No Time to Hibernate

WNY offers plentiful winter fun

By Julie Halm

Winter weather is upon us, and while there are few feelings as wonderful as watching the snow fall while curled up with a hot drink, a good book, a classic movie or a loved one, there are also endless fun activities throughout Western New York to avoid going into full-on hibernation.

As the city itself seems to come more alive by the year, Canalside offers an array of activities for the whole family.

Riding a bicycle over an icy surface may generally seem like a poor life choice, unless of course you have an apparatus designed to do just that. Canalside’s website advertises Ice Bikes of Buffalo as the perfect option for those who are unsteady on skates.

A half hour will run you $12, but the bikes are only offered on certain days. Check out Canalside’s calendar for availability of this sport that is unique to Buffalo.

The ice rink at Canalside can also help an individual or the whole family stay active throughout the winter months. A season pass — which includes ice skating admission, rentals, two “buddy” admissions and discounts to numerous local businesses — is just more than $57 for an individual or $149 for a family pack.

The slippery surface can also be used by those looking to pick up a new skill; specifically, curling. For those unfamiliar with the sport, admission comes with all of the necessary equipment and an instructor. All you need is yourself and three friends to play.

The curling lanes can be rented for $10 or $15 per person, depending on the time and day, and each of the two lanes can accommodate up to 10 people.

For more information, schedules and to make reservations, visit

Those seeking for a more Currier and Ives-style setting can jaunt down to Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park that offers a plethora of wintertime activities.

Perhaps the most unique to the park is its toboggan chutes offering high-speed fun to visitors. Standing at 20 feet, the chutes have stood atop the hill for nearly 90 years. When weather permits, they are open from 4-8 p.m. on Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The accompanying sledding hill, for those looking for a slightly more subdued thrill, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. as long as weather allows.

Taking in the beauty of a WNY winter day can be a challenge at those speeds but the park also offers snow shoeing, cross country skiing, hiking and snowmobiling on designated trails for enjoyment at a slower pace.

For more information, call 858-8513.

Although the greenery of the region may be covered in snow, there is still plenty of wildlife to be observed. Children and their families can stay active by participating in Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve’s Christmas Bird Count for Kids to be held beginning at 9 a.m. Jan. 5 at 93 Honorine Drive, Depew.

Aimed at children aged 8 to 16, but open to siblings, teams of four to six children and chaperoning adults will spend 90 minutes dispersed and exploring designated trails for birds.

This event is held throughout the United States and Canada and at Reinstein Woods, it includes a pizza lunch and prizes.

For more information and to register, visit

Families with little ones may want to stay active without feeling the winter chill. There are many indoor options to exhaust the kids without destroying the house.

Rolly Pollies is a gym of sorts, for children aged 4 months to 12 years. Various age-specific weekly classes focus not only on physical activity, but intellectual, emotional and social growth, according to the company’s website. The programs also incorporate music and creative arts into the curriculum.

If a class seems like too much of a commitment, the facility also offers open play sessions and has open play sessions reserved specifically for children with special needs.

For more information, visit