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When school's out, outdoor recreation keeps families happy, active

Whether students are out of class for winter break or have an unexpected day off due to weather conditions, embrace the snow and frosty temperatures at Oakland County Parks and Recreation. The 13-park system is a winter wonderland this time of the year with opportunities for nature viewing, outdoor recreation and learning enrichment.

 

Bundle up to enjoy a favorite activity or discover a new interest. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Addison Oaks County Park grooms the 2.5-mile Buhl Lake Trail for skiing. In addition to groomed ski trails, Independence Oaks County Park provides snowshoe and cross-country ski equipment rentals on Saturdays and Sundays. Ungroomed trails are available at Highland Oaks, Lyon Oaks, Orion Oaks and Rose Oaks county parks.
  • Set out on a winter hike. Take a walk on more than 70 miles of trails after a fresh snow for a breathtaking view. All parks, with the exception of Groveland Oaks County Park and Lyon Oaks Golf Course, are open for short walks and long treks.
  • Take the family ice skating on Crooked Lake in Independence Oaks County Park when conditions permit.
  • Try out fat tire biking at Addison Oaks County Park. Similar to mountain biking, fat tire bikes are built on a frame specifically designed to support wide, knobby tires. These over-sized tires provide a smooth ride, so they fare very well on groomed, snow-covered trail surfaces all season long.
  • Grab your favorite sled, tube or toboggan and head to the family sledding hill in Waterford Oaks County Park.
  • Check out platform tennis, the only racquet sport played outdoors in cold weather. After sow is removed, the courts’ special floor heating units provide a dry playing surface at Waterford Oaks County Park. Membership is required to play; trial memberships are available for new players.
  • Play disc golf year-round at Addison Oaks County Park’s 24-hole course. Disc Golf, also known as Frisbee golf, is played like ball golf, using a flying disc.
  • Let your furry friend run around in the dog parks at Lyon Oaks, Orion Oaks and Red Oaks. Dog parks are typically ope one half-hour before sunrise until half-hour after sunset, or as posted.

Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or click here for a list of winter activities and amenities by park.

 

If you prefer the warmth indoors, participate in interpretative programs at Wint Nature Center and Red Oaks Nature Center or attend the popular cooking demonstrations at the Oakland County Farmers Market. Check out these upcoming events planned for January:

Jan. 13

  • Brownies: Home Scientist is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 13 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Naturalists will help scouts complete the necessary requirements to achieve a badge. Snacks and materials are provided, but badges are not supplied by the nature center. Cost is $7/scout and $3/adult. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or registration forms are available at OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Discover cooking secrets from local chefs and sample dishes using produce available from Oakland County Farmers Market vendors during a free cooking demonstration held in cooperation with edibleWOW from 10-11 a.m. Ja. 13. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Animal Investigators is 2-4 p.m. Jan. 13 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Become a nature detective and examine tracks, scat and other animal clues to tell that animal’s story. Make an investigator guide to take home for future animal mysteries then don snowshoes and head outdoors for a wintry walk to discover which animals have been active this season. Snowshoes are provided. Participants must wear boots. A winter walk will be substituted if there is not sufficient snow. This program is appropriate for ages 5 and older. Cost is $5/person. Pre-registration with payment required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-585-0100 Saturdays.
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Ja. 13 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak. Designed for children with disabilities ages 6-18, activities include parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters, basketball and more. Individuals must pre-register by calling 248-424-7077. This program is limited to 20 participants. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.

Jan. 14

  • A Platform Tennis Open House is 1:30-3:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at Waterford Oaks County Park, 1702 Scott Lake Road, Waterford. Platform Tennis is the only racquet sport played outdoors in cold weather. After snow is removed, the courts’ special floor heating units provide a dry playing surface. No previous experience needed and no pre-registration is necessary to attend the open house. Instruction will be provided by the Waterford Oaks Paddle Club. Dress for the weather. Tennis shoes required. Extra equipment will be available for first-time players or those who do not have their own paddles or paddle balls. Details: 248-858-0916 weekdays or OakladCountyParks.com.

Jan. 20

  • Bears: Super Science is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 20 at Red Oaks Nature Center, 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights. Naturalists will help scouts complete the necessary requirements to achieve a badge. Snacks and materials are provided, but badges are not supplied by the nature center. Cost is $7/scout and $3/adult. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or registration forms are available at OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Ja. 20 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak. Designed for children with disabilities ages 6-18, activities include parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters, basketball and more. Individuals must pre-register by calling 248-424-7077. This program is limited to 20 participants. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.
  • A new educational series at the Oakland County Farmers Market begins from 10-11 a.m. Jan. 20 Held in collaboration with Farver Creek Farms, this month’s topic will be “Rise and Shine: A Day in the Life of a Modern Farmer.” Discover the career of the modern farmer and learn what it takes to start a backyard farming adventure. The educational series will be held the third Saturday of the month through April. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • NatureFit: Snowshoe Try It! is 2-4 p.m. Jan. 20 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Learn about the history of snowshoes and then head outdoors for a guided snowshoe hike, campfire and snack. This program is appropriate for those ages 5 and older and snowshoes are provided. Participants must wear boots. A winter hike will be substituted if conditions do not permit snowshoeing. Cost is $5/person and pre-registration with payment is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or 248-625-6473 Saturdays. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com for more information.

 

Jan. 27

  • Youth Abilities – Saturday Sports Special will be held from 9:30-11 a.m. Ja. 27 at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 1545 East Lincoln Road in Royal Oak. Designed for children with disabilities ages 6-18, activities include parachute games, floor hockey, kickball, scooters, basketball and more. Individuals must pre-register by calling 248-424-7077. This program is limited to 20 participants. Visit OaklandCountyParks.com or email Adaptive@oakgov.com for details.
  • Discover cooking secrets from local chefs and sample dishes using produce available from Oakland County Farmers Market vendors during a free cooking demonstration held in cooperation with edibleWOW from 10-11 a.m. Ja. 27. Oakland County Farmers Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, call 248-858-5495 or visit OaklandCountyParks.com.
  • Bronwies: Potter is set from 10 a.m.-noon or 2-4 p.m. Jan. 27 at Wit Nature Center in Independence Oaks County Park, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston. Naturalists will help scouts complete the necessary requirements to achieve a badge. Snacks and materials are provided, but badges are not supplied by the nature center. Cost is $7/scout and $3/adult. Pre-registration is required by calling 248-858-0916 weekdays or registration forms are available at OaklandCountyParks.com.

 

For information on other events, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @OCParksAndRec.

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