Cooler temperatures don’t mean your family’s outdoor adventures have to end. A little snow and bare trees make for a nature-filled winter wonderland. For outdoor winter fun and exploration, look no further than your favorite Five Rivers MetroPark location. With 25 parks and facilities, there are family-friendly winter activities for all ages and interests. From skating at the MetroParks Ice Rink to snow-blanketed nature hikes, there’s no reason to be stuck inside during the winter months.
Snow day adventures
A fresh blanket of snow on the ground provides families with the perfect opportunity to explore nature that would be otherwise hidden by thick greenery. Limited foliage and fresh snow makes beautiful birds and mammals easier to spot. Taking a casual stroll along one of MetroParks’ many trails gets your family outside and moving, and allows children to experience the sights and sounds of nature during the wintertime.
“Being outside in nature is a great opportunity to explore teachable moments with your children,” says Doug Horvath, Education Coordinator for Five Rivers MetroParks. “Did you discover something new? Did you see an animal along the trail? These questions allow parents to start a dialogue with their children that will excite their curiosity about the natural world.” Plan your next winter hiking adventure at www.metroparks.org/hiking.
For those who want to put some speed into their trail adventures, cross-country skiing is the perfect way to experience nature while getting the heart pumping. Not only does cross country skiing provide your family with cardiovascular exercise, it allows children to practice balance and large muscle movement. Visit MetroParks’ paved trails or flatter hiking trails in Possum Creek and Carriage Hill MetroPark for cross-country skiing fun.
Arguably every child’s favorite winter activity, sledding provides classic snow day fun for kids of all ages. Bundle up and watch your children zoom down large rolling hills after a fresh snowfall in Englewood, Germantown and Taylorsville MetroParks.
Frozen family fun
Located in downtown Dayton’s RiverScape MetroPark, the MetroParks Ice Rink puts a twist on a winter tradition by offering outdoor skating opportunities. The rink is under a sheltered pavilion and gives skaters of all ages and skill levels an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with family. Open seven days a week through the end of February with special hours on holidays, the MetroParks Ice Rink is a must for families planning a winter outing.
Admission to the MetroParks Ice Rink is $7 per person, which includes access to the rink and skate rental. Dedicated rink-goers can purchase season passes for $40 to enjoy unlimited seasonal skating fun, and MetroParks Ice Rink gift certificates make the perfect stocking stuffer. After your skating session, cozy up with a cup of hot chocolate from the concessions area or visit the 2nd Street Market to enjoy delicious, local comfort food.
Grownups and kids who want to learn new skills and have confidence when they hit the ice are encouraged to register for skating lessons. Hosted by Five Rivers MetroParks, lessons are offered in late November and early January.
With so many special holidays throughout the winter, the MetroParks Ice Rink also hosts a variety of themed skating events. Create a new family tradition by lacing up your skates on Christmas and New Year’s, or let your kids stay up past bed time so they can enjoy a star-late skate. Adding themed music to the mix makes for great entertainment, so be sure not to miss your opportunity to skate to Top 40 Hits, Michael Jackson and Disney’s Frozen.
Holiday celebrations during the winter mean children spend a lot of time outside the classroom. Keep your kiddo’s brain engaged by participating in entertaining activities with an educational twist. Explore the grounds of Carriage Hill MetroPark and see the 1880s come to life with demonstrations, barn animals, a period family farm house and more. Be sure to stop by the Carriage Hill Riding Center to meet the horses and take a winter pony ride.
For more farm animal fun, visit the Edible Farm at Possum Creek MetroPark. Home to chickens, turkeys, rabbits, goats and sheep, the Edible Farm encourages families to learn more about agriculture and local food.
To learn more about Dayton Winter Outdoor Fun visit www.metroparks.org/winter.