Nothing to do in winter? Maybe these ideas will help

Runny noses, freezing temperatures and having to wear tons of clothing to stay warm are just a few of the reasons some people hate winter. But no matter how you feel about the season, it’s here for the next few months. So instead of pouting, look at winter as an opportunity to shake up your routine and explore some different activities.

Indoor ice skating

The winter brings certain sports into season, such as ice hockey and ice skating. A person doesn’t have to be a professional just to do the activity.

The Kettering Ice Arena, located at the Kettering Recreation Complex, is an indoor ice rink that is a host to anyone interested in figure skating, ice hockey, ice skating lessons or leisure skating. The Arena offers regular Open Skate times on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. In addition, Holiday Open Skates are scheduled each day Dec. 21-24, Dec. 26-31, and Jan. 2-3. Click here for specific times.

The admission to Open Skates is $3 for a Kettering youth (age 3-17) and $6 for a non-resident youth. For a Kettering adult, the admission is $3.50 and $7 for a non-resident. The spectator fee is $1 and skate rental is $2.

Winter swimming

The Kettering Recreation Complex also offers an indoor pool for use in the winter. Pool activities include lap swimming, swim lessons, SCUBA and water exercise classes. The center also offers a variety of open swim and drop-in water workout times. The cost for a Kettering youth (age 3-17) is $3, or $3.50 for a resident adult. Call 296-2587 for more information.

Unique shopping

Although street markets aren’t usually held in the winter due to the cold, the National City 2nd Street Market in Dayton stays open year-round. This is possible because the market actually takes place inside a historic old train station.

The market features more than 40 vendors who sell unique items and a variety of food, plus hot coffee and tea to keep customers warm. During the holiday season, the market also offers visits from Santa and horse-drawn carriage rides.

The market, located at 600 E. Second St. in downtown Dayton, is open Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Click here for more details.

Light up the night

For those who enjoy soaking up the holiday spirit, Clifton Mill is the place that will light up any winter evening. It’s located in Clifton, Ohio, where there are more than 3.5 million lights illuminating the mill, the gorge, the bridges, trees and riverbanks. A 100-foot waterfall has a few lights as well.

Clifton Mill is open every day from 5 to 9 p.m. through Jan. 1. On Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, it closes at 8 p.m. “My family and I go every year; it’s a tradition,” said sophomore Rebecca Courtney. “I love the room that has thousands of Santas.”

The cost for adults and children 7 and older is $10; children 6 and younger get in for free. For more information, click here.

Winter at The Beach

One wouldn’t expect to find winter activities at a water park, but The Beach Waterpark offers its annual Holiday Fest with many things to do in the cold. People can enjoy the ice skating rink, a toboggan slide, a miniature train display and a Petting Corral, where one can pet and feed the critters.

General admission costs $9 at the gate as well as online, but admission at the gate comes with two tickets for rides and online it comes with four. Individual ride tickets can be purchased for $1 at the park, or for an even better deal, Adventure Passes can be purchased for $20 at the gate or $18 online. Adventure Passes include admission, skate rental and unlimited rides.

Weekdays, the park is typically open from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 3 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m. Hours may vary due to the holidays. Click here for additional information.

Winter’s extreme sports

Mountains may be scarce in the Midwest, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on snow skiing and snowboarding. Perfect North Slopes, located west of Cincinnati in Lawrenceburg, Ind., offers free lessons with every ski lift ticket purchased. It is open Monday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, Perfect North is open from 9:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. General admission is $45. Click here for additional prices and information.

You can also enjoy skiing at Mad River Mountain, located in Bellefontaine, Ohio. It’s open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. A general admission, weekday ticket is $30 and a weekend ticket is $42. Click here for more details.