The eggnog is gone, you’ve already seen ZooLights and your kids and out-of-town visitors are beginning to grow tired of endless rounds of video game karaoke. What to do next?
Here’s a list of suggestions to get through the post-holiday slump and maybe whittle off some extra inches from the waistline at the same time. The activities fit varied ages, are close to home and are easy on the pocketbook as well.
Geocaching: Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS unit and then share their experiences online. It’s a great way to explore new places in the neighborhood. All ages can participate.
First-time geocachers: Visit www.geocaching.com, create an account and watch the two-minute video on the basics of geocaching.
Do a quick search for geocaches within your ZIP code and hit the road. As of the last search, there were 335 geocaches that came up within 5 miles of the 85284 ZIP code. That should keep the family busy for an indefinite amount of time.
Cache descriptions have ratings as to how difficult or easy it is to find them and contain GPS coordinates. Enter the coordinates in your GPS device to find the hidden geocache. When you find it, sign the logbook, and if it contains treasures, take an item and replace it. These are usually small, inexpensive trinkets. Return the geocache to its original location and log in your find online.
Rabbit Statues: Get a jump start on next year’s family photos at the large jackrabbit statues behind the shops in the plaza on the northwest corner of Mill Avenue and University Drive. These three bronze statues were created by artist Mark Rossi and are titled “Resting,” “Guard” and “Grooming.” There’s a warning not to climb the statues, however, you can touch them and take photos. The three statues stand 8-, 12- and 14-feet high and weigh about 1,000 pounds each.
Swimming with Santa: Take a swim with Santa and thank him for his hard work at Kiwanis Park’s heated, indoor wave pool. Mrs. Claus will be on hand at this event as well, telling stories during swimming breaks. Local companies and restaurant gift certificates will also be raffled off to participants.
Admission for the event is $6 for children ages 2-12 and $8 for ages 13 and older the day of the event. Children under the age of 8 must have an adult with them within an arm’s length at all times while in the water. Register at www.tempe.gov/kiwanis or call 480-350-5201.
Batting Cages: Also found at Kiwanis Park are 10 lighted batting cages. This can be a great way to blow off a little post-holiday stress and aggression even if family members are not baseball players. It might even open up some family stories about the time great-grandpa went to the world series or how Dad’s timely hit saved the day for his team.
Cages are open from 4-7:30 p.m. on Fridays and noon -4:30 on Saturday and Sundays. Tokens are $1.25 each, with each game providing 14 pitches.
Fishing: Again, a great activity for those family “tall tales” of who caught the biggest fish. Visitors from the Midwest or other areas may have special fishing tips to tell Arizona natives. Fishing spots include Desert Breeze Park, Tempe Town Lake and Kiwanis Park.
Before you go, remember that ages 14 and older must have a valid Arizona Fishing License to cast a line. Fishing licenses can be purchased at any Arizona Game and Fish office, at most fishing supply stores or sporting good stores. The lakes are stocked with rainbow trout during this time of the year. If family members can’t stand the thought of hooking a trout, consider paddle boat rentals, available at Tempe Town Lake and Kiwanis Park.
Good luck and remember that although guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days, these memories will last forever.