After the holidays, it’s easy to get into the winter-time slump of staying home and longing for the long warm days of spring and summer. If that sounds familiar, it might be time to book a weekend getaway, take a daytrip, or even just spend a few hours doing something fun and different. There are plenty of options for indoor activities if the cold weather just isn’t your thing, plus outdoor activities that are unique to the season. Here are a few ideas:
Go Skiing or Snow Tubing
We have had a lot of fun at Bear Creek Mountain in Pennsylvania, but there are numerous options in mid-Atlantic region if you want to try skiing. We are not skiers, but we had a great time snow tubing. It’s a bumpy ride at the end (lift up your butt!) and can be scary for small children (minimum age is 6), so do your research and check in with your kids before you go. Make sure your tubing has a magic carpet or lift to get you back up the hill. Bear Mountain had just the right amount of thrill for our 6 and 8 year old when we went, and there were other fun things in the area, plus staying at a super cozy lodge is always a treat. Other ski resorts in the area that we’ve heard good things about include Blue Mountain and Camelback.
Try an Indoor Water Park
An indoor water park works in any weather, and if you’ve been missing your summertime pool, heading to a resort like Great Wolf Lodge can be a wonderful respite. Great Wolf has a host of activities and it’s a really fun place to stay, but there are tons of options throughout the mid-Atlantic area that, like Great Wolf, have lazy rivers, wave pools, hot tubs, and giant water slides to allow the whole family to find something they enjoy. A few other options are Kalahari, Camelback, and DreamWorks.
Unique Opportunities for Wildlife Viewing
If you’re looking for something cheaper (or freer), and want to get outdoors, there are opportunities for seeing wildlife that are uniquely possible in winter. Seals begin to visit some New Jersey beaches starting in November – they can often be seen at Sandy Hook and Island Beach State Park. There are tons of birds that winter in the Chesapeake bay area and other parts of the mid-Atlantic region. Tundra swans and snow geese are abundant in places like Blackwater Refuge and Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. Winter is a great time to see Bald Eagles in places like Elk Neck State Park in Maryland or Bombay Hook in Smyrna, Delaware. Finally, with the lack of cover during winter it is often a good time to spot deer and elk – Benezette, PA is renowned for its elk herd. We saw them within 5 minutes of parking at the Elk Country Visitors Center!
Visit an Aquarium or Children’s Museum
The Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ, or the National Aquarium in Baltimore are both great choices if you want to see wildlife, but it’s just too icy outside. They are both pricey (worth it, though!) so if you want something smaller and less expensive, the Atlantic City Aquarium is a fun choice. All three have touch tanks and lots of beautiful sea life. In Camden you can find penguins and hippos; In Baltimore there is a rain forest and shark alley. All are wonderful learning experiences for your kiddos.
Speaking of learning, children’s museums are often a fun way to spend the day. The Delaware Children’s Museum in Wilmington or Port Discovery in Baltimore are great choices.
Try an Indoor Trampoline Park
If it’s just too cold or icy to play outside and you want to move your body, a trampoline park is so much fun. If you’re looking for a great trampoline park, you’re likely to find Sky Zone. With locations all over the mid-Atlantic region, there’s likely one near your home or hotel, or on your route if you’re taking a road trip. They are often found near major highways (well played, Sky Zone.) In addition to giant trampolines, they have foam pits, climbing walls, swings from which to jump into foam pits, and enormous foam arms that spin around and wipe out your children hilariously. Not surprisingly, they also have a waiver that you must sign before playing. Tickets are in the neighborhood of $25-$30. There is a designated area for toddlers, and food like pizza and slushies.