Winter Wonderland: What to do this season

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to retreat to the couch. There are plenty of ways to get your heart rate up and the blood flowing. Look no further than our very own region for your share of winter fun. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Headwaters Park: Headwaters Park in downtown Fort Wayne is the place for ice skating. Families, couples and anyone who enjoys some good old-fashioned exercise can come out for a good time every winter. After skating, warm up with a hot chocolate from the on-site vendor. You can rent skates or bring your own. Either way you’re in for a good time. For more information and hours, visit www.fortwayneparks.org.

Pokagon State Park: Located in Angola, this winter wonderland offers cross-country ski rental, sledding, ice fishing and a twin-track toboggan run. The quarter-mile, refrigerated toboggan, which runs at speeds of 35-40 mph, promises to be a thrill. The toboggan run operates weekends from the Friday after Thanksgiving through February, with extended hours during the Christmas holidays. For hours, more information and to take a virtual ride, visit www.tobogganrun.com.

Chain O’Lakes State Park: Chain O’ Lakes has four trail systems for your enjoyment. In the winter all trails can be used by cross-country skiers, with the park office doubling as a warming house on weekends with 3 inches of snow. Hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Visit http://www.in.gov for details.

ACRES Land Trust: Bundle up and head for a hike at one of ACRES’ many preserves in northeast Indiana. Cross-country skiing is also encouraged. ACRES protects natural areas in northeast Indiana, southern Michigan and northwest Ohio, which means you and your family can enjoy the beautiful, natural world for years to come. Visit acreslandtrust.org for location details.

Franke Park: If you never sledded as a child, now is your chance. Franke Park’s hill makes it a popular destination. There are two sides to the hill. One side is smooth and fast; the other side will launch you airborne, so exercise caution. Visit www.fortwayneparks.org for more information about the park.

Swiss Valley: Although not in northeast Indiana, Swiss Valley in southwest Michigan is worth the drive if you’re serious about downhill skiing or looking to start. Swiss Valley entices folks to come ski from all over southern Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, with 11 runs, a 225-vertical-foot peak and seven lifts, including two quads and one triple. The hills are also great for snowboarding. Take advantage of their rentals and lessons. And be sure to warm up in their cozy lodge afterward. Visit skiswissvalley.com for information.

Fort Wayne: Enjoy the great outdoors and stay motivated with the motivation of fellow runners. Three Rivers Running Company hosts a running group each Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. This group meets year-round and is suitable for all ages and abilities. Call 260.498.8000 for information.

These activities will have you feeling energized and less guilty about your holiday indulging. So get out there and enjoy!


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