Winter is the time of year when cabin fever sets in and kids get rambunctious, having been cooped up too long with few ways to expend their energy. So here is a list of activities to keep your children active, healthy, and happy this season.
The Blue Cross RiverRink (101 S. Columbus Blvd., 215-925-RINK, www.delawareriverwaterfront.com), an Olympic-size outdoor skating rink in its 23rd season, has a double-length public session, from 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. "So if you want to get a good workout, that's a good time to come," said spokeswoman Quinn Logan. Treats await inside the Franklin Fountain Confectionary Cabin or in the main lodge, which offers heartier meals from Garces and Chickie's & Pete's — as well as leather couches and big-screen TVs. Small cabins with electric heaters provide cozy spots to warm up. The kids' lodge has arcade games. "It's a little bit of something for everybody," Logan said. Admission is $3 per person, with skates renting for $10.
For those in South Jersey, Cooper River's WinterFest (5300 N. Park Dr., Pennsauken, 856-341-3416, skatewinterfest.com) offers a similar outdoor-skating experience until Feb. 14. This weekend, 101.1 More FM will set up shop with games and giveaways from 3 to 5 p.m. Skate rental will run you $4, while admission to the rink is $6 for adults and $4 for kids 5 to 12.
The Penn Ice Rink at the Class of 1923 Arena (3130 Walnut St., 215-898-1923, www.upenn.edu/icerink) has public sessions at 1 to 2 p.m. Sundays; noon to 1:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and 5 to 6 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is $5 with a $3 skate rental. A learn-to-skate program runs from noon to 1 p.m. Sundays. The rink just added tot lessons for ages 3 to 7 from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. Wednesdays. "At that age, they want mom or dad or somebody with them," said skating director Julie Cardinale. Parents or caregivers are allowed on the ice during tot lessons.
For downhill skiing and snowboarding, Philadelphia-area residents have at least 10 resorts to choose from, which can be overwhelming for newbies. Chris Tobia, a sales associate at the Ardmore gear-rentalstore Buckman's, says that for a day trip for beginners, Spring Mountain Adventures (757 Spring Mountain Rd., Schwenksville, Pa., 610-287-7900, springmountainadventures.com) is a good place to start. "It's basically a hill with a chairlift," Tobia said. About 45 minutes from Philadelphia, Spring Mountain offers skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. Daily rates range from $25 to $48.
To rent gear from Buckman's, which has stores in King of Prussia, Doylestown, Ardmore, Montgomeryville, Reading, and Whitehall, call 866-550-1455 or visit www.buckmans.com.
Kids can literally bounce off the walls at Jumpers Family Fun Center (5117 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, 610-353-3377, www.funatjumpers.com). The facility for children from 18 months to 10 years old offers a three-tier soft-play unit, a giant slide, obstacle courses, bounce houses, and a "Little Cub" play area. Visits are $8 weekdays, $9 weekends.
Kehler's Gym (680 Parkway Dr., Lawrence Park Industrial Center, Broomall, 610-359-9999, www.kidsfun.org) has an indoor "Fun Factory," where kids ages 1 to 11 can clamber through tunnels, shoot down slides, and crawl across cargo nets. Toddlers have a separate play space. Visits are $5 on weekdays, and $7 on weekends and holidays. Kehler's also offers a gymnastics program, ranging from Tumble Tykes for preschool kids to one-hour classes for older students.
Sky Zone is opening a new indoor trampoline center (9490 Blue Grass Rd., 215-516-5867, skyzone.com/philadelphia) this month in Philadelphia. "You're constantly moving, so it's awesome, healthy fun," said Tina DeAngelis, marketing manager for the Sky Zone locations in Glen Mills, Levittown, and Philadelphia. The Oaks facility is run separately. All Sky Zones offer wall-to-wall trampolines, dodgeball, and a form of basketball called "skyslam." The Philadelphia Sky Zone will also have a warrior course — obstacles that test speed, agility, and strength — as well as a separate toddler court closed off to big kids. It's $17 for an hour's jumping, plus $2 for mandatory socks.
Get Air (555 S. Henderson Rd., King of Prussia, 267-419-9219, getairkop.com) also offers indoor trampoline courts for kids of all ages, as well as dodgeball, foam pits, and a slackline, a tightrope with a cushioned landing. Toddlers under 46 inches have the run of the place from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays. One-hour jump sessions are $15, plus $3 for required socks.
Kids can climb the walls at any of the four locations of Philadelphia Rock Gym (877-822-ROPE, www.philarockgym.com): in East Falls, Wyncote, Oaks, and Valley Township. "When you're on that wall, it's all about you," said Liz Pezzopane, the company's youth program director. Adults can take a 15-minute lesson in belaying and then head straight to the walls with their kids for the rest of the day. Registration for children's classes runs until Feb. 18. "Our coaches can teach the kids how to become smarter climbers," Pezzopane said. "It's one thing to push yourself to make it to the top of the wall, but it's another thing to do it as efficiently as possible." Children can also do day camps on school holidays. Rates vary from location to location.
Kids can shoot off their excess energy this winter at Middletown Archery (127 Barren Rd., Media, 610-566-8092, middletownarchery.com). Private lessons range from 15 minutes to an hour ($15 to $45, including equipment rental). After that, kids can practice their skills at the club's indoor range during open sessions at various times throughout the week. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights, kids 20 and under can participate in a junior Olympic development program. Family-owned and -operated, the club boasts coaches of national rank.