Places to Get Out And About (Safely) in Rochester This Winter
Your family could really use a fun outing, but you're committed to social distancing. Many popular nature trails and lake beaches seem like a good idea until you realize that many others had the same idea, making some of these destinations too crowded for comfort.. Luckily, there are new and interesting places to explore while staying a safe distance for others. If you can, switch your schedule and do your outings on weekdays to avoid weekend crowds. Here are a few suggestions you may not have considered, and all of them are in the Rochester area.
And don't forget your masks!
Swoosh Into The Season With Winter Sports
There's never been a better time to learn a new winter sport. Staying at home all the time is tedious, and we're all hoping that we can make this winter fly by. If you're not sure where to get started, begin with our Embrace the Winter article that offers an overview of some outdoor sports you might like to try. Whether you try ice skating, snowboarding, skiing or snowshoeing first we've got Big List of places within driving distance. Planning a weekend ski trip? Different resorts may be following different protocols, and you'll need to research area covid protocols if you'll be crossing state lines. Be sure to click on the ski resorts website to get all the details before setting out.
Spend Some Time In the Tropics At Highland Park's Lamberton Conservatory
A trip to the Carribbean might be out of the question, but a morning or afternoon spent in the humid warmth of a jungle habitat closer to home will make the frigid snowiness outside melt away. Within the glass walls of Lamberton Conservatory are many plants not hardy enough to survive Rochester's temperate climate. Under the main dome of the facility is a tropical floral display, complete with an observation deck for "bird's-eye" viewing. Other climate-controlled rooms contain collections of exotic tropical plants, desert plants, economic plants (such as banana and coffee trees), as well as carnivorous and house plants. Among the most popular attractions at the Conservatory are fauna and seasonal floral displays. Exhibits are changed seasonally so there is always something beautiful to see.
Zoos and Nature CentersFauna and flora in our corner of the world
While you're staying away from crowds of people, now's a great time for some animal encounters and the peace we find in the natural world. Your local zoos and nature centers offer just what we all need right now: space. Many have created brand-new programs designed to accommodate safety procedures while still giving visitors the opportunity to interact with meaningful parts of our world with room to breathe.
Take A Hike
Thinking of taking your kids on a hike nearby? It's great exercise, it lets you connect with nature and each other, and best of all, it's free. Put away the phones (except for cool activities like geocaching, looking up new plants, or making a photo collage or map) and head out to the trail! Click the link below for nearby options, and also check out our article of tips and tricks for making the most of the experience and avoiding whining.
Feed the Chickadees At Mendon Ponds Park
Feeding the chickadees at Mendon Ponds Park is a lovely winter tradition and a great way to get your kids excited about being out in nature. Fill your pockets with sunflower seeds and head to the Nature Center. Pick a spot on nearby or on the Birdsong Trail, extend your arm with a hand full of seeds and before you know it you'll be feeding a friendly, little bird.
Go On A Hunt
Kids love a good hunt! There is something very motivating and satisfying about seaching for something, whether it's treasure or not. One fun way to lean into that impulse is to go geocaching. Did you know that little treasures are hidden all over the place? If you've never tried geocaching, it's a wonderful opportunity for kids to get some activity outside while using using their deductive skills. There are also tons of companies that offer virtual scavenger hunts, either for items that you can find just about anywhere, or region-specific hunts that provide a tour of a special place. Both activities offer the chance to safely explore while keeping a distance from others.
When Staying Home Is Your Only Option
We know that things are changing quickly, and whether it's new local regulations or your own family's need to isolate, even the safest "out and about" options may not be appropriate for you at some point this winter. If that's the case, keep in mind that we've got plenty of ideas to keep life interesting while you're at home.