By Rylee Osterberg, Education Intern
Wisconsin winters are notoriously long lasting. From as early as October to as late as April, cold temperatures and sometimes snow force us indoors to the warmth and comfort of our homes. But when the weather leaves us feeling stuck inside and stir crazy with cabin fever, it’s important to get out and enjoy what winter offers whenever you can.
Exercising in winter is not only great for your physical health but your mental health as well. Spending time outdoors gives us a positive mindset and allows us to absorb Vitamin D from the sunshine that we lack when we stay inside too long. Finding a fun winter activity can reduce stress and promote a general sense of well-being, too. It also boosts our immune system, helps to enhance our creativity and focus, and can chase away those winter blues.
So what kinds of winter activities does the Garden have for you to enjoy? I’ve got a few for you!
Take a Winter Hike
Hiking is one of the best things to do in the winter because it allows you to appreciate the natural beauty all around you that you might miss by staying inside.
Luckily, the Garden has plenty of trails for you and your family to explore, even in the winter months.
Put on Snowshoes
Prior to working at the Garden, I had never gone snowshoeing before. I had a general idea of what to expect – you essentially strap large, flat shoes to your boots to make it easier to walk around in the snow. They help keep you from sinking too far down.
But I honestly had no idea how fun it would be! Snowshoeing in different areas of the Garden with school and scout groups has taught me all about the local wildlife and has given me an innate appreciation for how beautiful the snow looks. Take some time to rent a pair of snowshoes in the Fischer Visitor Center (they’re free with admission!) and see what kinds of animal tracks you can find on the trails.
Find Picturesque Winter Spots
The Garden has plenty of beautiful views to check out during the winter months, and I encourage you to grab a map from the staff in the Fischer Visitor Center and see if you can find any of the spots I’ve pointed out here:
Jenquine Pavilion: Hike up to the top of this overlook for a beautiful view!
Laura and Lester G. Wood Memorial Grove: A gorgeous structure surrounded by woodland plants. This is also a great place to take photos or just have a quiet moment in nature.
Spring House Ruin in the King Shade Garden: This is a must-see in the winter due to its natural beauty.
Mary Hendrickson Johnson Wisconsin Woodland Garden: If you have a fascination for cool seeds and berries, this is the stop for you.
Les and Dar Stumpf Hobbit House: This is the perfect spot to take your little hobbits. There’s a trail leading to the top of the house for spectacular views, and plenty of room to run around and explore.
Larsen Orchard Remnant: Woodland creatures love this area of the Garden due to it being a natural food source in the winter. Come here to find birds and animal tracks!
Winter activities can help get both our bodies and minds in shape and it’s fun for the whole family. Even though warmer temperatures seem to announce the arrival of spring, we’ve been fooled before. If you’re feeling cooped up after long days spent indoors, come to the Garden, get outside and connect with nature!