This winter has been...bizarre. It's been crazy foggy, there hasn't been snow on the ground in ages, but at the same time it feels like it has snowed a ton (nonstop for days at random intervals).
Our winter routine of sledding on the daily has been dashed, so we've had to come up with a handful of different ways to get us through these last temperamental weeks of Old Man Winter.
1. Go for a swim
The Holland Aquatic Center or Surfari Joe's are both fantastic places to spend a day in the water, depending on your budget and ambitions. You can also check out the Y, your nearest wellness center or check into a hotel nearby and invite a few friends over for some swim time and pizza.
2. Hit the ice festivals
Both the Ice Breaker Festival in South Haven and St Joseph's Magic Ice Festival are just around the corner. Live ice carving demonstrations, food, hot cocoa, horse-drawn trolley rides and kids' activities are among the slated weekend-long festivities.
3. Wander through a botanical garden
If you haven't been to Fernwood Botanical Garden in Niles yet, put it on your to do list. Visitors can wander through the sprawling fern conservatory, which houses a waterfall, goldfish, frogs and a train exhibit in addition to plants. The tropical conservatory at the Frederik Meijer Gardens is a splendid escape as well. The dose of lush greenery will do you good.
4. Have a s'mores night
Build an outdoor fire to keep toasty and roast marshmallows. You can put down a blanket nearby and do some stargazing. Teach the kids about constellations and how the winter sky differs from the summer sky. Bonus points if you've got a telescope.
5. Destroy that cabin fever
Head out on an energy-busting adventure to a local fun spot. We are partial to once-a-year trips to Chuck E Cheese, particularly if we can go on a weekday and beat the crowds. There are also inflatable bounce centers (Crazy Bounce in Holland and Jungle Joe's and Bounceland in Kalamazoo)
5. Plan a spring getaway
This could be real or imaginary. The world is your playground. Look through travel books and magazines at the library and get input from the littles before choosing your destination. Even an overnight stay in Chicago would be fun and not super pricey. If you are just playing make believe, go ahead and choose somewhere exotic and then learn all about that place, the culture, the people, the food, the attractions. Whip up a pretend itinerary and passports, then when the travel day comes you can watch movies that showcase your destination, read stories and make a dinner showcasing its local cuisine. Voila: world travel on the cheap.