Castles and owls and sledding, oh my!

Date: Monday, December 23, 2019

Regional parks offer fun winter options for every age and interest

Icicles pointing toward the camera.One of the Twin Cities’ great winter spectacles has returned: Ice Castles. The popular attraction is open at Long Lake Regional Park in New Brighton.

“Guests will not be disappointed in the look and feel of the castle this year,” said Ryan Davis, CEO of Ice Castles. “Although Mother Nature is our primary architect, our innovative team of builders and ice artisans worked hard to introduce new visual elements to the castle this season.

“One of the great things about Ice Castles is that it appeals to so many different people. It makes for a great family outing, a romantic date night, or a fun day with friends. It’s a place where your imagination can run wild as you explore caves, tunnels and slot canyons all created entirely from ice.”

Visitors are charged to enter the castle. Get more information about Ice Castles.

Art shanties are coming back in January-February

Another winter highlight coming back: The Art Shanty Project.

The Met Council's parks ambassador is joining other organizations at the nexus of art and the environment with this unique winter festival open every weekend from Jan. 18 to Feb. 9. This year’s event on Lake Harriet will draw 150 artists and performers and as many as 40,000 visitors over four weekends. Visit Art Shanty 2020.

"Embrace the cold! It can be rewarding!"

The regional parks offer much more than special events in the winter.

Two people cross-country skiing.You can find traditional winter fun nearly everywhere: cross-country skiing, sledding, and skating, for example. But why not try something new? How about snowshoeing? Kick-sledding or skijoring? Gazing at winter stars? Winter owling?

“You don’t need to be an expert winter camper or ice climber to enjoy the many winter options in the regional parks,” said Emmett Mullin, Met Council's manager of regional parks and natural resources. “Just dress warm and find something fun to do. Embrace the cold. Be adventuresome. It really can be rewarding.”

Every major park district is offering special programming and activities this winter to entice you outdoors and brighten these long, cold days, Mullin said.

Many districts have family-friendly events to tempt every age and interest. Here are just a few highlights from across the metro:

Connect to the 10 regional parks agencies

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