"I 'm bored. What are we doing today?"
No parent likes to hear those words but they often are spoken during school vacations. This is true even around the holidays, because once the gifts are revealed, many youngsters are ready for something else. An empty day looms and the kids don't want to just sit around. They want fun, excitement and, maybe, some adventure.
We offer a few suggestions for activities -- indoors and out -- to make the winter vacation more fun for the family. Before you visit a place, check the website for up-to-date information; there often are discount coupons and special offers online as well.
GLIDE ON ICE
■ Ice Skating on the Lake, 30 Strada di Villaggio, Henderson, offers a floating ice rink at Lake Las Vegas that will be open daily through Jan. 29. School holiday hours are noon to 9 p.m.; on school days, the rink is open 3 to 9 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for children and $8 per person for groups of 20 or more, and includes skate rental and a full-day pass (564-4766, www.montelagovillage.com/events-activities/ice-skating-on-the-lake/)
■ Las Vegas Ice Center, 9295 W. Flamingo Road, Suite 130, has a "Winter Wonderland" program running through Jan. 2. The rink is closed on Christmas Day, otherwise sessions run 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m., with shorter hours Christmas Eve (until 3:15 p.m.), New Year's Eve (until 6:30 p.m.), New Year's Day (12:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.) and Jan. 2 (9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.). Free beginner Learn to Skate programs will be offered from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday , Tuesday and Dec. 29. Admission is $9 for adults; $8 for kids ages 5 to 18; and $5 for children younger than 5. Prices include skate rental (320-7777, www.lasvegasice.com).
■ SoBe Ice Arena at Fiesta Rancho, 2400 N. Rancho Drive, North Las Vegas, is a 31,000-square-foot NHL regulation facility. It will have extended hours through New Year's Eve, open 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. today, Friday, Monday-Wednesday and Dec. 29 and 30; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 31; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Christmas Day. Admission is $6.50, no fee for children age 3 and younger. Skate rental is $3 (631-7000, www.fiestarancholasvegas.com).
■ Winter in Venice at The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South, offers 30-minute skating sessions for ages 7 and older by reservation though Jan. 8. Sessions are at 11 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.; and 12:30, 1:15, 2, 2:45, 4, 4:45, 5:45, 6:45, 7:45, 9, 9:45 and 10:45 p.m. Admission, including skate rental, is $14.95, $9.95 for locals, and free for ages 7-12 accompanied by a Grazie member or adult with Nevada ID (414-4334, www.venetian.com/Winter-In-Venice/).
TAKE A RIDE
■ Adventuredome at Circus Circus, 2880 Las Vegas Blvd. South, boasts 25 rides and attractions for children and adults, including a corkscrew roller coaster and a flume ride. Hours are 10 a.m. to midnight through New Year's Day except for New Year's Eve when the attraction will close at 10 p.m. The cost is $5 to $8 for individual rides, $26.95 for an all-day ride pass and $16.95 for an all-day junior ride pass for children 48 inches tall or less (794-3939, www.adventuredome.com).
■ Sagebrush Ranch, 7103 Rebecca Road, offers horseback rides by reservation. A Horse Camp for kids will be offered Monday through Dec. 30. Trail rides and lessons also are available. The cost is $160 for the camp, $40 for a 90-minute lesson (classes for 3- and 4-year-olds are available for $30 for 60 minutes) and $35 per hour for trail rides. A New Year's weekend (Dec. 31-Jan. 2) special offers a one-hour ride for a party of four for $105 (645-9422, www.sagebrush-ranch.com/).
TALK TO THE ANIMALS
The Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park, 1775 N. Rancho Drive, is home to a variety of endangered cats, Barbary apes, a chimpanzee, ostriches, emus, talking parrots, wallabies, flamingos, large exotic reptiles and exotic fossas, the largest predator on the island of Madagascar. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Admission is $9 general admission, $7 for children ages 2-12 and seniors 62 and older, and free for kids younger than 2 (647-4685, www.lasvegaszoo.com).
PUT SKILLS TO THE TEST
■ King Putt Indoor Mini-Golf, 7230 W. Lake Mead Blvd., is an 18-hole indoor course that uses black light to glow in the dark. The motif is the jungle so, as you play, you're working your way through a space filled with exotic animals that glow in the black light. Holiday hours are noon to 10 p.m. today, Monday through Wednesday and Dec. 29; noon to 1 a.m. Friday and Dec. 30; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Jan. 1; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 31. Admission is $8.50 adults; $7 students, military and seniors; children ages 3 and younger free with a paid adult. Admission includes scorecards, clubs and golf balls (823-1519, www.kingputtlv.com).
■ Pinball Hall of Fame, 1610 E. Tropicana Ave., features about 250 games on 1,000 pinball machines. A not-for-profit branch of the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club, the attraction exists to further the cause of pinball by offering everyone a chance to play. The organization also actively raises money for local charities -- $518,000 in 2011. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is free and more than half the games cost 25 cents to play. Children must be accompanied by an adult (597-2627, www.pinballhall.org).
SNEAK IN SOME LEARNING
■ Las Vegas Natural History Museum, 900 Las Vegas Blvd. North, features exhibits ranging from the Treasures of Egypt to the Engelstad Family Prehistoric Life Gallery. There are more modern examples of wildlife, too, including some live creatures. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Exceptions are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on New Year's Day; and it is closed Christmas Day. Admission is $10 general admission; $8 seniors, military and students; $5 for children ages 3-11; free for youngsters 2 and younger (384-3466 and www.lvnhm.org).
■ Lied Discovery Children's Museum, 833 Las Vegas Blvd. North, offers an educational twofer because it is across the street from the Natural History Museum. This award-winning attraction offers more than 100 interactive exhibits about science, arts and culture. Holiday hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, Friday, Monday through Dec. 30 and Jan. 2; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 31; closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Admission is $9.50 for adults, $8.50 for children ages 1-17; and free for children younger than 1 (382-5437 and www.ldcm.org)
■ Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd., offers visitors insight into plant and animal life in the desert through botanical gardens, museums (including the Nevada State Museum) and galleries. It is a certified wildlife habitat and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Kids who can't get enough of the yuck factor will enjoy the latest exhibit, "The Scoop On Poop," which explores every facet of poop. And this is nearly your last chance to see the exhibit, because it ends Jan. 8. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; closed Christmas Day. Admission ranges from $4.95 to $9.95 for Nevada residents and $10.95 to $18.95 for nonresidents; children younger than 5 are admitted free (822-7700, www.springspreserve.org).
ADD A LITTLE DESSERT
Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden, 2 Cactus Drive, Henderson, continues its annual 3-D Holiday Cactus Garden tradition through New Year's Day. There will be musical entertainment and visits from Santa Claus through Christmas Eve. Ethel M will provide 3-D glasses to enjoy the show. Visitors also can see how the chocolates are made in the factory. The display is open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily through Jan. 1. Santa Claus is expected from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. today, and musical entertainment will be provided from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is free (800-680-0150, www.ethelm.com).