Like opening a book you’re looking forward to reading for the first time, a new year can bring with it excitement and endless possibility. Whether you’ve set a resolution for yourself to eat healthier, exercise more or save for the trip of a lifetime, now is the perfect opportunity to start fresh in 2021.
The winter months are traditionally light in Santa Clarita in terms of planned events, but the city of Santa Clarita’s Arts and Events division has been hard at work developing new recreational and entertainment offerings for residents. While some of these online events have long been resident favorites, such as scavenger hunts, there are also new opportunities to learn, relax and have fun this month.
Recently, the staff at The Main in Old Town Newhall announced the start of a brand-new event series titled “Food Sessions,” which is shown on Facebook and YouTube on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. Not only will you discover new recipes to try this year, but you will also learn how to prep and cook meals, uncover tips and tricks and much more in a fun and interesting way.
Santa Clarita’s public library branches and community centers continue to offer family-friendly activities and crafts that you can do with your children, including the very popular “Tote 2 Go” program, which consists of a tote bag filled with things to do as a family after school, in the evenings or on the weekends.
The online doors to the Virtual Rec Center remain open when you visit santa-clarita.com/VirtualRecCenter. The city’s Recreation and Community Services staff routinely posts new videos aimed at getting residents of all ages outdoors, especially students. Kids can also get credit for physical education requirements by taking part in games like hula hoop toss and soccer bowling. While these videos are available online, the goal is to give you and your family an opportunity to enjoy healthy activities together, whether you’re indoors or outside.
Sports programming is not the only thing available in the Virtual Rec Center. Nature lovers will find a wealth of information not just on local hiking trails but also California State Parks, as well as virtual tours of breathtaking sites from around the world. (Remember, for everyone’s safety, our hiking trails are for non-motorized use only.)
The adventurous will enjoy virtual hikes of California parks with Google Treks — the same technology available in Google Maps’ “Street View” — giving you 360-degree views of some of the most popular hiking spots in our state. All ages will love exploring the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and you can also keep tabs on tigers, elephants and more thanks to cameras that stream video from the San Diego Zoo. What a wonderful way to enjoy nature from the convenience of your home.
The city’s new Agents of Discovery program furthers the theme of exploration and encourages residents of all ages to learn more about Santa Clarita while also getting out and exercising. By downloading the free Agents of Discovery app onto your smartphone, you will be able to take part in missions that test your knowledge of local plant and animal species, public art pieces and more.
Users can currently undertake a mission exploring Central Park, and a new adventure will soon launch for hikers at one of my favorite places in the Santa Clarita Valley — Rivendale Park and Open Space at Towsley Canyon. After you complete one of the city’s missions, you can connect with the Adult Sports Office at Central Park to receive a prize while supplies last. Take the challenge and go for a hike with your family.
The new year gives us the opportunity to set goals for ourselves and plan how we want 2021 to go. I encourage you to keep your physical and mental health your top priorities and take advantage of everything you can do in Santa Clarita. Please remember to stay in touch with friends and family members who might be isolated. Encourage them to take advantage of these online activities. You’ll be helping them, and our entire community, to stay mentally and physically in good shape. Thank you, Santa Clarita, for all you do. Let’s look for a better 2021.
To learn more about Santa Clarita Can Do’s, please visit santa-clarita.com/CanDos.
Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].