The Staycation Plan, Winter Break Edition

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For all you students and teachers who are worried you lack exciting adventures this winter, don’t fret, here is a guide to some Portland winter fun.  

If you are a mildly energetic winter-breaker, the Portland-metro area’s first open-air ice skating rink will open on Dec. 18. The rink will be part of the Winter Village (at Orenco Station Plaza in Hillsboro). Admission is $12 and skating sessions will be happening every 90 minutes, starting at 10 a.m., 12 a.m., 2 p.m., etc. If outdoor activities are not your thing, why not try something in a more mild environment, like skating on the indoor rink at Lloyd Center (public skate times vary, but generally start at 10 a.m. over the break)? At either location, make sure to bring good socks, or you will run the risk of getting blisters!

A group of kids playing dodgeball at a Sky High Sports Location (Photo: Sky High Sports The Trampoline Place)
A group of kids playing dodgeball at a Sky High Sports Location (Photo: Sky High Sports The Trampoline Place)

While ice skating has its dangers, the next activities cater even more to adrenaline junkies. If you want to pick the danger up a notch, why not go and try some gymnastics or dodgeball? Round up some friends, and head over to Sky High Sports in Tigard. There you can enjoy not only trampolining, but you can also play the ultimate game of trampoline dodgeball. With a softer surface to land on, you can take your dodging abilities to a new high, but you must “remember the 5 D’s of dodgeball: Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge.”

For those who want to take the danger one step further, here is one final suggestion. If you are too young to legally sign things for yourself, or if your parents just aren’t cool enough to let you go sky diving, there is an alternative that doesn’t involve forging any signatures. iFly lets you experience falling 13,000 feet through the air without having to jump out of a plane. Through the use of a wind tunnel, they can actually simulate skydiving. The new iFly location was opened in Tigard in October. The websites for this indoor skydiving adventure explain that the experience “creates true free fall conditions.” For $69.95, a flyer can have two flights.

An iFly flight in progress. (Photo: iFlyWorld.com)
An iFly flight in progress. (Photo: iFlyWorld.com)

If you prefer a more laid-back break, and don’t want too strenuous of an adventure, here are some ideas for you. The first recommendation would be to go to Zoo Lights. Although the Zoo may not seem the most “teen-friendly” place, there is fun to be had if you bring a jacket, gloves, and a camera. You can take photographs with bokeh, where you capture points of light that are out-of-focus. If your camera allows, you can also use a slow shutter speed to create cool light trails (consider asking Nance Leonhardt for other photo tips).

For the folks who prefer lying back and watching Netflix, here are some movie recommendations that will get you out of bed and out of the house. This will make your parents happy, while you remain almost as lazy as always. “The Martian,” with Matt Damon, involves a mission to Mars where Damon’s character becomes stranded. Although a lot of the scenes involve Damon on his own, he manages to make this fantasy/science fiction film so funny (Kristen Wiig helps him out) that it has fallen into the Best Comedy or Musical category for the Golden Globe awards.

For those students that begin to miss history class over the break, another recommendation is to go see a Cold War drama with Tom Hanks, called Bridge of Spies (For U.S. History students, it is understandable if you pass on this, as this might be a spoiler).

A path at the Oregon Zoo illuminated during Zoo Lights. (Photo: OregonZoo.org) ​
A path at the Oregon Zoo illuminated during Zoo Lights. (Photo: OregonZoo.org) ​

In the case of snow, the homebodies can stay indoors and perhaps experiment with making potato latkes (in a rather belated acknowledgement of Chanukah). The fearless sledder, on the other hand, could instead decide to build a jump. This would require a sled, a piece of wood, a big hill, an empty street, some neighbors, and, of course, enough snow.

Whatever you decide to do over break, be sure to experiment and enjoy the holidays!