10 Things To Do Over Winter Break

That week between Christmas and the New Year presents an odd lull in routine. How to spend those long, lazy days? We've got you covered.

1) Enter a real-life Candy Land The enchanting board game has been brought to life by the lovely people at the Otsego District Library. Don't miss your chance to play though Jan 21 during library hours. $1 per game ($5 max per family; children under 2 are free).

2) Hit the ultimate sledding hill

The toboggan run at Echo Valley in Kalamazoo tops out at 60 MPH. Seriously. Tubing is offered as well for those looking for a milder thrill. Open all week from 11:30 am to 8 pm.

3) Take five selfies, win a prize

The Sarett Nature Center in Benton Harbor is hosting the Winter Selfie Scavenger Hunt through the New Year. There are five spots to snap a pic for the chance to win a prize, as well as a toasty indoor fire and hot cocoa at the ready. Regular admission fees of $3 per adult apply.

4) Lace up your skates

The South Haven Ice Rink is a great little spot to while away an afternoon outdoors. Night skating is fab too. Skate rentals, trainers and concessions are available. The rink is open daily through the week from 11 am to 10 pm.

5) Explore the great indoors

Kids can stimulate their imaginations and burn off excess energy while parents unwind with a coffee from the shop next door at the Forever Curious Children's Museum in Fennville, which is offering extended hours over winter break. Orbeez, sand tables, bubbles, tunnels and skeletons are just some of the attractions on tap. And don't miss the kid-friendly Countdown to Noon celebration on New Year's Eve.

6) Splash around like it's summer

Surfari Joe's offers 18,000 square feet of splashy good fun. Two large water slides, a lazy river, toddler-friendly lagoon, water bucket, arcade games, full-service restaurant...this is the place to be. Winter break hours are 11 am to 10 pm, even longer on New Year's Eve.

7) Catch a sprawling train exhibit

Christmas may be over, but you can still enjoy the holiday traditions of cultures around the globe at the Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. Almost 400,000 lights and festive displays are sure to captivate the entire family.

8) Take a spin on the carousel

There is never a dull moment at the Silver Beach Carousel. Luckily it's open all week and, in addition to the main attraction, you'll find hula hoops, coloring pages, checkers, fortune telling, a train display, popcorn, wacky mirrors and more.

9) Volunteer your time

Go play with the animals at the local shelter (call ahead to arrange a time to come in) for an hour. Shovel your neighbor's driveway. Clean up the litter at a nearby park. Visit a retirement community. Round up your change and donate it to the charity of your choice.

10) Take the train to Chicago

Grab a seat on the next Chicago-bound Amtrak or South Shore and spend the day exploring the city. We recommend the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights, the museums (especially the Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium and the Chicago Children's Museum), Maggie Daley Park, hot chocolate at Ghirardelli and of course the holiday window displays at Macy's.

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