25 Things to do in Winter
1) Ice Skating
Grab your ice skates and head to the nearest rink or lagoon! There are multiple skating locations at Madison Parks, and rental/loaner skates are available.
2) Ice Lantern
Make ice lanterns for a seasonal outdoor decoration. This winter craft can be made with any size and shaped containers you choose!
3) Holiday Express
All aboard the holiday express at Olbrich Gardens! See large scale model trains and travel through a holiday landscape of poinsettias, evergreens, and festive decorations.
4) Animal Tracks
After a fresh snow, look for animal tracks. What shape are they? What animal do you think made them? What can you tell about it from its tracks? Where was it going?
5) Madison Children’s Museum
Feeling cooped up? Head over to the Madison Children’s Museum to play, create, and explore both inside and outside at the new Wonderground!
6) Ice Fishing
Try your hand at ice fishing! To get started, you’ll need a fishing rod, ice auger, a bucket with a seat, jigs, bait, a warm coat, and patience.
7) Snowstorm In A Jar
Create a snowstorm in a jar with this fun indoors winter craft! What do you think causes the “snow” to rise and fall? Why don’t the white and clear layers mix?
8) Zoo Lights
Experience the Zoo by night aglow with almost a million lights! Find your favorite animal friends in lights, and enjoy unlimited carousel rides.
9) Winter Nature Journal
There are still lots of things to see, hear, and observe in the winter! Take a walk or visit your yard and journal about what you notice.
10) UW Arboretum
Take a guided winter walk or nature hike at the Arboretum to learn about the winter landscape and experience the beauty of the season!
11) Make Icicles
You can grow icicles with just some string and a water bottle! Make a hole in the bottle and thread the string through, and let the water drip out and freeze to the string.
12) Cave Of The Mounds
Deep underground, Cave of the Mounds stays a comfortable 50 degrees all winter long. Take refuge from the weather under the earth and explore the cave!
13) Paper Snowflakes
Make paper snowflakes by folding a square piece of paper into quarters and cutting out designs. Or, you can even turn toilet paper rolls into snowflake decorations!
14) Snow Shoeing
Strap on some snowshoes and take a hike, even if the snow is deep you’ll be walking on top! You can rent snowshoes at some Madison parks to get started.
15) Photo Journal
Take pictures of your favorite winter landscapes and create a winter photo collection. Then share your best photos with Nature Net on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
16) MMSD Planetarium
It’s cold in space, but you can explore it from the comfort of the MMSD Planetarium! Join them for their public shows throughout the winter months.
Sledding is a great outdoor wintertime activity for all ages! Get your sleds, innertubes, and toboggans ready after a good snowfall and find a nearby hill.
18) UW Geology Museum
Visit the Geology Museum, where you can travel to the distant past and see an Ice Age mastodon and other fossils, meteorites, rocks that glow, and more!
19) Make A Bird Feeder
If you want to see more birds at home, try crafting an easy homemade bird feeder! Or make several and fill them with different seeds, and see what kinds of birds will come.
Take a close look at evergreen branches. How are the needles arranged? Are they in groups? How many needles are there? Can you count them? Do you see cones, or berries?
21) Welty Environmental Center
Join our friends at Welty for winter full moon hikes. See the moonlight on the snow, and keep an eye out for owls!
22) Pinecone Crafts
Paint a pinecone green and add pom poms or glitter to make a mini Christmas tree ornament. Or cover it in peanut butter and birdseed for a homemade bird feeder!
23) Dane County Parks
Dane County Parks has outings planned throughout the winter all over the county. Find a fun winter outdoor activity and join them!
24) Bird Count
Join in the Christmas Bird Count or the Great Backyard Bird Count! Take a walk through your neighborhood or local park, or just watch from your window.
25) Winter Farmers’ Market
Check out the winter farmer’s market and see what local foods and handcrafted items are available even in the depths of winter.