Don't use the cold weather as an excuse to stay inside and be lazy. There's plenty of fun to be had in the great, snowy, cold outdoors in Cleveland in the winter.
- One of Cleveland's best outdoor winter activities is to Skate at Wade Oval spinning around the ice on this rink with stellar views of the crown jewels of University Circle, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Natural History museum, the Cleveland Botanical Garden and Case Western Reserve University. Rentals are just $3, and the concession stand sells hot chocolate, coffee, popcorn and treats. Open through March 9th hours are3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays; noon to 7 p.m. Saturdays; and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. Also open MLK Day and Presidents Day.
Skating's not wild enough for you, thrill-seeker? Check out the chutes and ladders at the Metroparks Chalet in Strongsville. Two refrigerated ice chutes are the main draw, sending brave sledders (over 42 inches tall) hurtling 1,000 feet to the bottom. The chutes are open Thursday evening through Sunday through mid-March. Admission is $8; $6, children under 11, who must be accompanied by an adult. Snow is not needed for the chutes to operate. This activity is on Valley Parkway between U.S. 42 and Ohio 82. Go to clemetparks.com/recreation/tobogganing or call 440-572-9990. They added a lift to carry your toboggans last year, too, making the experience even more fun.
- Try something new this year with a day of snowshoeing in the Metroparks. It's permitted on all hiking and bridle trails and on golf courses if there's a 4-inch base of snow. Rentals available on several reservations including the Lake Metroparks if you don't own your own snowshoes. Go to clevelandmetroparks,com. Call the Winter Sports Hotline for details and availability: 440-954-4178.
- There are so many ways to work off the winter weight and see some of Northeast Ohio's natural beauty by Cross Country skiing. Both the Cleveland Metroparks and Lake Metroparks offer miles of trails, and rentals. In Cuyahoga County, rentals are available at Big Met in Rocky River and also Chapin Forest in Kirtland.
- So, Northeast Ohio has a couple of family-friendly, fun skiing, snowboard and tubing options at the combined Boston Mills Brandywine resorts. Join today, season passes are available. See bmbw.com for exact details you want on each of these activities.