While it can be tempting to hibernate all winter long, getting outside - even for 20 minutes a day - can be crucial for maintaining our circadian rhythm. So layer up, and get out!
A few tips for winter adventures:
When the weather is truly cold, I like to pick locations that offer dual outdoor/indoor fun. We start outdoors and last as long as we can, knowing the fun can continue inside. All four of the winter adventures listed below have that indoor/outdoor option!
If you have children who are reluctant to layer (ahem, my children, cough cough), ask them to pack a backpack to take on the adventure with necessary layers. This way they have what they need if they need it, and they can listen to their bodies and make changes.
Keep a wind chill chart bookmarked on your phone and consult the forecast before you go. (This can also give you a sense of whether or not layers are negotiable for outdoor play.)
Invest in winter gear. If you have the layers you need to stay warm, you will enjoy the time outside so much more.
If you or your child needs extra motivation, a thermos of hot coffee/tea/chocolate can go a long way in helping you meet your outside time goals.
If you haven't been before, ICNC boasts a trail network that traipses through prairie, woods, and wetland. Beautiful in warmer temps, the trails offer lots to explore in colder weather, too. The outdoor classroom is a favorite of mine when I want to get us playing in chillier temps. Inside the ICNC the lobby includes several stations to explore nature as well as a bird watching room, perfect for warming fingers and toes after outside play.
The fun at Wickiup Wandering Woods, just a short walk from the parking, continues even in snowy weather. With lots to climb, build, and explore, we like to burn off some steam before heading in to play in the kid-friendly exhibits.
If you park at the Conservation Education Center, you'll find a half-mile, crushed stone, stroller-friendly trail. The perfect length for little legs on a chilly day, this hike allows you to bundle them in stroller if the weather proves a little too fierce. Pop inside the CEC after the hike and enjoy the museum area, complete with hands on exploration.
Winter Night Hike in Your Neighborhood
While I often bemoan how early it gets dark in the winter, I find it presents a unique opportunity to get us all out and moving. With the proper layers, a headlamp or flash light, and some hot cocoa at the end, my crew enjoys a night hike around our neighborhood to see lights on display. This is the perfect way to fit in some outdoor time after work and dinner, too!
What are your favorite outdoor winter adventures in the Corridor? Share in the comments below!
Johanna received a Ph.D. in English in 2014. Now a postpartum doula and educator of childbirth, breastfeeding, and infant sleep, she blogs about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting.