Think you can’t enjoy the outdoors as the temperatures drop and snowflakes fly? Think again. Lace up your boots, zip up that coat and pull on some gloves before heading outside for these five fun activities.
Ice Skating at Howard Park
Howard Park is home to a state-of-the-art 16,000-square foot ice trail and pond that caught Midwest Living Magazine’s attention shortly after it opened. There are also fun activities like broomball. Skating requires a reservation made in advance online and often sells out early, so be sure to plan in advance. Here are the ice skating hours:
Monday: no public skate
Tuesday-Thursday: 5-8 p.m.
Friday/Saturday noon-10 p.m.
Sunday: 1-8 p.m.
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- The ice trail and pond will be operating at approximately 40 percent capacity and limited to defined time blocks.
- Visitors must reserve skate times online in advance to reduce lines and touch points.
- Masks will be required for all visitors at all times throughout the park.
- The indoor spaces will not be available to the public except for restrooms.
- Visitors are encouraged to dress warm and leave valuables at home.
- Skate changes must be outdoors.
- Consider visiting during non-peak hours.
- If you have skates, bring them to shorten your wait time.
- According to state ordinance, visitors must be seated when consuming food and beverage.
Ice Skating at Merrifield Park
Winter means the crisp sound of skates meeting ice takes over at Merrifield Park in Mishawaka. Entry (including skate rental) is $4 for adults, $3 for kids from ages 5-17 and free for 4 and under. Here are the regular hours Merrifield’s ice rink:
Friday: 5-9 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Noon-4 p.m. and 5-9 p.m.
Open daily during winter break with Saturday/Sunday hours.
- Max capacity will be capped at 100 people, a 30 percent reduction.
- There will be no advance registration.
- Masks required at all times.
- Physical distancing is also required, even while skating.
Tubing Around The Bend
St. Patrick’s and Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Parks both offer tubing hills. Tubes are provided and there are supervisors at the hills to make sure everyone has a good time. No sleds or toboggans, just so you know. You can also book a private party and have the hill to yourself.
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Hills are open daily from Dec. 26 to Jan. 3 then weekends only Jan. 9 through March 7, snow conditions permitting. Hours are noon-5 p.m.
You can also find a tubing hill at George Wilson Park in Mishawaka. It’s open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, weather permitting. You’ll pay a $3 entry fee and $2 for tube rental. Tubing is available at Potato Creek State Park as well.
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Don’t let a little snow keep you from taking to the trails. Snowshoeing is a great way to enjoy the splendor of winter at St. Patrick’s County Park, where you can rent shoes for $3 per person plus a gate fee to enter the park.
Trails are open for snow shoeing from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays from Dec. 26 to March 14 (snow conditions permitting). Potato Creek State Park offers snowshoeing too.
Cross Country Skiing
One of the best ways to explore in the snow is on a pair of skis. And there are a few places to do it.
St. Patrick’s County Park
Trails open for skiing Dec. 26 and close March 14, snow conditions permitting. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. There’s a gate fee to enter the park plus a $5 adult daily trail fee or $4 for kids 15 and under. Ski rental is $10. You can purchase a seasonal trail pass for $20 (adult) or $15 (youth).
Potato Creek State Park
Although there is no equipment rental at Potato Creek State Park, more than eight miles of trails are available to skiers when there’s snow on the ground.