Horse-drawn hay rides in the city? Yes, it's happening at Seward Park. For five days, starting tomorrow, the park's Environmental Learning Center is offering 45-minute...

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Horse-drawn hay rides in the city? Yes, it’s happening at Seward Park. For five days, starting tomorrow, the park’s Environmental Learning Center is offering 45-minute rides around the park every half-hour from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Rides also will be offered Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The cost is $10 for adults; $6 for children up to 12.

You must register in advance: call 206-684-4396, or e-mail

Signs of the season

Last minute gift-givers, take note: King County’s Waste Free Holidays program is encouraging county residents to consider giving experiences, instead of stuff, as gifts.

Discounts of 15 percent to 50 percent are available on tickets, gift certificates and memberships for concerts, plays, sporting events, museum visits, restaurant meals and even massages. And this year’s program has been expanded to include Tacoma businesses.

Here’s how the program works: Each business offers an experience gift at a discount of 15 percent or more. Purchases can be made through Dec. 31 by contacting the businesses directly. Names of businesses and other details are posted online at, or call 206-296-4466.

In Seattle, senior citizens are invited to attend the Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens’ annual holiday open house from 2 to 4 p.m. today in room 250 of the downtown Alaska Building, 618 Second Ave. Information: 206-684-0500.

Can you help?

Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission needs 40 Christmas stockings stuffed with gifts for homeless youths up to age 18. Donations may be dropped off at the mission’s Women and Children’s Shelter at 503 S. King St., in the Chinatown International District. Financial donations also can be made at online. The deadline for the drive is Monday.

Getting around

When the bus tunnel through downtown Seattle is temporarily closed for retrofitting for light rail, buses will be rerouted onto downtown streets, necessitating turning Third Avenue into a transit-only thoroughfare, with no other motor traffic allowed during peak commute hours.

Tunnel work isn’t scheduled to start until September, but preparations are under way and will continue in the coming months.

A Web site — — has been set up that links to information on Sound Transit’s Central Link light-rail project. The tunnel is expected to reopen to buses by September 2007. Joint use by buses and trains is expected to begin when Sound Transit’s Central Link light rail service starts in 2009.

Here & Now is compiled by Seattle Times staff reporter Charles E. Brown and news assistant Suesan Whitney Henderson. To submit an item, e-mail or call 206-464-2226.