5 Fun Outdoor Winter Activities

Winter time has arrived in The Bend. 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 Merrifield Park

Winter means the crisp sound of skates meeting ice takes over at Merrifield Park in Mishawaka, a city well known for its parks.

Skate rental at Merrifield is only $2 with admission fees set at $3 for kids, $4 for adults and $3.50 for seniors. Fridays double as Family Night, where the whole family can skate for $15.

Keep an eye out for special themed nights throughout the winter. They include a New Year’s Eve Celebration on Dec. 31, a Valentine’s Day Couples Skate on Feb. 14, DJ Night on Jan. 20, Game Night on Jn. 27 and a Cartoon Skate on Feb. 3.

Here are the regular hours Merrifield’s ice rink:

Tuesday: 4-8 p.m.
Friday: 3-8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Noon-4 p.m. and 4:30-9 p.m.

Innertubing at St. Pat’s

Ready to speed down a snow-covered hill at one of our county parks? Winter brings this tradition back to life.

St. Patrick’s and Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Parks both offer innertubing hills that are sure to thrill children and adults alike. Innertubes 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.

There’s a gate fee to enter the park plus $4 per person to innertube. There hills are open daily from Dec. 26 to Jan. 6 then just weekends Jan. 12 through March 3, snow conditions permitting. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Take a Hike with Snow Shoes 

Hiking through the area parks is pretty much a pastime in The Bend during warmer months.

Don’t let a little snow keep you from taking to the trails. Snow shoeing is a great way to enjoy the splendor of winter in the Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park, where you can rent some shoes and get on your way for $4 per person plus a gate fee to enter the park.

You can even add to your snow shoeing experience with the addition of orienteering. Snag a map when you rent the snow shoes, find all the checkpoints then turn in the map for a free hot chocolate when you’re done. Orienteering is available during public snow shoeing hours.

Trails are open for snow shoeing daily Dec. 26 through Jan. 6 and weekends only Jan. 12 through March 3 (snow conditions permitting). Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Snowball fight!

Snow is beautiful when it’s on the ground, buildings and trees. It’s also great to form in a ball and toss at your friends – in a playful way, of course. There’s plenty of open space in The Bend the gather a crew and get a snowball fight going. Try the area parks or even on one of the five college campuses in the area, including the University of Notre Dame.

Skiing Under the Stars

Winter doesn’t get much more serene than at night, when the stars shine bright and the moon can be your guide as it reflects off the snow.

St. Patrick’s County Parks makes special use of this with Skiing Under the Stars. Grab the family for cross country skiing at night from 6-9 p.m. on Jan. 18, Jan. 25 and Feb. 1. Homemade cookies, coffee and hot chocolate await at Manion Cabin to refresh you from the trip.

Ski rental costs $10.

For more details on these and other great events and activities in the South Bend area, check out the EVENTS CALENDAR.