Thursday, January 16, 2014

Winter Fun Ideas

Jetsetter Magazine just voted Milwaukee one of the top 14 cities to visit in 2014...and in my opinion, it wouldn't be a complete visit if you didn't step foot into one of our magnificent parks.  Why not see a few of the local places yourself this weekend?

If you're an early riser, head to Bradford Beach to see the sunrise and grab coffee/breakfast at nearby Colectivo afterwards.  The ice at the beach is changing every day depending on temperatures and wave action.  Here's a photo I took on Sunday morning this week, but when I drove by yesterday it looked different again.  We're lucky to get beautiful sunrises at the beach every day of the year.  Just because it's winter, don't write it off.  Sunrise isn't really that early in winter either.  Get there by 7:00 and you'll likely get a show, as I did.
Sunrise at Bradford Beach.  Looks like the lake is on fire.
There are Sculptures on Ice in the Third Ward at Catalano Park and the mid block parks on Broadway, both Friday and Saturday (Jan 17-18)  Should be fun to see what the artists create.  They are competing for prizes and the theme is DISNEY!  Who wouldn't love that?

This Saturday morning, the Domes has their weekly Winter Farmer's Market from 9-1.  Admission to the market is free.  The newest exhibit also opens, which is the Gas Lamp Express Garden Train Show and it runs through the end of March.  G-scale trains wind their way along 600 feet of track through a Victorian landscape, in celebration of the industrialized world in the age of steam-powered technology.  Remember the Domes are free to Milwaukee residents Monday mornings with a local address on your ID card.

You can get a ride with the Sled dogs at Whitnall Park near the warming house/golf clubhouse at the sledding area, both Saturday and Sundays, 11-1 through February.  The cost is $15 per person, and you really need to be there early to get a ticket.  Each person gets a number and they may not be able to accommodate everyone.  You can always bring a sled and go down the sledding hill too.  These dogs are just magnificent.  It takes 8 of them to pull the sled.  There are also friendly dogs you can pet.  This is a non-profit organization with loving people who care for these dogs.
Some of the sled dogs that will be at Whitnall Park

On Saturday, January 18, you can ski at Three Bridges Park with the Urban Ecology Center- Menomonee Valley Branch.  Be sure to sign up at their website.  There is a cost.  Next weekend, Jan 25, 12-4, the Urban Ecology Center at Washington Park will hold their Winterfest.  Expect lots of outdoor fun, depending on weather.  The Door County Sled dogs will make an appearance.  There will be sledding, ice skating, and indoor treats as well.  They are still collecting milk cartons to make an igloo, so bring those if you have them.  You can go there this weekend to check out the ice rink that just opened.

Wehr Nature Center is always a good choice.  Bring your snowshoes or just hike the trails.  You can also rent snow shoes there.  Be sure to go down to the waterfalls if weather permits.  It's partially frozen and quite pretty.  It's already too late to sign up for the adult owl prowl this weekend, but next weekend is the family owl prowl.  Check their events page for more information about costs and times.
Whitnall Park waterfall from the Wehr Nature Center side
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center has their usual word with a bird event this weekend.  Drop in and see what they have on display from 1-2 every Saturday and Sunday.  Trails to the beach are in good shape and the icecanos are forming so you may be able to slide on them.  The lake is definitely worth a look if you go.  Next weekend is the Winter Carnival on Sunday, January 27, 12-4.

For any skiing, snowboarding, or tubing, head to the Rock Sports Complex.  Their Facebook page always has the latest events and deals.  Weather permitting, all the area sled hills and ice rinks will be open, although the ice rinks aren't in great shape due to freezing/thawing, so if ice skating is your thing, I'd recommend Slice of Ice at Red Arrow Park.

If you like ice fishing or can find open water, fishing is free this weekend anywhere in Wisconsin. You don't need a license for both Saturday and Sunday.

Boerner Botanical Gardens hosts their Winter Woods Walk and Winterfest  January 26, 10-2.  Dress for the weather and you can walk outdoors.  There will also be crafts and refreshments indoors.

Mark your calendars for Havenwoods State Park's Winter-Naturefest Saturday, Feb 15.  You can meet animals, participate in activities, and of course if weather permits, there is always hiking or snowshoeing.  They'll have a campfire all day long to warm up.

So many choices!  Hope you get out and have some fun!
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