Winter Blast!

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A round-up of great places to take the family and have loads of fun.

1425767_59191685 Cold weather means it’s time to have a winter blast!

DOWNHILL SKIING, BOARDING AND TUBING

Perfect North Slopes
19074 Perfect Lane, Lawrenceburg, IN
812-537-3754 or 513-381-7517 • perfectnorth.com
Perfect North offers downhill skiing and snowboarding for the adventurous ones, plus snow tubing for kids of all ages (even those big, grown-up kids). An expanded stock of kids’ skis, poles and boots will make sure everyone has a good time. Ski or snowboarding tickets with tubing included range from $28 – $45; lessons and equipment rental is extra.

Mad River Mountain Ski Resort
1000 Snow Valley Road, Zanesfield, OH
800-231-7669 • skimadriver.com
Ohio’s largest ski resort, Mad River is open for skiing, snowboarding and tubing, featuring family passes, expanded tubing and over eight acres of beginner learning terrain. Check the web site for special holiday hours. Lift tickets range from $20 – $45; tubing tickets are $25 to $50 for the Thursday Family of Four special.  Equipment rental and lessons provided at additional costs.

 

CROSS COUNTRY SKIING

All Cincinnati Parks (cincinnatiparks.com) are open to cross-country skiing, but no skiing on golf courses or conservation areas. Bring your own equipment. Some of the more popular Cincinnati Parks include:

Mt. Airy Forest
5083 Colerain Ave.
513-352-4080 • cincinnatiparks.com
Beginners are asked to stay in the open areas near roads; advance skiers can follow the color-coded trails through the woods. Trails begin in the Blue Spruce area (look for painted rectangles on the trees).

Ault Park
3600 Observatory Ave.
513-352-4080 • cincinnatiparks.com
One of Cincinnati Park’s most popular areas for cross-country skiing.

French Park
3012 Section Road
513-352-4080 • cincinnatiparks.com
Follow the trails at this Cincinnati Park for cross-coun¬try skiing fun.

 

All Hamilton County Parks (513-521-PARK or http://greatparks.org/activities/winter-sports) are open to cross-country skiing, but no skiing on golf courses or conservation areas. Bring your own equipment.  A motor vehicle permit ($3 daily, $10 annual) is required to enter the parks.

 

Guests of Butler County Parks (513-867-5835 or yourmetroparks.net) are welcome to use any of the trails in the park system for cross-country skiing, although the trails are not officially groomed for this activity.

 

Cross-country skiing is also permitted on the hiking trails of Clermont County Parks (513-732-2977 or clermontparks.org), provided skiiers remain on the marked trails.

 

OUTDOOR ICE SKATING


Fountain Square

myfountainsquare.com
Enjoy a skating session on the U.S. Bank Ice Rink amongst downtown’s buildings and lights. Hours from Jan. 2 – Feb. 15 are 12 – 6 p.m. Sun – Thu, 2 – 10 p.m. Fri, 12 – 10 p.m. Admission is $3, skate rental is $3.

Blue flags at Cincinnati Parks indicate that ice is at least three inches thick and safe for skating. Call 513-321-6070 to determine skating conditions before visiting. The following Cincinnati Parks offer the best ice skating opportunities:

Mirror Lake and Twin Lakes in Eden Park
950 Eden Park Drive
Five minutes from downtown off Gilbert Avenue and Victory Parkway. Twin Lakes in Eden Park also offers ice hockey.

Rapid Run
4450 Rapid Run Road
On Rapid Run Parkway between Queen City Avenue and Glenway Avenue. Skaters can use the smaller, man-made lakes.

 

Hamilton County Parks designate safe skating areas with barrels and signs. Rangers check the conditions daily.

A motor vehicle permit ($3 daily, $10 annual) is required to enter the park. Call 513-521-PARK (7275) or visit http://greatparks.org/activities/winter-sports to check on skating conditions before visiting some of these popular spots:

Miami Whitewater Forest
9001 Mount Hope Road, Crosby Township
In addition to skating, check out the park’s hiking trails at the Hamilton County Park District’s largest park.

Mitchell Memorial Forest
5401 Mount Zion Road, Miami Township
After skating, enjoy a walk along Wood Duck Trail.

Sharon Woods
11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville
Don’t miss a spin on Sharon Woods Lake with 35 acres of ice skating fun. Or if it gets too cold outside, head indoors to the Adventure Station inside Sharon Centre.

Triple Creek
2700 Buell Road, Colerain Township
Offers a pond for skating, paved trail for walking and a playground on more than 170 acres.

Winton Woods
10245 Winton Road, Springfield Township
This park offers trails, a campground and a lake to skate on.

Woodland Mound
8250 Old Kellogg Road, Anderson Township
Enjoy nature trails, ice skating on the pond, playgrounds and monthly programs at the Seasongood Nature Center.

 

INDOOR ICE SKATING/ICE HOCKEY

Learn to Skate Cincinnati
513-759-4259 • LearnToSkateCincinnati.com
Lessons taught at Sports Plus Cincinnati (10765 Reading Road)
Students follow a proven method of teaching that will improve their skills as figure skaters, hockey players or recreational skaters – kids have a chance to perform in ice shows, camps and competitions as desired to gain experience. Learn to Skate also offers Hockey ONE Academy. Visit the web site for a schedule of free sample lessons.

Northern Kentucky Ice Center
2638 Anderson Road Crescent Springs, KY
859-344-1981 • nkyicecenter.com
Plenty of public skating sessions are available to the family, call for times. The studio rink offers time for beginning skaters and stick times for hockey players, as well as lessons for kids and adults and hockey for youth and adult teams. Family rates and group rates available.

Northland Ice Skating
10400 Reading Road, Evendale
513-563-0001 • northlandicecenter.com
This year-round facility – home to Cincinnati Amateur Hockey Association, Queen City Figure Skating Club, Northland Figure Skating Academy, UC Hockey Club and the Northland Hockey League for Adults — offers public skating and hockey times, as well as private and group lessons, and Learn to Skate and Learn to Play Hockey programs. Visit web site for public skating times.

 

SLEDDING

Visitors sled at their own risk in all Cincinnati Parks. Call Cincinnati Parks at 513-352-4080 to check on conditions before visiting.

 

Visitors sled at their own risk in all Hamilton County Parks (greatparks.org/recreation/wintersports.html).

Call the Hamilton County Park District at 513-521-PARK (7275) to check on conditions before visiting. A motor vehicle permit ($3 daily, $10) is required to enter any Hamilton County Park. Designated sledding areas include:

Embshoff Woods
4050 Paul Road, Delhi Township
The disc golf course becomes a fun sledding hill in the winter.

Miami Whitewater Forest
9001 Mount Hope Road, Crosby Township
Take a fun ride down the hill by harbor overlook and check out the beautiful lake in the winter.

Sharon Woods
11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville
There is a popular sledding hill located near Sharon Centre. Be sure to stop inside and visit Nature’s Niche Gifts & Books store.

Winton Woods
10245 Winton Road, Springfield Township
This park has a designated sledding location at Elm Ridge Overlook Shelter, which also has a nice view of Winton Lake.

Woodland Mound
8250 Old Kellogg Road, Anderson Township
Sled riding is allowed in the area located behind the Ranger Station.

 

Other popular sledding areas:

Devou Park
Kenton County • 859-292-2151 • covingtonky.com
The band shell area offers ample hills for sledding, but sled at your own risk.

Voice of America Park
7850 VOA Park Drive, West Chester
513-867-5835 • yourmetroparks.net
VOA Park boasts a big hill that’s open for sledding from 8 a.m. – dark, when snowfall amounts permit. Contact the park office before visiting. A motor vehicle permit (visit site for rates) is required to enter the park.

 

ICE FISHING

Call Hamilton County Parks at 513-521-PARK (7275) or visit http://greatparks.org/activities/winter-sports to check on conditions before fishing. Ice fishing is gauged upon the thickness of the ice, which rangers check daily. Bring your own equipment. A motor vehicle permit ($3 daily, $10 annual) is required to enter the park. Designated ice fishing lakes include:

Miami Whitewater Forest Lake
9001 Mount Hope Road, Crosby Township

Sharon Woods Lake
11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville

 

STAR GAZING

Cincinnati Observatory
3489 Observatory Place
513-321-5186 • cincinnatiobservatory.org
Cincinnati Observatory is the nation’s first professional observatory, featuring the world’s oldest professional telescope, as well as family programming designed to introduce young astronomers to the stars and planets.

Drake Planetarium
2020 Sherman Ave., Norwood
513-396-5578 • drakeplanetarium.org
Monthly programs are available to the general public, but call or visit the web site to find out about special programs and ongoing courses especially for kids, like the Lego Lab.

 

HIKING

 In Cincinnati Parks (513-352-4080 or cincinnatiparks.com)

Buttercup Valley
1558 Stanford Drive

Caldwell Park
430 West North Bend Road
Several miles of nature trails, including a paved path for wheelchair accessibility.

 

California Woods
5400 Kellogg Ave.
Two National Recreation trails are located in the nature preserve — the California Junction Trail is a one-mile loop and the Trillium Valley Trail has steep steps and is considered moderately difficult.

LaBoiteaux Woods
5400 Lanius Lane
Four miles of hiking trails cross this nature preserve full of geological history. Trails eventually wind their way down to the preserve’s creek.

Mt. Airy Forest
5083 Colerain Ave.
Cincinnati’s largest park offers 14 miles National Recreational Trails and a hiking club. The system is also referred to by the Boy Scouts of America as The Trail of Explorers.

 

In Hamilton County Parks (513-521-7275 or http://greatparks.org/activities/winter-sports).  A valid Hamilton County Parks District motor vehicle permit ($3 daily, $10 annual) is required to enter all parks.

 

Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve
3455 Poole Road, Colerain Township
This is Hamilton County’s smallest park, but the Pin Oak Trail offers a short, paved nature trail that passes a prairie, a forest and a pond.

Fernbank Park
50 Thornton Ave., Cincinnati
Fernbank Park is a partnership between the Cincinnati Park Board and the Hamilton County Park District and offers a one-mile paved trail that winds through the park.

Glenwood Gardens
10623 Springfield Pike, Woodlawn
This beautiful park has everything for an enjoyable winter walk, including a trail that winds through wetlands, prairies and meadows.

Miami Whitewater Forest
9001 Mount Hope Road
The Shaker Trace Trail has an inner loop with Parcours fitness stations and an extended outer loop through prairie and wetland.

Mitchell Memorial Forest
5401 Zion Road, Miami Township
This park has one of the first official mountain bike trails in Hamilton County, at 3.9 miles in length, it also makes for a great rustic hike through the woods. The Wood Duck Trail is one mile in length.

Sharon Woods
11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville
Sharon Woods offers a scenic, 2.5-mile, paved course around Sharon Woods Lake, a .7-mile gorge trail that runs past waterfalls and a one-mile Parcours Fitness Trail with 18 exercise stations.

Shawnee Lookout
2008 Lawrenceburg Road, Miami Township
This park offers three moderate nature trails, including Blue Jacket (1.3 miles), Little Turtle (2 miles) and Miami Fort (1.4 miles).

Winton Woods
10245 Winton Road, Springfield Township
Winton Woods offers two challenging nature trails, a 2.6-mile mutli-purpose trail, a horse trail, as well as Parky’s Farm, a 100-acre demonstration farm for children.

Withrow Nature Preserve
7075 Five Mile Road, Anderson Township
The Trout Lily trail is a 2-mile nature trail with a beautiful view over the Ohio River.

Woodland Mound
8250 Old Kellogg Road, Anderson Township
Woodland Mound offers two moderate nature trails, as well as the Seasongood Nature Center, which includes interactive displays, two outdoor observation decks, and a classroom for Naturalist programs.

 

In Boone County Parks (859-334-2283 or boonecountyky.org)

Central Park
9190 Camp Ernst Road, Union
Home to the Boone County Arboretum, this park offerswalking and hiking trails, along with paved biking trails.

England/Idlewild Park
5550 Idlewild Road, Burlington
This park offers hiking trails along with a dog park for the four-legged members of your family.

Giles Conrad Park
7500 River Road, Hebron
A 1.3-mile paved and level trail connects river bank overlooks to large green spaces. This park also offers fitness stations and a playground.

Gunpowder Creek Nature Park
6750 Sperti Lane, Burlington
Unpaved walking trails measure 1.25 miles long that travels an elevation of 620 to 830 feet.

Middle Creek Park
5501 Middlecreek Road, Burlington
Middle Creek offers over five miles of unpaved walking and hiking trails that range from moderate to difficult. Trails are also open to horseback riding.

 

In Kenton County Parks (859-525-PLAY or 7529 or kentoncounty.org):

Lincoln Ridge Park
420 Independence Station Road, Independence
Offering unpaved hiking trails, with playgrounds, picnic areas, and three shelterhouses.

Doe Run Lake
1501 Bullock Pen Road, Covington
Hike along the Doe Run Nature Trail and keep an eye out for animal dwellers.

Middleton-Mills Park
3415 Mills Road, Covington
Hiking trails, playgrounds and shelterhouses make this park a great spot for winter hikers.

Pioneer Park
3951 Madison Pike, Covington
Pioneer Park offers paved walking and biking trails, along with the Kenton Paw Park for your furry friends.

 

In Butler County Parks (513-867-5835 or yourmetroparks.net).

A valid motor vehicle permit ($5 daily, $10 annual) is required to enter all parks.

Dudley Woods
5591 Hankins Road, Liberty Township
This park offers easy nature trails, making a winter hike with little ones a real treat.

Forest Run Wildlife Preserve
1810 New London Road, Hamilton
Offering an observation deck amongst the nature trails.

Gilmore Ponds Interpretive Preserve
7950 Gilmore Road, Hamilton
This park is a good one for families interested in birding.

Rentschler Forest Preserve
Miami-Erie Canal 5701 Reigart Road, Hamilton
Offers a scenic nature area, along with plenty of hiking trails, playgrounds and more.

 

Sebald Park
5580 Elk Creek Road, Middletown
Most of the park remains in a natural condition, but there are trails for winter hikes and nature study.

Voice of America Park
7850 VOA Park Drive, West Chester
Nature and paved trails of varying distances.

 

In Clermont County (513-732-2977 or clermontparks.org):

Crooked Run Nature Preserve
521 County Park Road, Chilo
Located next to Chilo Lock 34 Park, Crooked Run is the only state-dedicated nature preserve in Clermont County. Offering 77 acres, scenic views and a flat terrain for a leisurely hike, the preserve is also a great spot for bird watching – families are encouraged to keep an eye out for occasional guests like Great Blue Herons and Bald Eagles.

Kelley Nature Preserve
297 Center St., Loveland
Featuring nearly two miles of hiking trails along the scenic Little Miami River, perfect for both hiking and winter bird watching. Bald Eagles can occasionally be seen along the Little Miami River.

Shor Park
4659 Tealtown Road, Batavia
The newest park Clermont County, located just minutes from Eastgate Mall, boasts 56 acres and 1.5 miles of hiking trails on easy terrain.

Sycamore Park and Wilson Nature Preserve
4082 State Route 132, Batavia
Offering over three miles of hiking trails that traverse several large hills and offer spectacular views of the East Fork River Valley.

 

Other Hiking Areas:

Cincinnati Nature Center Rowe Woods
4949 Tealtown Road, Milford • 513-831-1711
513-722-1038 • cincynature.org
Comprising over 1,600 acres, CNC is one of the country’s top 10 nature centers with 20 miles of hiking trails, and educational programs for kids, including the new Nature Playscape and the new Nature Preschool. Rowe is open daily in January from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is $8 adults, $3 ages 4 – 12, and $6 for seniors and active military.

 

 

 

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