– By Christy Matte
Not everyone is excited to strap on those skis once the weather gets cold, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun outside. From sledding to skating, and snowshoeing to tubing, there are plenty of other great ways to enjoy snowy winter days.
Amesbury Sports Park
Admission: 3-Hour pass: $24, 5-Hour Pass: $32
Hours:Thursday & Friday: 3:30 p.m.- 9 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.
*Check for extended hours on school vacations and holidays)
If you like the thrills of zipping down a hill, but want something that takes less skill than standing on some skis, snow tubing may be just your thing. Amesbury Sports Park welcomes guests ages 4 and up. A conveyor lift brings you up the hill, so you can forget those childhood memories of spending most of your time dragging your sled around. Amesbury Sports Park has a full-service restaurant and bar, along with an arcade, for those who need a break from the hill. The park is just under an hour from Boston proper, right up Route 95.
CBS Boston Insider Tip: Kids 4 to 6 are required to wear helmets while tubing. Helmets are available to borrow if you don’t have your own.
If you’re west of the city or you’ve got some skiers in your group, Nashoba Valley (Westford) has both skiing and snow tubing available. http://www.skinashoba.com/tubing.html
If you’re taking little kids sledding, your best bet is to try schools and parks in your immediate vicinity. They are the best way for kids to safely learn how to control a sled without being run over by those who are larger and faster. On the other hand, if you want a more mature sledding experience, here are some spots with big hills and thrills. Keep in mind that most parks are open until sundown.
Larz Anderson Park
This public park is wonderful all year round, but in the winter boasts some great sledding and a skating rink. Bonus points for a snack shop and bathroom facilities.
Prospect Hill Park
This 250+ acre park was once a ski area. Expect some steep terrain.
The Arnold Arboretum is a Boston gem no matter what time of year you visit. But if you’re in the city and looking for a spot to bring your sled, this is it. It’s located on the Orange Line.
CBS Boston wants to know what’s your favorite sledding spot – click here to weigh in!
Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
Weston Ski Track
Weekends/Holidays: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Admission: Trail Passes are $15 for adults, $11 for Kids 13-16, $8 for kids 6-12 and free for kids 2-5
Other pass and rental information is available on their site.
Located on the Leo Martin Golf Course, the Weston Ski Track provides opportunities and instruction for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing for both adults and kids. Not only are these activities great exercise, but a nice way to enjoy the winter for those who aren’t excited about swooshing down hills.
Admission: Adults (14+): $5.00, Kids under 13: Free
Monday: 10 a.m.- 4 p. m.
Tuesday – Thursday, Sunday: 10 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Fridays & Saturdays: 10 a.m. -10 p.m.
This is the quintessential Boston winter activity. Located on the Boston Common, the Frog Pond is available for ice skating all winter long. New to the sport? Try out some skating lessons from the Skating Club of Boston. The Frog Pond Café is perfect for a hot drink after an afternoon of skating fun. Skate rentals are available for adults ($9.00) and kids ($5.00). The Boston Common is accessible via MBTA Green Line, Red Line, and Silver Line. Parking is in the Boston Common Garage. Here is our complete list of the Best Outdoor and Indoor Ice Skating spots in Boston. Link to Ice skating article scheduled to be published 12.31.11
Christy Matte is a local freelance writer and blogger, as well as co-founder of Boston Parent Bloggers. She blogs about parenting, travel, tech, and philanthropy at QuirkyFusion.com.