As many are eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring, there are still many fun winter activities to participate in before the season changes. Here are a few winter activities you will not want to regret missing out on before winter is over:
Visit a Petting Zoo
Whether you wish to pet a piglet, an alpaca, or a wolf dog, your dream could be realized with a short drive to your local petting zoo. Thanks to indoor zoos and hardy winter-ready animals, petting zoos are open virtually all year-long. From goat yoga to rubbing a pig’s belly, the potential experiences at a petting zoo are vast.
A pig actually makes a great companion as they bond very quickly with humans. Many pigs are kept in pens, while some are allowed to wander around. Younger pigs are especially friendly and may follow or head butt you gently as you walk around. Wolfs, on the other hand, are often stigmatized as big, bad, or aggressive, but wolf dogs found at petting zoos are anything but.
In actuality, wolf dogs are naturally shy and timid. They will usually run and hide when a stranger arrives, but eventually warm up and become friendly and comfortable like other breeds of dogs. Farms usually breed wolf dogs that range from partial wolf to almost pure wolf. An opportunity to pet these animals will quickly reveal their harmless nature and personality.
Since alpacas are inherently shy and docile animals in their nature, they do not particularly like to be petted. They are also not as domesticated as other animals, so it is not recommended you reach out to them as they might suspect you to be a predator. However, alpacas do not have claws, horns, or hooves and do not bite or butt. Therefore, they are perfectly safe for you and your children to be around.
An alpaca can be placed on a lead rope to allow for some petting. They are known to enjoy a scratching or rubbing of their neck, rather than a petting on the top of their head. This will give you the opportunity to feel their fleece hands-on.
Afterward, head to the farm store, where you will likely find items such as gloves, socks, and blankets handcrafted from home-spun alpaca fur. Alpacas’ fibers are very strong, typically measuring 50 N/ktex. This material is softer to the touch and more warming than anything you have felt before.
Visit a Zoo
In the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, the Como Zoo and the Minnesota Zoo are open year-round. The Como Zoo is free, but the Minnesota Zoo has an annual Tropical Beach Party that happens in late February to early March!
Have Fun in the Snow
Snow is usually only around for a limited time, so it is best to enjoy it while it lasts. The snow provides endless opportunities for winter fun, such as:
Skiing, snowboarding, or sledding – If you are an experienced skier or snowboarder (or if you can only make it down a bunny slope), this activity can provide a ton of winter fun for the family. Teach your children a new sport or start up a little friendly competition between family members. When performing strenuous activity, do not forget to stay hydrated, even in the cold. After all, our bodies are 60% water. Whether you travel or stay in a ski lodge, having fun with those you care about it all that matters.
Sledding or tubing – This is another fun and affordable winter activity for the whole family. All you need is a few inexpensive sleds and a snowy hill in your area.
Build a snowman – Rolling snow into the perfect old fashioned snowman will require warm gloves, some heavy lifting, and plenty of luck. You need a minimum of two to three inches of snow and it should be perfect packable consistency, not too icy or fluffy. For that iconic snowman look, do not forget the hat, carrot nose, and sticks for arms.
Watch the snow fall – It is okay if you do not wish to take part in winter activities. Instead, cozy up by your favorite windowsill with a warm mug of hot cocoa or your favorite hot beverage and watch the fresh snowfall.
Volunteer at a Food Kitchen
Donating your time to work at a food kitchen is an incredibly rewarding and easy way to help out the less fortunate in your community and give back, especially around the winter months and holidays. You can make a drastic difference by volunteering, since 51% of all food programs rely on volunteers. In the United States, more than 37 million people struggle with hunger and 14.3 million American households are food insecure, meaning they are unsure where their next meal will come from.
In the United States, about 550,00 people are homeless and 45% of Americans have trouble falling asleep. Since 90% of Americans have ice cream in their freezer at any given time, it’s hard to remember our privilege during the winter. Contact your local food kitchen to find out how you can help.
We still have a few weeks left of winter. Whether you’re trying to enjoy the last opportunities for snowfall or volunteer to help the needy, think of these activities before we head into spring.