5 Fun Winter Family Getaways

2014-01-02T10:00:00Z 5 Fun Winter Family GetawaysCarrie Steinweg Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
January 02, 2014 10:00 am  • 

The holidays are now behind us and there are some long weeks and months ahead before spring break, but if you’re looking for a break to take before then, you’re in a good spot for it. Whether you want to go tubing or ski down a slope or you want to relax in a lazy river and pretend it’s 80 degrees outside or you want to escape to another place and time, there are fun destinations within a short drive that make for an ideal winter weekend getaway.

Wilmot Mountain Ski Resort

Not too far over the Illinois border into Wisconsin is a place that is a winter wonderland for those who love snow sports. It was the first spot in the Midwest to successfully create artificial snow so that visitors could enjoy the resort even when Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating. The resort dates back to 1938 and in the 1950’s, the snow makers were introduced along with lights to make night skiing possible.

“Whether you are skiing, snowboarding, or snow tubing, there is something for the whole family to enjoy. Our snow tubing facility is brand new and it is one of the biggest facilities in the country with over one thousand feet of tubing lanes and a brand new lodge,” said Ryan Church of Wilmot Mountain. “We have live Music every weekend, a fireplace that is going everyday from 8am-11pm, kids ski school classes, events and more.”

Today the facility accommodates skiers, snowboarders and tubers. Group, semi-private and private lessons are available for those who are new to the winter sports. Several race events and live entertainment are scheduled throughout the season, which runs through early March. For more information, visit wilmotmountain.com

Key Lime Cove

Escape to an indoor tropical oasis in Gurnee, Illinois where it’s always 84 degrees and you have 30 acres of indoor fun to explore when the temperatures outside are plunging. The 414-room resort features connecting suites that can accommodate up to 12.

Inspired by the Florida Keys, you’ll truly feel like you’re far from home as you take in the festive atmosphere, food and top-notch spa to pamper the grown-ups and kids. With a tame lazy river and kiddie pool for the younger set, there are also water slides and a Hurricane Vortex whirlpool ride if you’re looking for thrills. Find more information at keylimecove.com.

Medieval Times

For a day trip that will transport you to another place and time, Medieval Times in Schaumburg offers a great getaway from the glum Winter days with dinner and a jousting show in 11th century style. The dinner theatre is a feast for the eyes with colorful costumes, majestic horses and swords in the air.

The experience begins in the lobby with kiosks full of Medieval merchandise and continues in the arena where you are served a hearty meal sans silverware. Soon the lights dim and dashing knights are before you getting their joust on. Extend your visit with a tour of the weapons displays. medievaltimes.com for more information.

Shipshewana and Nappanee

Another escape from our modern lives can be found just to the east in the Amish communities of Shipshewana and Nappanee, where you can spend a weekend getting a taste of the simple lifestyles of Amish culture and shopping for Amish-made products in the many quaint shops in the area.

Amish country is particularly beautiful this time of year with a blanket of white as a backdrop for the horse drawn buggies that can be seen dashing down the roads. Take in a show at the Blue Gate Theatre or Round Barn Theatre. Enjoy an old-fashioned family-style thresher dinner of chicken and trimmings. Shop for locally made hand-crafted items and homemade jams and other wholesome Amish-made foods. Find more information at amishacres.com and shipshewana.com.

Indianapolis

Close enough for a weekend trip, Indianapolis has so much to offer. From sports venues to museums to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to a top-notch zoo, Indianapolis has enough going on to fill several weekends.

Indianapolis features one of the nation’s oldest and largest general art museums and general admission is free, making it a great spot to include on your itinerary. The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art offers a unique look into the artistic culture of our country’s Native Americans. Historical sites include war memorials, the historical museum, mansions and the state capitol.

On the more playful side, Indy has an amazing zoo where you can even plan for a dolphin encounter, the thrilling Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum and the world’s largest children’s museum.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is loaded with educational fun, enough that a full day at the location will still leave you with more to see. The new Playscape exhibit area is an inviting space for the youngest visitors where parents can explore with their infants, toddlers and preschoolers through sight, sound and touch. Older kids will enjoy diving into dinosaur fun, learning about space travel and checking out hands-on scientific exhibits. A ride on the breathtaking 1917 carousal is a must. Learn more about the museum at childrensmuseum.org and more on Indianapolis at visitindy.com.

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