Last week, I shared a long list of outdoor winter activities you can enjoy on a budget.
That list was just the beginning. Here are more ways to enjoy the outdoors without acquiring a lot of supplies or spending a lot of money:
Cross Country Skiing
It might take a bit of calling around to locate cross country skiis for rent, but you could call a nearby state park (only 3 in MN rent them), city park and rec, nature centers, and sports stores. Even if they don’t rent them, they probably know where you can rent them. I have typically seen cross country ski rentals for $10 (includes skiis, poles & shoes.) Depending upon where you ski, you may also need to purchase a ski pass (MN Ski Pass) to use the trails, so ask if they have maintained ski trails that are free to use.
Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding
Young kids usually are eligible for a reduced admission and if you think you may go skiing often, it might be worth the money to invest in a season pass or a punchcard if they have them available.
If you are just learning to ski or need a refresher, consider taking a lesson. Not only will you gain some valuable skills to help make it more enjoyable for you, but you may see a discount on the fees for equipment rental and your lift ticket. Buck Hill offers a 1.5-hour class for adults for $35. Normally the equipment rental is $25 and $20-$27 for a lift ticket during time lessons are offered (which are already a discount for evening or early bird rates, normal peak rate is $39.) They also offer a Sunday Night lift ticket of $10. Or consider skiing/snowboarding at a smaller hill that hast lower rates, like Elm Creek Park Reserve.
Be sure not to miss Take a Kid Ice Fishing weekend in MN, which is February 18-19, when adults do not need a fishing license when fishing with a minor. Check out Sakatah State Park or Bear Head Lake State Park which is offering a Take a Kid Fishing Clinic in which kids will get to make their own jiggler rod that they can use and take home. Just remember that for any state park activities you will need a vehicle permit pass which will cost you $5/daily or $25/yearly.
Or you can check out your nearest Cabela’s and see if they are offering a Free Kids Ice Fishing Day (The Cabela’s in Owatonna, MN is offering one on January 21 which also includes ice fishing in their pond, snowshoeing & snow fort building.)
Snow Sculptures & other Snow Fun
Yes, this includes making a snowman! All that is needed is some warm clothes and good packing snow. Other helpful items can be found in your kitchen or recycling bin (like a metal spatula for smoothing or a plastic gallon bucket or any other plastic container.) Or you can also re-purpose some bottles to do snow painting.
Check with a state park or nature center to see what other activities they have planned. River Bend Nature Center has the some of the following activities planned: Full Moon Hike, Winter Games, Ice Activities, Snow Sculptures, Snow Flea Hike, Winterfest, plus more. Some of the MN State Parks have candlelight events (cross country skiing, snow shoeing, bonfire & chili cook-off) as well as winter hikes , geocaching , and activities such as: maple syruping, bird counting, animal tracking and SkyDance viewing.
Within the Three Rivers Park District you can find other winter activities such as Winter Mountain Bike Races, Winter Mini-Golf, Kicksledding, Winter Farming, Winter Survival Skills, plus many, many more!
Some other winter activities that are fun, but might require some networking to see if you have friends that will invite you share in their splendor include camping, skijoring, dogsledding & snow mobiling.
If the outdoors isn’t your thing, stop by next week for a collection of fun frugal, family activities you can do indoors.