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15 New Ways to Have Fun in the New Year

Highlighted family events and outings for January 2022

Nancy Chaney

Published on: December 28, 2021

Young girl enjoying the winter by making a snowman

January in the Pacific Northwest can be oh so dreary. We invite you to throw back the covers and brave the gray anyway. At parks, light shows, train shows and Lego shows, there is inspiration to be found, if only we’d put on our mittens and go find it. Here’s hoping for a healthy and normal 2022 for all! Happy New Year!

  1. Quick! Book your timed-entry tickets for one of the last two days of the marvelous Model Train Festival, back this winter at Tacoma’s Washington State History Museum. Admire five floors of amazingly detailed model train displays and chat with the expert enthusiasts operating them. Festival attendance is included with museum admission or membership and runs through Sunday, Jan. 2. 
  2. Frolic around the grounds of a nearby nature preserve searching for snow people, reindeer, mushrooms — and maybe a few real-life critters? — during Bloedel Reserve’s Winter in the Woods event. Book your timed-entry tickets for select dates through Sunday, Jan. 9. Admission $5–$20; ages 4 and younger free. 
  3. Everything is awesome at this winter’s “Awesome Exhibition: The Interactive Exhibition of Lego Models.” Book a time to cruise through Fisher Pavilion to admire some mega-size — and wonderfully intricate — Lego models. Build according to your own inspiration at hands-on building stations and add a section to the Lego snake. Through Sunday, Jan. 16. Tickets $15.50–$24.50. 
  4. Glide into your 2022 — smooth as ice — at outdoor pop-up skating rinks. Take to the ice at Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink through Sunday, Jan. 9; at Oly on Ice in Olympia through Monday, Jan. 17; and at Pacific Ice in Everett through Monday, Jan. 31. Book your skate session online and plan to spend $12–$16 per person; admission price includes skate rental. 
  5. Extend your holiday sparkle into January by walking the Tacoma Light Trail, a series of light-art installations set up around downtown Tacoma. Artworks will illuminate the dark and dreary (and otherwise) nights Dec. 31–Jan. 16, with special 6 p.m. performances at Tollefson Plaza on Jan. 1, 7–8 and 15–16. Free. 
  6. It’s harder to get motivated to head out into the wild in winter, as opposed to summer, but the results are the same. Washington State Parks entices your fam outdoors with two free-entry days this month, Jan. 1 and 17, when you don’t need to display a Discover Pass to park. Fresh air, tall trees and winter wildlife await. 
  7. If it’s time for preschool in your family, join ParentMap’s free Puget Sound Preschool Preview virtual event. “Visit” with dozens of local preschool providers to research the right fit for your family. Get tips from a session with local positive discipline expert Julietta Skoog and enter to win great prizes, too! Saturday, Jan. 8, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Free; preregister. 
  8. Get your tots started early on a steady diet of live music. Book your tickets to one or both Kindie West Music Series shows in January. Dani and the Bee get buzzy on Sunday, Jan. 9, and The Not-Its! rock the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse on Sunday, Jan. 23. Tickets $5–$10. 
  9. Marvel at the epic stunts performed on four giant wheels during Monster Jam. Favorite drivers Grave Digger, Megalodon, Scooby-Doo and others compete by racing, spinning, hopping and standing on two wheels. Catch the action at the Tacoma Dome Jan. 14–16. Tickets $20 and up. 
  10. Honor the life and further the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. by joining the Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition for the annual rally and march Monday, Jan. 17, as well as workshops and other events at Garfield High School. Free. 
  11. Join ParentMap and Dr. Ned Hallowell for the virtual ParentMap Live talk “In Praise of Learning Differences: Focusing on Strengths and Abilities.” Hear insights and tips to help you harness your child’s strengths and employ creative outlets. Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2 p.m. Sliding-scale fee of $0–$15. 
  12. Can you belly-laugh while learning Newtonian physics? You’ll want to book your tickets to find out. Science Circus employs some wacky props, such as bowling balls and unicycles, to illustrate the awesomeness of science. Your whole family will love it. Auburn Avenue Theater. Saturday, Jan. 22, 2 p.m. $10 per person.
  13. Explore the beautifully updated Seattle Asian Art Museum during free last Friday. See if you can find the rabbits pounding mochi or the shiny red bull. Then check out the hands-on art lab. Tickets are free but must be booked online. Friday, Jan. 28. 
  14. Don’t miss the eye-popping action as the Harlem Globetrotters, that legendary team of basketball tricksters, dribble into town to perform at the Showare Center in Kent (Thursday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.), Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett (Friday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.) and Climate Pledge Arena (showtimes are 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29). Tickets start at $26 per person. 
  15. Bundle up for a free, outdoor family date night, no registration required. Explore a Puget Sound beach alongside Seattle Aquarium beach naturalists during an evening minus tide. What fascinating critters will you spot with your headlamps? Saturday, Jan. 29, 7–9 p.m. 

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