When you live in Northeast Ohio, there's no escaping old man winter's frosty grip, so why not make the best of it? Cleveland Metroparks is a winter, wonder playground offering a stockingful of outdoor recreational opportunities. Whether it's sledding, ice skating, fishing, tobogganing, snowshoeing or cross country skiing, there's a cold weather activity to satisfy just about any interest or skill level. Bundle up and trek to one of Cleveland Metroparks 18 reservations. Enjoy your favorite winter pastime or try something new. Outdoor recreation provides many physical benefits and it improves social and mental well-being. It's a sure cure for cabin fever!
Sledding, Snowboarding and TobogganingYoung and young-at-heart sledding and snowboarding enthusiasts will enjoy coasting down a number of hills including some with night lighting. Favorites include Old River Farm Picnic Area in North Chagrin Reservation in Mayfield Heights or Barrett Road Sledding Hill in Rocky River Reservation in Berea. For a more extreme experience, Cleveland Metroparks Chalet Toboggan Chutes provide an icy thrill - traveling up to speeds of 50 mph - down twin refrigerated ice chutes located in Mill Stream Run Reservation in Strongsville. For toboggan rates, hours and more information, visit clevelandmetroparks.com/tchutes or call 440-572-9990.Ice Skating and Ice Fishing When weather and ice conditions are ideal, lace up your ice skates or grab your rod and reel and head to a Cleveland Metroparks inland lake or pond. Some popular "hot" spots are Wallace Lake in Mill Stream Run Reservation, Hinckley Lake in Hinckley Reservation and Rocky River Lagoon in Rocky River Reservation. Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing Buckle up those skis or snowshoes and traverse the fairways and rough areas at Little Met, Mastick Woods, Shawnee Hills, and Sleepy Hallow golf courses when there is a 4 inch base of snow. Big Met and Seneca golf courses feature groomed trails. Big Met offers ski and snowshoe rentals in the Club House. And join Cleveland Metroparks Outdoor Recreation Department on January 11 and 25 and February 1 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for snowshoe rental and lessons at Squire's Castle located off Chagrin River Road in North Chagrin Reservation in Willoughby Hills. For rates and information about other snowshoe programs, visit clevelandmetroparks.com/or or call 216-341-1704. Hiking and WalkingExplore miles of trails while enjoying the beautiful winter scenery and serenity found throughout the �Emerald Necklace� this time of year. Enjoy an invigorating hike on your own or join a group hike at a nature center led by a knowledgeable Cleveland Metroparks naturalist or volunteer. Visit the "Emerald Necklace" publication or clevelandmetroparks.com for details. And Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open year-round with reduced winter rates and crowds. Take a brisk stroll through the Zoo while viewing bears, reindeer, tigers, Mexican gray wolves, elephants and many other animals. Or escape the cold and retreat inside to The RainForest where it's 80 degrees, 365 days of the year. Soak up the lush jungle plants, towering trees and a variety of exotic animals, birds and reptiles. For Zoo rates, hours and directions, visit clevelandmetroparks.com/zoo or call 216-661-6500. All Cleveland Metroparks reservations are open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information and directions, visit clevelandmetroparks.com or call 216-635-3200. Some of the best locations to enjoy winter recreation are located right in your own back yard here in Cleveland Metroparks - Discover, Enjoy, Protect!