By Theresa Goffredo Herald Writer
Family-friendly holiday activities pretty much kick off this weekend, including two popular events that will make a trip into Seattle well worth the drive.
“Winterfest” is five weeks of free and affordable festive entertainment at Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., starting today with some activities running into January.
Returning this year is the kid-favorite Winterfest Ice Rink, along with the Winter Train &Village.
Here’s a partial list of Winterfest events and activities. A complete list can be found at www.seattlecenter.com.
Winter Train &Village: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Dec. 29. A turn-of-the-century village and train and members of the public can take a turn at driving the miniature locomotive. Suggested donation $2.
Winterfest Student Showcases: Nov. 28 through Dec. 29. With more than 100 performances, Student Showcases provides seasonal entertainment.
Winterfest Ice Rink: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday Nov. 25 through Jan. 1. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, $2 children ages 5 and under. Includes skate rental. Cash only.
Ice Sculpting: 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays starting Nov. 26 and through Dec. 31. Each Saturday, an ice master carves a different design.
Black Nativity’s Total Experience Gospel Choir: 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Under the direction of Pastor Patrinell Wright, the choir sings, shouts, soars and stomps with the sounds of gospel, opera, jazz and blues.
Matt Baker Comedy Stunt Show: 12:30 p.m. Dec. 2 and 4. An alternative comic, Baker combines comedy with physical stunts and juggling.
Also: Diving Santa &Live Music happens Saturdays and Sundays, starting Saturday and running through Dec. 18 at the Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, Seattle.
Come see Santa diving in the Window on Washington Waters exhibit at noon and 3 p.m.
Live musical performances by local groups from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. including Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra String Quartet, Seattle Girls’ Choir, Chief Sealth High School Chamber Ensemble, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra Horn Trio and Horn/Trumpet Duet and jazz by the Ray Larsen Group and Carmen Rothwell Group.
Also, the Seattle Aquarium is holding Winter Break Fantastic Fishtival from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 where families are invited to participate in hands-on activities to learn more about the aquarium’s fish, birds, tidepool creatures and marine mammals.
Each day a different sea animal is highlighted including wolf eels, puffins and rockfish. Cost is included with aquarium admission and no reservation is necessary.
The aquarium’s admission gate is open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the exhibits closing at 6 p.m. Holiday hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. with exhibits closing at 4 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve. Closed Christmas Day. Admission is $19 for adults; $12 for youth and free for children 3 and younger. Call 206-386-4300 or go to www.seattleaquarium.org.