by Erin Collins, Special Events Coordinator
at the Buffalo Museum of Science

The Christmas decorations have been taken down and St. Patrick’s Day is still two months away. For Buffalonians, that means winter. It’s easy to fall into a weekend pattern of food, couch, sleep, repeat during these cold post-holiday weeks. Don’t let it happen! Take advantage of Western New York’s many outdoor activities that are perfect for this time of year.

Kissing Bridge in Colden, N.Y. is a great place to prevent cabin fever. A short, scenic drive from Buffalo, skiers, snowboarders and even those less adventurous will find something to do there. I ventured down with friends and family last weekend to take advantage of KB’s “2 for 40 on Route 240” promotion. From 4 until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, two night passes are only $40 when purchased together. For $20 each, you and a friend can hit the slopes and enjoy a night of winter fun.

While some of my companions that night were avid skiers, I am not. In between tumbles and trying not to break a leg, it really was fun to get out of the house and breathe in some fresh, crisp air. (Or gasp below-freezing air while trying to catch my breath on a ten-degree night). In all seriousness though, nothing beats the view from the ski lift at KB. Looking down on lush, beautiful pine trees covered in sparkly, white snow as puffy flakes fall down around you makes the challenge of skiing totally worth it.

Even if you’re like me and skiing involves more time picking yourself up than gliding down the trail, you can still relax at one of KB’s four bars and restaurants when you’ve had enough snow up your back. From gourmet pizza and fish fries to fireside fine dining, there are many options to choose from when you need to take a rest. If you’re not a skier but don’t want to miss out on the fun, weekends at KB feature live music by local bands. So take a drive down to enjoy the atmosphere and spend some time at one of Western New York’s most scenic places.

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by Melissa Barrie

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to hibernate – enjoy one of the many winter activities that Buffalo has to offer. My top ten include:

Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament
Held on the last weekend in February, this tournament (pictured at left) has expanded into 112 teams battling for bragging rights on the icy shores of Lake Erie at the Erie Basin Marina. This year the event also coincides with the brand new Buffalo Powder Keg Festival – a list of possible events include snow volleyball, a chili cook-off, curling, and snow soccer.

Sledding in Delaware Park
Take your sled and enjoy the winter wonderland at Delaware Park.

Ice skating at Rotary Rink
Bring your own skates and skate for free at Fountain Plaza downtown, or rent skates at $2 for children and $3 for adults.
Hours: Tuesday – Friday 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. & 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturdays 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Tobogganing at Chestnut Ridge
Get your wooden toboggans out and head to Chestnut Ridge Park, one of the only parks in the country with toboggan runs. They’re finally open this year after a four-year hiatus.

Tubing at Colden Tubing Company
Western New York’s largest downhill tubing park. Enjoy unlimited night tubing on Fridays 5-9pm for $15!
Hours: Friday 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Saturdays 10:00am – 9:00pm
Sundays 10:00am – 6:00pm

With so many great ski resorts in this area to choose from, how will you make up your mind? Start here.

Enjoy the winter weather while taking a snow shoe hike. Snowshoe rentals are available during the winter at Tifft Nature Preserve and the Beaver Meadow Audobon Center.

Attend a Buffalo Sabres Game
Or a Buffalo Bandits game, or support your local college team for that matter. There are plenty to choose from – search here . Don’t forget about the NCAA Basketball Tournament here March 18th-21st!

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Celebrate the last Sunday of winter with the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade held on Delaware Avenue. This year it falls on March 14th – more information can be found here.

If you’re not in the mood to brave the cold weather, take in a performance at one of our many local theaters.

What would your Top Ten things to do in Buffalo during the winter include?

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by Denise Drews

Are you looking for something fun to do this winter? How about checking out Rotary Rink in downtown Buffalo?

Recently I brought my two nieces that live in the suburbs into downtown to have them experience a world outside of their cul-de-sac and show them where their aunt works. My youngest niece could not take her eyes off the ice skaters and asked if we could “please, please” go ice skating. It reminded her of that “place in New York City”…just on a smaller scale. Since we had no restrictions on time I said heck, why not?

We walked up to the counter and asked to rent skates. The price was right at $3 for adults and $2 for children. We also were told that if we have our own skates we can skate for free. After this trip, I know we’ll be back with skates in hand!

We skated for about an hour and had a blast. There were only a few falls, nothing major. We were getting a bit cold so we ventured inside the heated concession area. They had a few different snack items for sale but we went with the toastiest of options ~ hot chocolate. We sat, drank and continued to watch our fellow skaters having such a nice time. After we warmed up, we returned our rentals and ventured back to the car.

I’d recommend placing Rotary Rink on your list of things to do in winter – in Buffalo.

Open now till March 14th, weather dependent, Rotary Rink is downtown Buffalo’s only outdoor ice-skating rink. It is managed & operated by Buffalo Place and partnered with the City of Buffalo since 1998.

Hours of operation are:
Tuesday- Friday 11AM-2PM & 5PM-9PM
Saturday 11AM-10PM
Sunday 11AM-6PM
Closed Mondays

Contact information: Rotary Rink @ Fountain Plaza. 716.854.RINK (7465)
Main Street (Between W.Chippewa & W.Huron Streets)

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by Ed Healy

xcountryskiingIn the popular imagination Buffalo is synonymous with snow. And while this may or may not be justified (we usually lose the annual New York State Golden Snowball Award  to Syracuse) the fact remains that Western New York offers visitors a wealth of winter fun. Pond hockey, tubing, sledding, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and ice fishing are among the many outdoor activities to be found in our corner of the Great White North.

Although I occasionally hit the slopes at Kissing Bridge and Holiday Valley, I spend many winter weekends either cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Cross-country skiing is possibly the most fun you’ll ever have doing a really strenuous cardio workout and snowshoeing is a fantastic way to take an invigorating winter walk in the woods. If you’re tired of the treadmill, bored with the elliptical or so over the stationary bike, try one of these great winter workouts.

The Buffalo Niagara region has a wealth of great places to both cross country ski and snowshoe. Some of my favorites include the Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora, Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park, Tifft Nature Preserve  on the Buffalo waterfront, and Sprague Brook Park in Colden, but my personal favorite is Beaver Meadow Audubon Center in North Java (a relatively easy 45-minute drive from Buffalo). The Buffalo Audubon Society has operated this 324-acre nature preserve for more than 50 years. It offers public access to an 8-mile network of trails that feature a variety of beautiful landscapes and scenic views. A visit to Beaver Meadow is always an uplifting experience. I have never left this gorgeous piece of property not feeling better than when I arrived.

Snowshoe rentals are available at the Visitors Center, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. The Visitors Center is closed on Mondays.