Theres the 12 days of Christmas, and then theres the 12 days of winter school break. Twelve days in which your children need something to do. So weve got 12 days of solutions.
Got a young sports fan? Consider an afternoon or evening at the Chick-fil-A Classic, featuring some of top-rated high school basketball players in the country. It runs through Saturday at Richland Northeast High School, 7500 Brookfield Road, with games starting early in the afternoon. For a schedule, visit www.chick-fil-aclassic.com.
Historic Columbia Foundations holiday house tours run through Dec. 30. Step back in time and see homes decorated as they were in the 19th and early 20th centuries. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. TuesdaySaturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. 1616 Blanding St. $3-$6; historiccolumbia.org.
Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens Lights Before Christmas is open 6-9 p.m., but its closed Dec. 24-25, so this is your last chance before Christmas. (Despite the name, it stays open through Dec. 30.) 500 Wildlife Parkway. $6-$8, and all zoo members can visit the show once for free; www.riverbanks.org
If you need more lights, Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park is open on Christmas Eve. The lights are on from 6-10 p.m. 5605 Bush River Road. $10 cars, $20 for 15-passenger van and $35 for buses; (803) 772-3903 or www.icrc.net
Got a kid with a new bike? Try it out on the paved paths along the rivers Riverfront Park, at the end of Laurel Street in Columbia, the Cayce-West Columbia Riverwalks at Alexander Road and Meeting Street in West Columbia, or Saluda Shoals Park at 5605 Bush River Road.
EdVenture Childrens Museums Snowville exhibit has a 25-foot-long slide and a carpeted hockey rink. Theres also exhibit pieces about polar bears, Mount Everest and the Arctic. You can even hurl snowballs. 211 Gervais St. $10.50-$11.50; (803) 779-3100 or www.edventure.org
Let the kids burn off their extra energy at the temporary ice rink set up by at Boyd Plaza in front of the Columbia Museum of Art. It will be open until Jan. 6. Rink hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1-9 p.m. Sunday. Corner of Main and Hampton streets. $6-$10; (803) 545-3100
The boardwalk trail at Congaree National Park (100 National Park Road, Hopkins, off Bluff Road) and the recently resurfaced trail around the lake at Sesquicentennial State Park (9564 Two Notch Road, Columbia) are both just the right combination of nature and effort (a little more than two miles) to keep kids interested and wear them out.
Make it a museum day: Winter Fest is going on at the South Carolina State Museum, 301 Gervais St., Columbia, while the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum next door features Conflict Zone: A Groundbreaking Look at War and the Columbia Museum of Art, corner of Main and Hampton, features Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade 1940-1950.
Its New Years Eve all day, so why not celebrate 2013 early? EdVenture Childrens Museum will host New Years Eve at Noon on Dec. 31. The event, which boasts the only ball drop for kids, begins at 9 a.m. 211 Gervais St. Free with museum admission, $10.50-$11.50; (803) 779-3100 or www.edventure.org
Sleep late, eat Hoppin John and watch football. USC plays Michigan at 1 p.m., and there are games on TV through midnight.