aged 18 months to 3 years, Adult & Tot Gymnastics helps young participants to learn new skills in a fun and creative class. Each session will include music, socializing and tumbling.

Another offering through the City’s partnership with Black Hills Gymnastics is Kindernast Gymnastics, for children ages 3 to 5 years. This course can serve as an introduction to the sport of gymnastics for young athletes. Both courses meet on Tuesdays beginning on January 3.

Youth and Teen Activities from Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

Outdoor Adventures is a chance for children ages 8 to 12 years to explore the different landscapes of Squaxin Park, including beaches and hiking trails. Participants may also play outdoor games, learn wilderness skills and connect with their peers. This activity meets on Tuesdays starting on February 7.

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

Bricks 4 Kidz is partnering with the city to offer a range of courses for ages 6-14 that will take place at the Olympia Center. Through Coding Class: Movie Maker, participants will hand craft figurines and use the programming language, Scratch to help create their own film. EV3 Robotics, LEGO Minecraft Class and LEGO® Class: Superheroes will allow participants to build, program and play.

Looking ahead to warmer months, registration for 2023 summer camps opens at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 4 and to help make summer camp activities more accessible for all Olympia families, there are scholarships available. The priority scholarship assistance application deadline is February 10.

Adult Recreation Courses, Activities and Athletics in Olympia

In the winter and spring season, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation is hosting adult community sports leagues, including 4 on 4 volleyball and basketball. January 3 is the registration deadline for both leagues.

For school age children, the new year can offer plenty of winter recreation opportunities to learn a new skill, spend time outdoors and stay active, this includes activities like Outdoor Adventures. Photo courtesy: Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

For winter basketball, games are played at gyms in the Olympia area and are a great way to get wintertime exercise and engage in friendly competition. Each season contains eight games, and each game is officiated by referees. Ed Elze, a long-time team captain within Olympia’s community basketball leagues, says that the participation in these basketball teams is centered around having fun with a group of peers.

“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 just continues to be a lot of fun. That’s what I would encourage other people to do as well.”

For anyone 18 or older, Beginning Yoga is suited to a range of skill levels, including those who have no prior yoga experience. Participants will have a chance to practice strength and flexibility exercises while also working toward a more serene state of mind. Courses meet on Wednesdays at Yoga Yurt, with the first class on January 18. Combined Prenatal Yoga and Postnatal Yoga classes are also available for new or expecting parents and caregivers. Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga classes meet on Thursdays at True Self Yoga beginning January 5.

Qigong is offered at the Olympia Center on Tuesdays starting on January 24. Qigong is available to participants aged 15 and over and includes low impact movement, focus and breathing exercises that can help promote relaxation.

Another way to get active in the new year is through dance courses that are available for a range of ages and experience levels. The Olympia Dance Squad is for children aged 5 to 14 and as a part of the squad, participants will have the opportunity to learn multiple dance genres.

people learning Taiko Drumming at Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation
After the holidays, Olympia residents may want to learn a new skill, musical instrument or sport. And the winter recreation programs available through Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation allow residents to find an activity that best suits their interests. Photo courtesy: Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation

For adults and teens, dance courses are taking place 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 skill set in the new year, Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation is offering music courses including Beginning Guitar, All About Guitar Chords, Taiko Drumming, Yes, You Can Play the Ukulele! and Bluesin’ Up the Uke.

This winter, the City’s partners at Sensory Tool House are offering courses that help those 18 and over to learn more about neurodiversity and how sensory systems play into employment opportunities and daily life. This includes the course Neurodiversity – Understanding 8 Sensory Systems & Impact, on January 9 and Neurodiversity – Advocating in Employment on February 6.

Lauren Howard, Director of Resources for Sensory Tool House says that these courses can be helpful for both neurodiverse individuals as well as parents and educators. “We’re looking at the global sensory systems of a person and what those sensory needs can be.”

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


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