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Top Tips for Enjoying Winter in Monroe County Parks With Your Family

by T.C. Pellett

Visit a park in western New York's winter? You bet! Here are the top reasons you and your kids should visit a Monroe County Park this winter, and make the most out of what the season has to offer!

1. The Seneca Park Zoo is open!

There are lots of great reasons why Seneca Park Zoo was voted #2 on the KidsOutAndAbout.com Top 20 Places to Take Kids in Rochester list, and winter is part of that reason! Many people still think the Zoo closes for the winter, but it's open 361 days a year. Winter is the best time to see such species as the Polar Bear and Amur Tiger in their native temperatures.

2. You don’t need a mountain to downhill ski!

There is downhill skiing and lessons at both Powder Mills and Northampton Parks.

3. Visit the Tropics in February…without leaving Rochester!

The Lamberton Conservatory’s restored tropical dome lets you warm up with several varieties of plant species 7 days a week.

4. Celebrate the snow!

Every January, Winterfest descends upon Mendon Ponds Park featuring dog sled races, winter camping demos, and lots more winter fun.

5. Get a team together for some original pond hockey!

Ice skating is welcome at Highland, Ellison, and Churchville Parks.

6. Sledding? Yeah, we got that.

There are 6 parks that feature safe, designated sledding hills ready and waiting for your discs, your toboggans, or dinner trays. Sledding is permitted on designated hills in:

Black Creek Park

      - North Chili. Black Creek Park has one designated sledding hill that is located behind the Woodside Lodge. This hill is open to the public throughout the winter months if snowy conditions exist.


Ellison Park

      - Brighton/Penfield. The sledding hill is located off of Landing Road by the Disc Golf Course. The ice skating rink is located in the large parking lot off of Blossom Road. There are no skate rentals; you must bring your own.


Mendon Ponds Park

      - Mendon. There are two designated sledding hills located across from the Cavalry House Lodge on Douglas Road, and next to the East and West Lodges on Canfield Road.


Northampton Park

      - Sweden/Ogden. The designated Sledding hill is located across the street from the Ski Lodge on Hubble Road, featuring a ski hill with a rope tow, which is located on Hubble Road.


Powder Mills Park

      - Pittsford. There is one designated sledding hill located by the North and South Lodges.

 

      and

Webster Park

      - Webster. Webster Park has one designated sledding hill which is open to the public. The sledding hill is located next to the Parkview Lodge, right off of Holt Road.



7. Fresh Fishing!

If the ice is thick, bundle up and see what they’re bitin’ on at Durand Eastman, Mendon, and Irondequoit Bay West Parks.

8. Wild Wings, wild shoes.

If you’ve been thinking about trying snowshoeing, rent some at Wild Wings in Mendon Ponds Park and explore away. Of course if you have some shoes already, stomp away on any designated hiking trail, or in open fields, in any Monroe County Park.


Need more ideas or details? Go to monroecounty.gov/parks and download the Winter Activities in the Monroe County Parks” PDF info sheet. Make sure to keep it on the fridge door or the list will melt!


T.C. Pellett is Marketing & Education Manager of the Monroe County Parks Department in Rochester, NY.

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