Are you looking for family-friendly activities to keep your family busy this winter? Here is our list of fun and free things to do in Niagara this winter:
Gather the kids' warm clothes and set out for a winter nature walk around the short trails throughout Niagara. If you've got little kids with little legs, you might want to bring a sled for them to sit in if they get tired. Walking in snow pants and boots can be tiring!
Some kid-friendly trails include:
Heartland Forest (8215 Heartland Forest Road, Niagara Falls)
Heartland forest is a great nature area for the family to enjoy. Trails are open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk, with free admission.
St. John’s Conservation Area (3101 Barron Road, Thorold)
A short little walk around a beautiful pond as well as some short trails through the woods.
Woodend Conservation Area (1 Taylor Road, St. Catharines)
Hike or ski the trails of Woodend, including the Bruce Trail, as they meander through the meadow and escarpment forest and slope.
Dufferin Islands (Located just south of the Falls on the Niagara Parkway, between the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse and the Rapidsview Parking Lot)
Dufferin Islands is a quiet, secluded park containing several small islands connected by small bridges and footpaths. Dufferin Islands is home to the "Winter Festival of Lights" from November to January each year, with many animated lighting displays all around the park. Admission is free, but voluntary donations are accepted during the Winter Festival of Lights. Parking (free) is easy if you want to walk the park or you can drive through at your leisure. Dufferin Islands is open daily, year round.
2. Christmas Lights Tour
There are so many lights to see at the Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, but there are also many houses in the Niagara region that dress up their houses with thousands of lights. Take a tour around the area to all of the houses that you may have missed before Christmas. Look HERE for a list of Christmas Light displays in Niagara.
3. Outdoor Skating
Grab your skates and take the kids to an outdoor skating rink.
Fort George (51 Queen's Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake)
There is a new outdoor rink at Fort George . Skating is free, although there will be a cost for skate rentals and anything purchased from the concessions. The rink is open free to the community on Fridays, from 5-9 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 2-4 p.m. and 5-9 p.m., and Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2-4 p.m.
Ravine Vineyards (1366 York Road, St. Davids, ON)
It is open Tuesday - Sunday, between 10am-6pm and is free.
Hilary Bald Outdoor Rink (Garden Gate Terrace, Beamsville)
The outdoor rink will be open December – March (weather permitting). The rink will be open daily from 9 am until 9 pm.
The Lions Outdoor Ice Skating Rink (1406 Drummond Rd., Niagara Falls)
A one-sheet outdoor ice skating rink, open seasonally.
Chippawa Park Pond (First Avenue and Fitch Street, Welland)
Woodlawn Bush (Woodlawn Rd, between South Pelham and Rice Rd., Welland)
Civic Square (60 E Main St., Welland)
The Freise Zone. (Town Hall / Peach King Centre, 162 Livingston Ave, Grimsby)
4. Indoor Free Skate Days
Tim Hortons restaurant owners proudly offer complimentary skating during the winter season at local community arenas across the country. Here are the free skates in the Niagara region between Dec. 24 and Jan 8, 2016.
Sledding/tobogganing is a fun winter activity the whole family can enjoy. Here are some places in the Niagara region with great hills for sledding:
- Welland Canal Lock 7 hill in Thorold
- Jaycee Park (543 Ontario St., St. Catharines)
- Burgoyne Woods Park (30 Edgedale Road, St. Catharines)
- Stamford Collegiate High School (5775 Drummond Road, Niagara Falls)
- FH Leslie Park (5250 Valley Way, Niagara Falls) - for smaller kids
- Barbican Heights Park (96 Barbican Tr., St. Catharines) - a very tiny hill for smaller kids
- HH Knoll Lakeview Park (Sugar Loaf Street and Elm Street, Port Colborne)
- Sugar Bowl Park (100 Gilmore Road, Fort Erie)
- Chippawa Park (128 Fitch St., Welland
- Fort George, across from Navy Hall (51 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake)
- Marlene Stewart Streit Park (55 Park Ln, Fonthill)
6. Visit the Library
The libraries in the region have FREE (or for a small cost) programs and events happening throughout the winter. Keep warm inside and curl up with a few good books or enjoy a fun craft.
Check your local library for events!
7. Visit a local Ontario Early Years Centre
Ontario Early Years Centres offer a place for children up to the age of six and their parents/ caregivers to play and take part in programs and activities together. Let your young ones play, create, and socialize inside this winter when it's too cold for outdoor play.
Have fun and enjoy everything the winter season has to offer!