In a previous article we wrote about the Top 5 Places to Visit at Lake Tahoe Before You're 5. As kids reach the age of 5 (and older), we think the following Winter activities are worth considering. Depending upon the age, ability and interest of your child, some activities may seem more exciting than others.
A great family friend reminded us recently that, sometimes, parents are the least well-suited to teach their children a new activity. (This brings to mind my dad trying to teach me to drive, in a Model A Pick-Up Truck. Another story.) We've listed some really wonderful ski school programs at Lake Tahoe that are a truly fun way for kids to learn to ski. Proper instruction and a fun learning experience will make a difference for years to come. Make sure to dress right. There's really nothing that will end a day on the slopes quicker than a cold child!
Full-Moon Snow Shoe Hike
Snow shoeing under a full moon is one of the most mystical experiences I've ever had. You can see your surroundings almost as if it's daytime. The moon looms large and glorious overhead, casting shadows onto the snow. Don't be intimidated if you've never snowshoed; it's really not that tough. Unless there is a lot of deep fresh powder, kids shouldn't find it much more difficult than taking a hike. For some added assurance, take a guided snow shoe hike; you'll find them listed on our calendar on February 6th through 9th and March 6th through 9th.
When I was a kid, growing up the San Francisco Bay Area, my family made regular trips to Lake Tahoe. In the Winter, we couldn't wait to go to the local hardware store to buy a sled and slide down a hill behind our house. While I still love homemade sledding runs, recently a friend treated our family to a day of tubing on a groomed tubing hill. WOW! That was so amazing.We were surprised to find a rope tow that pulled us up the hill as we each sat in our sledding tube. My husband and I were even more surprised to find that our kids, ages 3 and 5, were able to manuever the entire process quite well.I can still picture each of our kids' faces as they launched down this perfectly smooth run with curves and a fun bank at the end. My husband and I were delighted to find resort employees at the top and bottom of the run to assist our kids (ok, and us). This saved us from having to "man" the top and bottom of the hill ourselves. We've listed the best groomed sledding and tubing venues at the lake...try it you might like it.
What a great way for kids to gain confidence. Scaling an indoor "mountain face" that is "really high", while benefitting from the safety of a harness and ropes. The "I did it" look is worth more than I had imagined.
Often described as a "high tech treasure hunt" geocaching is a really great adventure. It can become a passion. Armed with a gps device that you can rent at a geocaching venue (like Northstar's), if you don't already have your own, families enter longitude and latitude coordinates to find hidden treasures. This is a really terrific way to do something "cool" together as a family.Check out the geocaching video to learn more about this fun activity you can do virtually anywhere in the world.
Don't make the mistake of thinking museums are, as our kids would say, "Borrrrrrring." Visiting Lake Tahoe museums can be a lot of fun for your family to enjoy together. To mention just a few...Children's museums are predictably good fun for kids. While the Kidzone museum, in Truckee, is designed for kids as old as 7, the Northern Nevada Children's Museum has fascinating exhibits for kids up to 14 (and older).The Tahoe Maritime Museum is a real treasure. (Check out our video too) They offer a children's activity center, where our kids made their own wooden sailboat and launched it in a little "pond" of water. They also show kids' movies on Sundays. If you have any interest at all in boats (wooden boats in particular), Lake Tahoe History, or engines, you'll be delighted with what you discover here.
Now this is a true mountain Winter adventure. Dogs, sleds, whoosh, giggle, it's really a kid's dream come true.
While I've been downhill skiing since I was 5 years old, I hadn't cross-country skiied until recently. What fun! We took our kids with us and they loved it too. Since we were learning, there was a bit of falling and getting up involved. Make sure to dress right to stay warm. Tahoe Cross-Country offers a fun service: They'll deliver your lunch to you out on the cross-country track. Enjoy the fun warming huts with hot chocolate too.
This is another confidence building adventure. Whether you take lessons together as a family, or cling to eachother and giggle, you'll enjoy the experience. Lake Tahoe has a good collection of ice skating rinks. You can skate for next to nothing a Northstar; five dollar skate rentals is all it takes.At Squaw Valley, you can ride the cable car to high camp and skate in front of one of the most beautiful views of Lake Tahoe around. Be sure to check out the 1960 Olympic Museum while you're up at high camp.
Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh! Now you can do more than just sing about it.