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Cold weather, warm places

It was a day to sled – without crowds.

And then to warm near a fire.

Or, for some, it was a day to switch activities – and maybe do something indoors, instead.

Like walk around an indoor garden. Or do some crafts and games.

“We’re not going to let them sled, because of the cold,” said Kate Coyle, a Buffalo resident, who was hosting a birthday party for two of her kids at Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park on Saturday.

Coyle had brought some alternative activities – crafts, games, cocoa – for partygoers to do in the warming building at the park, which had fires blazing away, at the party for her sons.

The cold hadn’t deterred some hardy sledders and tobogganers.

The Burrs of Buffalo – Steven Burr and three kids, 6-year-old Tyler, 7-year-old Brandon and 9-year-old Grace – were braving the slopes with their winter gear.

They were choosing an outdoor activity on a bracingly cold day for, as Burr put it, basic reasons: “We’re from Buffalo.”

The weather on Saturday was a mix of bitterly cold temperatures and bright sunshine.

The temperature earlier in the day on Saturday fell below zero by 3 degrees, according to Jon Hitchcock, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

A windchill warning had begun at 5 a.m. Saturday, Hitchcock said.

For Sunday, Valentine’s Day, temperatures are expected to inch up a bit, with the day starting out cold – at 5 degrees below zero – but increasing to 10 above zero later in the day, Hitchcock said.

But some just saw the frigid weekend weather as a chance to shift their plans indoors – or, at least, to adapt them to the icy conditions.

At the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, some visitors were making the lush garden scenery part of their weekend.

Jennifer Chmura and Ryan Frost, a science teacher, were strolling the gardens during the afternoon. They had thought of doing something outside, but the cold weather led them to the indoor gardens.

Chmura said that, cold or not, if they “can throw on snowpants” and other outerwear, they will often go out in the cold.

Also at the gardens, Mary Aroune and Tim Madden were playing a game of checkers amid the greenery.

“I haven’t been here since I was little,” said Aroune.

Madden, who attends the University at Buffalo and studies industrial engineering, said: “I miss spring.”

“You’ve got to find your escape somehow,” he added.

And, at Tifft Nature Preserve, where things were sparkling on Saturday afternoon, one longtime volunteer said that the cold is tough on nature as well as people.

Animals “actually grow their adaptations” during the cold, said Mary Hughes, a retiree from Amherst and a Tifft volunteer of some 25 years.

People, she said, come up with their own inventions.

Who has it tougher – humans or animals? “I think it’s kind of a toss-up,” said Hughes.

Warmer weather is on the way as temperatures move into the low to mid-30s on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Welch.

“Definitely, it’s going to get warmer,” said Welch, adding, “There’s also the potential for a couple of inches of light snowfall from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon, with some leftover snowshowers on Wednesday.”

News Staff Reporter Deidre Williams contributed to this report. email: