Take a hint from the groundhog: It's time to emerge from the
burrow and see the sun again. Looking for ways to shake them from
their seasonal slumber? It's best to have some ideas to tempt them
outdoors. For a well-deserved day-ending treat, try our Hot Chocolate with
Homemade Marshmallow Topping recipe.
Hit the slopes tucked into an inner tube and get ready for
the ride of your life as you bounce down the hill. Mount Hoy, at
Blackwell Forest Preserve (on Butterfield Road, a half-mile west of
Winfield Road), offers tubing when three or more inches of snow
cover the hill. Rent inner tubes on weekends and school holidays
for $4 per tube per day (cash only) from December through February
at the base of the hill. Only rented tubes are allowed on the
City dwellers don't have far to go to leave the urban
hustle and bustle behind while gliding along on cross-country skis
in the forest. Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in Lemont
rents out cross-country skis for visitors to use on their trails
through some of the most pristine natural areas in the Chicago
area. Skis and instruction are available at the new Learning
Center, which also includes a Great Lodge room, complete with
fireplace and comfy chairs for post-ski warm up. Equipment can be
checked out 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. for use on Sagawau trails only. Sagawau Environmental
Learning Center, 12545 W. 111th St., Lemont. (630)
For an urban oasis in the heart of the city, head to
Northerly Island on the Museum Campus off Lake Shore Drive. Not
actually an island, this park juts out into Lake Michigan. During
weekends in January, when there's three or more inches of snow,
check out free snow shoes and cross-country skis for the whole
family and get some cold-weather exercise. Equipment can be checked
out 10 a.m.-4 p.m., while supplies last. Snowshoeing is recommended
for kids 6 and up, says Marta Juaniza, spokesperson for the Chicago
Park District, which oversees the island. On Jan. 22, Northerly
Island hosts Polar Adventure Days, a day filled
with winter fun. For more information, call (312) 742-2910.
Equipment rental isn't available during Chicago Bears home
While we don't have any towering mountains nearby, we
still have slopes, and your kids will love the chance to hit them
with just a short drive to Four Lakes in Lisle. The resort has five
runs, a beginner's hill and a terrain park, along with lessons for
everyone 4 and up. Lift tickets $25, ski rental $16, snowboard
rental $38, plus deposit. Lessons run $45 private and $30
semi-private per person. Four Lakes, 5790 Lakeside Drive, Lisle.
(630) 964-2551 (reservations), (630) 964-2550 (snow hotline), skifourlakes.com.
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