on Thursday, January 14, 2016
I will be honest here…I was REALLY wishing for snow before Christmas. I wasn’t looking forward to giving my shovels and snow blower some activity, but I was looking forward to snow. I was, however, looking forward to wintertime activities that involve snow. I wanted to break out sleds and skis and snowshoes. I was looking forward to trying out a fat tire bicycle, too. So as luck would have it, we have snow!
We got in the spirit of winter over the school holiday break, and Zay, my daughters and I checked out some of the awesome activities people dig about the season in Waterloo.
While he may have looked like Bambi as he tried ice skating for the first time, Zay had an absolute blast at Young Arena during public skating. Lunch time skating is available every Tuesday and Thursday at the Arena. Skating is also available weekends, evenings and during holiday breaks as the activity schedule allows. You’ll see all ages and skill levels on the ice, so it is a great time for both beginners like Zay and my daughters to those who have more experience and love the opportunity to get some exercise and have fun on the ice.
We are incredibly fortunate to have great parks in our community, too. Lori at George Wyth State Park told us that many people think the park is closed during the winter, but there are often as many, or more, park visitors when the snow flies. Both at George Wyth State Park and Hartman Reserve Nature Center, the trails – both paved and soft – offer great opportunities for snowshoeing and skiing. You’ll see many people out on the lakes at George Wyth ice fishing. And, the growth in popularity of fat tire bicycles means you’ll see many of them on the trails at both places, as well. The parks are both large enough that visitors have plenty of room to roam and it doesn’t feel congested.
Finally, we enjoyed one of my favorite winter activities: sledding. We picked Bontrager Park here in Waterloo (at the corner of Park Ln and W 9th St) the day we went and, as usual, it did not disappoint. My daughters and I had a great deal of fun. The hills are steep enough to get good speed and distance, but they’re not so long and steep that walking back up a bunch of times tires out little legs too quickly. We typically choose Bontrager when we go sledding, but Hope Martin Park is also a popular sledding destination. I’d love to hear other places we should check out, too. Please send me an email (email@example.com) or comment on the Travel Waterloo Facebook page under this week’s episode to let me/us know where else we should sled.
Getting outside to play in the winter may not always be on the top of your list, but I guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself when you’re participating in any of these activities. I’ll see you on the ice or the sledding hills!
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Correction: In this episode, we mentioned that Young Arena was the only ice rink within 90 miles of Waterloo. There is also an ice rink located 57 miles south of Waterloo in Cedar Rapids.
- Aaron Buzza, Waterloo Convention & Visitors Bureau