I’ve always loved living in the Midwest, with four seasons each year. For me, I love to see the changes; the leaves turning, the scent of impending snow and watching things blossom as the weather begins to warm again.
Winter can be tough in Indiana but as much as I like settling in with a good book or having a movie night with the kids; it’s also fun to go outdoors for some exercise, a new family experience or enjoying the benefits of all that snow.
This one seems like the obvious choice in the winter. We all remember days when school was called off due to the fallen snow. We’d grab our hats, gloves and sleds and head out to the nearest hill for a day of fun.
Burn off some of that pent-up energy climbing up the hill and have fun sliding back down over and over again.
For a list of available sledding hills, check out Visit Hendricks County’s 4 Spots for Sledding in Hendricks County.
I took ice skating lessons as a child and miss strapping on skates and speeding off across the cold surface with the wind blowing in my face. It too, is a great form of exercise and is especially fun with friends and family.
Murphy Aquatic Park is the new location for the seasonal Penguin Park in Avon. It’s a synthetic ice rink but according to visitors, feels very similar to real ice and the park offers a variety of fun things to do on and off the ice.
Look for Sensory Skate days for our friends who might want a less stimulating environment, Homeschool Skate days for students and of course, open skate evening and weekends for the public.
Register now for don’t-miss events like The Polar Express Experience from 3 to 7 p.m. Nov. 25 and other special events throughout the season. Igloo, birthday party and field trip rentals are available as well, and the Compass Cafe offers snacks and drinks for hungry ice skaters.
If you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy a scenic adventure, there are plenty of spots to take an early morning hike to watch for winter wildlife and take in the fresh air while getting some exercise.
One of our personal favorites is McCloud Nature Park with 6.5 miles of trails. It gives us a chance to check out Big Walnut Creek and the historic truss bridge in a whole new way as opposed to our summer visits.
Check out more Winter Outdoor Hiking Trails here.
At The Shops at Perry Crossing, not only can we get that holiday shopping done, grab a bite to eat and enjoy the outdoor mall, but they also have several holiday and outdoor events visitors will enjoy. Grab a unique gift at Rocket Fizz or clothing at Rustic Attic By Angie.
Throughout the month of December, visitors can catch Reindeer Days in Town Square for photo ops with Santa’s reindeer and one of his elves, get photos with the big guy himself or take Schakolad up on their Cocoa Crawl challenge.
They’ve provided a list online of all the sweet treats anyone could want at shops and restaurants throughout the mall.
Parks in Hendricks County
The Parks Departments in the county are constantly adding new activities to encourage visitors to enjoy the outdoors. Whether it be the Winter Solstice Hike at Washington Township Park in Avon or Bird Watching at McCloud Nature Park, check out their calendars and mark yours for those events you don’t want to miss.
My family is looking forward to the Giving Tuesday: Community Tree Planting event with Brownsburg Parks and Recreation and walking through Plainfield’s Park and Recreation’s Trees of Plainfield display this December.
You can also find plenty of opportunities to meet with Santa, The Grinch or other favorite holiday characters over a bonfire, roasting smores and more at our area parks over the holidays.
Natural Valley Ranch in Brownsburg offers a unique winter experience – horseback riding on the winter trails. Reserve a 30 or 60-minute guided ride along the more than 50 acres of scenic trails and take in the view via horseback.
Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and trail rides are weather dependent. You can even purchase trail ride gift certificates for the nature lovers on your list.
While there, be sure to stop by and visit with the farm animals and enjoy nature at its finest.
Visit Natural Valley Ranch to see all they have to offer.