Want to spend winter break next week hearing fewer "I can't find anything to do" complaints from the kids?
Consider the following options in Western New York and Southern Ontario:
1) Open ice skating: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and next Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, The Ice at Canalside, Scott and Main streets. Visit canalsidebuffalo.com for more information. $6 for ages 13 and over: $4 for 6-12; free for 5 and under. Skate rentals costs $5 (toddler size 9 to an adult 13); locker rental costs $3. Show your BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York membership card and receive a $1 off skate admission and $1 off skate rental discount.
2) Open skating: 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and next Saturday, 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Best Street at Fillmore Avenue. Pond-style skating is weather dependent. Call the “Ice Line” for conditions at 716-838-1249, Ext. 17. Skating and skate rentals also free.
[RELATED STORY: When the weather turns wintery, take your fun indoors]
3) Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing: 1 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and next Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve, 93 Honorine Drive, Cheektowaga. Free, with paid ski and snowshoe rentals on a first-come, first-served basis.
4) Ice skating: Public skates from 1 to 2:20 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and next Saturday, 7 to 8:45 p.m. Saturday, Friday and next Saturday, Healthy Zone Rink, 41 Riley St., East Aurora. For more info, visit thinkrink.org. $5; children 4 and under free with paying adult. Skate rental costs $3.
5) Open skating: RiverWorks, 359 Ganson St. Visit buffaloriverworks.com or call 342-2292 for times and days, which are mostly on weekends. Cost is $5 for those 6 and older; free for those 5 and under. Independent Health members get $1 off by presenting their insurance card. Skate rental runs $5.
6) Open skating: During daylight hours as weather allows, Akron Falls and Como Lake county parks, 44 Parkview Drive, Akron, and 2220 Como Park Blvd., Lancaster, respectively. Free but must bring your own skates. Visit erie.gov/parks or call 858-8513 for winter sports and activities updates.
7) Open skating: Reservoir and DeVeaux Woods state parks – which flank each other and the Robert Moses Parkway near the Niagara River Whirlpool Rapids in Niagara Falls – offer free ice skating at their rustic rinks, weather permitting. Skate rentals are unavailable. Both rinks are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 284-5778 for more info.
8) Tobogganing: Chutes are open, weather permitting, from 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends and holidays outside the casino at Chestnut Ridge County Park, 6121 Chestnut Ridge Road, Orchard Park. The sled hill is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Visit erie.gov/parks or call 858-8513 for winter sports and activities updates.
9) Downhill skiing: As weather allows from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays, and 4 to 8 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, Emery Park, 2084 Emery Road, Wales. Visit erie.gov/parks or call 858-8513 for winter sports and activities updates.
10) Community Free Skate: 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Healthy Zone Rink, 41 Riley St., East Aurora. Admission is free and open to the public. BlueCross BlueShield’s Healthy Zone Cruiser and Community Relations Team will giving away coupons good for one coffee or one hot chocolate while supplies last. To participate, preregister at bcbswny.com/play. Walk-ins are welcome.
11) Learn to cross-country ski: 10 a.m. Wednesday, Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve, 93 Honorine Drive, Cheektowaga. Learn the basics of cross-country skiing before going on a short guided ski tour. Ski rental costs $8; $5 for Friends of Reinstein Woods members. Registration required by calling 683-5959.
12) Family snowshoe walk: 10:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve, 93 Honorine Drive, Cheektowaga. Join us for a morning snowshoe walk along the trails as we look for evidence of wildlife. Snowshoe rental $5; $2 for Friends of Reinstein Woods members. Registration required; call 716-683-5959.
13) Winter Play Days: BlueCross Blue Shield of Western New York hosts this event from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 in Alumni Arena at the University at Buffalo North Campus in Amherst. The 400,000-square-foot arena will be transformed into a giant playground, giving families and individuals the chance to try activities that include volleyball and swimming, an inflatable bounce house and more. The pool will be open for the first 150 participants. To register, visit bcbswny.com/play. Free to the public.
14) Floral Showhouse: Niagara Parks Commission floral center’s spring display is now ready, featuring stunning arrangements that include primula, calceolaria, cyclamen, cineraria, schizanthus, forced bulbs and shrubs, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, 7145 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, Ont. Admission costs $5 for adults; $3.75 for children ages 6-12; free for children 5 and under. For more info, call (905) 354-1721.
15) National Engineers Week: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday through next Saturday, Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Parkway. Activities throughout the week include Lego challenges, zipline builds, real-world engineering problem solving and more. General museum admission also includes the traveling exhibit “GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World.” For hours, admission and more info, visit sciencebuff.org.
16) “Northern Owls”: A travelling exhibit from the Royal Ontario Museum that offers a look into the intriguing world of owls, Butterfly Conservatory, 2565 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, Ont. Includes live raptor displays during this holiday weekend, Feb. 18-20 (Monday is Family Day in Canada). For hours, admission costs and more information about other Family Day weekend events in Niagara Falls, Ont., visit niagaraparks.com.
17) Family Fun Week: Explore & More Children’s Museum, 300 Gleed Ave., East Aurora. Museum will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with special activities from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. including Presidents Day voting and ribbon making on Monday; crayon resist and color reveal on Tuesday; Music With Mar on Wednesday; ice painting on Thursday; and Zumba and rainbow rings on Friday. For more info, visit exploreandmore.org.
18) Let’s Get Physical: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Saturday, Explore & More Children’s Museum, 300 Gleed Ave., East Aurora. Space for this event is very limited and preregistration is required at bcbswny.com/play. BlueCross BlueShield of WNY hosts this free program.
Twitter: @BNrefresh, @ScottBScanlon