Foxwoods Rink & Winter Patio: For those who are not afraid to brave the winter weather and see themselves sitting by an outdoor fireplace, look no further than the Rink and Winter Patio at Foxwoods. Enjoy a hot chocolate after a spin on the ice in this lighted winter wonderland. Admission for age 13 and older is $10, with a skate rental fee of $5. The cost for children age 12 and younger is $6 to skate, with a skate rental fee of $2. Foxwoods Reward Card Holders are given varying lev-els of discount for admission. foxwoods.com
Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum: This indoor rink is the on-campus home for the UConn Men's and Women's ice hockey teams. The rink is open for public skating ses-sions with $7 admission and skate rentals for $5. Be sure to bring cash or check, as credit and debit cards are not accepted here. Free parking is available in the lot outside the rink, which is located at 509 Jim Calhoun Way on the UConn Storrs campus. Their public skating schedule is available at uconnhuskies.com/facilities, but skaters should double-check for changes by calling 860-486-3808.
Champions Skating Center: Skate like a champion! This indoor sports complex boasts two ice rinks, sports shops, and a fitness center with a pool. It is the official practice facility for the Hartford Wolf Pack, but also allows public skating. Pub-lic skate sessions are one hour in length, and cost $7 per skater plus $3 to rent skates if needed. Ice Hockey and general ice skating lessons are available as well. Champions Skating Center is located at 6 Progress Drive in Cromwell. championsskatingcenter.com
Edward L. Bennett Rink: Run by the West Haven Board of Education, this indoor rink is home to the West Haven High School Blue Devils girls and boys hockey team. Pub-lic skate sessions are every Sunday from 1:30 – 3:00 pm, with some additional ses-sions listed in their calendar online. Admission is $5, and skates can be rented for an additional $5. Visit bennettrink.com or call 203-931-6890 for more information.
Newington Ice Arena: This arena has it all: two ice rinks, a pro-shop, a café, fitness center, mirrored dance room, and amenities for events up to 100 people! Admission for open skate is $6 on weekdays, and $7 on the weekends. Rentals skates are available for $3 on a first come, first served basis. Other skating activities include music-and-lights-filled Ice Jams, open hockey practice, Stick Time pick-up games, and freestyle skating sessions. The Newington Ice Arena is located at 300 Alumni Road. Skating lessons for beginners are available year-round. newingtonarena.com
Milford Ice Pavilion: Public skate sessions are held 7 days a week, excluding hol-idays. Admission is $7 for adults and free for children under 5. Skate rental is free, although college students receive reduced admission and free rentals with school ID. Besides public skate, the rink hosts hockey, figure skating, skating lessons, and birthday parties. There is also a snack bar that serves everything from breakfast to pizza. Find this rink at 291 Bic Drive in Milford.
Washington Trust Community Skating Center: Experience a little winter magic in Rhode Island at this wonderful outdoor skating rink. The skate fee at Washington Trust is $8 for adults or $5 for children and seniors, with discounts available for YMCA members. Skate rentals are $4, and food and hot beverages are available at the concession stands. Restrooms are located in the north side of rental build-ing and are surrounded rubber mats, making them accessible without having to re-move your skates. The rink is located at 61 Main Street in Westerly, with parking available in the lot on Commerce Street. Public skate is 7 days a week but times vary, so check their schedule online at oceancommunityymca.org.
Wilcox Park: Wilcox Park is a beautiful place to spend the day in every season. In the winter, the park transforms into a beloved sledding spot frequented by locals. The park is open year round, and there are public restrooms available at the adja-cent Westerly Library. Wilcox Park is located on Broad Street, and street parking in downtown Westerly is free. westerlylibrary.org
Lyman Allyn Art Museum: Sledding is allowed and encouraged on the grounds of Lyman Allyn. The best hill is located next to the front parking lot, outside of the mu-seum's front doors. The museum will allow the use of the first floor restrooms without charging admission – but a tour of the galleries might be a great way to warm up after playing in the snow! You can find the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London on 625 Williams Street. lymanallyn.org
Horsebarn Hill: A very popular sledding destination in Storrs, this huge hill is not for the faint of heart! The more adventurous sledders will often make ramps from packed snow, and parents with young children should be aware that people come down the hill very fast. Horsebarn hill can be found by the animal barns on UConn’s main campus. Public restrooms are available at the UConn Dairy Bar, Kel-logg Dairy Center, or at Horsebarn Hill Arena. There is free visitor parking in front of UConn Horse Barn Unit I, or you can pay to park in the lot next to the arena. animalscience.uconn.edu
Washington Park: This beautiful Groton park has over 32 acres and a steep hill that is perfect for sledding. Parking is free, and there are public restrooms lo-cated at bottom of hill near the baseball field. Washington Park is on Meridian Street next to the Groton Municipal Building. cityofgroton.recdesk.com
Norwich Golf Course: Norwich’s public golf course allows families to sled on their grounds, except for at Hole 2 which has been deemed too dangerous. Restrooms will be available when the clubhouse is open, from 9 am to 3 pm. The golf course is located at 685 New London Turnpike in Norwich. norwichgolf.com
Pierson Park: You can find Pierson Park next to the Cromwell Police Department on West Street. The best hill for sledding is the one closest to Timber Hill Road. Parking is free, but visitors should be aware that the restroom facilities will be closed for the season. cromwellct.com/recreation
Veterans Memorial Park: If you live in or near Jewett City, try sledding at Veter-ans Memorial Park! The park does not have restroom facilities, but parking is available the Youth Center on 68 Ashland Street. griswoldyfs.com
Powder Ridge Park: Snow tubing lets you experience all the fun of sledding without having to lug your toboggan up the hill over and over again. Passes will run you $28 for a two hour session, or $36 for four hours. Both options include a tube and helmet. Tubing is available 7 days a week, but it is highly recommended to make a reservation ahead of time by phone. Tubing parties for up to 10 guests are also available! There is no specific age or height requirement for participating in tubing, but children must be capable of riding alone at speeds up to 25-30 miles per hour. Other winter activities at the park include skiing, snowboarding, and snowbiking. Powder Ridge Park is at 99 Powder Hill Road in Middletown. http://powderridgepark.com/
Yawgoo Valley: Open every weekend during the winter, Yawgoo Valley’s tubing park has seven perfect lanes, and tow ropes so you can sit back and enjoy the ride! Tickets are $15 for a 50 minute session, and are only available for tubers 42 inches and taller. Purchase tickets at the ticket window, or buy them online to avoid the lines. Try to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled session, as refunds are not offered if you miss your timeslot. And sure to check the weath-er when buying your tickets! Tubing speed can be reduced in warm weather, so go on a cold day for maximum fun. Yawgoo Valley also offers skiing, snowboarding, and group classes or private lessons for both. The Snow Tubing Park is located at 220 Yawgoo Valley Road, Exeter, RI. yawgoo.com
Click here for more from the winter issue of Connecticut Family magazine.