Winter is finally here to stay in Northern Michigan and we’ve been getting hit with snow left and right. That being said, it’s a little bit harder for me to get out of the house with the kiddos. I won’t lie, I’m not a huge fan of winter. I put up with it, being that my husband was born and raised a Yooper and according to him, this is as far south as he will ever live. I merely put up with the cold and snowy winter months because I love him. I don’t mind a few minutes outside here and there but I’d honestly rather be curled up next to our pellet stove with a hot cup of cocoa and a good book while the kids frolic outside and me keeping an eye on them from our large picture window. Yes, I definitely enjoy winter from the inside.
That being said, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast and in Northern Michigan this winter and looking for some fun and inexpensive outdoor activities, head to Petoskey’s Winter Sports Park. A hidden gem in the Petoskey area, the Winter Sports Park is located right off the 31 about a half mile from the Petoskey’s downtown Gaslight district. Admission to the Winter Sports Park is free and offers sledding, snow boarding, ice skating, hockey and various other family and kid friendly outdoor activities.
(Photo Credit: Petoskey Winter Sports Park)
Don’t have skates? No problem, skate rental is $5 if you need to rent a pair. New this year to the park are the ice ‘scooters’ for those that are new to ice skating. I love these because in previous years trying to help a kiddo new to skating for really hard and these help a ton! They have eight of them so you are apt to find one that isn’t being used.
Now, if you’re like me and would rather enjoy the park from inside the warming house where you can watch the kiddos from the large windows and enjoy a selection of free books to read, board games, wifi (I love bringing my iPad if I have work to catch up on), a fireplace, a large HDTV flat screen for the guys to watch sports and a concession stand that is fully stocked with everything from hot cocoa to hot dogs. The kids can spend hours here while you relax and sip your hot chocolate.
Things to keep in mind –
- The park does have a few extra sleds to use but recommend bringing your own as it is first come, first served and you are not guaranteed one. If you’re up spending the weekend, head over to Meyer Ace Hardware right downtown off Lake Street – free parking behind City Park Grill or metered parking up on Mitchell. They have reasonably priced sleds and it feels good to shop local.
- Bring cash. the Winter Sports Park does not take credit or debit cards and there is no ATM machine.
(My youngest and oldest at the top of the sled hill)
My in-laws were in town this past weekend along with my husband’s sister’s family. We spent the afternoon swimming at the Holiday Inn here in Petoskey and then headed to the Winter Sports Park mid-afternoon. The kids had an absolute blast and we didn’t leave for dinner until about 6pm. We could have easily stayed longer if it would have been up to the kids. We plan on going back this weekend!