Ready for a few more hours of daylight? The solstice happens this weekend. From a walk through Tryon Creek Park to learn the science behind the solstice and swimming with Santa to planting magic beans for easy and unique gifting, Portland has super fun and festive activities to keep your family busy all weekend. Read on for our top picks. Conestoga Winter Wonderland Holiday Festival

photo: Conestoga Aquatic Center

West Side 

Swimmin’ in a Winter Wonderland 
Santa Claus is making a special trip to spend the evening at Conestoga Aquatic Center. Enjoy stories with Mrs. Claus, a candylane walk, North Pole playground, holiday crafts, cookie decorating and a visit and photo with Santa. Cinderella will be playing on a big screen in the swimming pool, so bring your swim suits. Pre-registration is recommended, though a limited number of walk-in registrations will be accepted. Fri., 6:30-8:30 p.m., $7/child (adults free), All Ages. Event details.

Winter Solstice Party
Celebrate the shortest day and longest night by learning about the science behind the solstice with a guided forest walk, followed by Dutch oven treats and crafts. Sat., 4-6 p.m., Free. All Ages. Event details.

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Holiday Stories, Cookies and Prizes, Oh My!
Stop by Jan’s Paperbacks for a holiday themed story time with cookies, prizes, including a stuffed Rudolph, free books and goodie bags. Plus, receive 10% off all new children’s holiday books. Sat., 11-11:30 a.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

East Side

Where’s Winter? A Holiday Musical
It would seem that everything is falling into place with the changing of the seasons. The squirrels have gathered their nuts, the foxes are getting their fluffy, winter coats and the toads are getting sleepy. Everything is ready for Mother Nature to turn the magical Season Wheel and get Winter started, but it seems that something’s missing. Where’s Winter? is a sweet story about friendship, honesty, good intentions and the importance of the seasons. Sat., 3 p.m and 7 p.m., $5-$8/person, All Ages. Event details.

Magic Beans and a Kids’ Club Christmas Party
Plant beans that sprout into a message just in time for the holidays to give as a gift or keep for yourself. Post-project, celebrate with cookies and punch. Advance registration recommended. Sat., 11-11:30 a.m., $5/person, All Ages. Event details.

What’s your plan for the last weekend before Christmas? Let us know in the comments below!

–Suzie Ridgway