Don't let the season keep you and your family cooped up. Here are 10 ways to put the "win" in "winter," courtesy of our sister publication, Little Rock Family.
1. Go on a cruise.
No, we don't mean an escape to the warm Bahamas (although that would be nice). Take a mini cruise right here in central Arkansas! If you dress appropriately (and it isn't 10 degrees), you won't freeze. Head to the Jolly Roger's Marina in Pinnacle Mountain State Park for an Eagle Lake Cruise or Winter Discovery Lake Cruise in January and February. Visitors will try to spot wintering bald eagles and other wildlife on and around Lake Maumelle.
2. Experience the outdoors ... inside.
Can't entice your family to brave the chilly temps outside? Get a dose of the Arkansas outdoors at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center in downtown Little Rock. Pass through various living habitat exhibits that depict the different regions of Arkansas, from the Mississippi Delta to the Ozark Plateau. The center is completely free and hosts special events for the public, including a weekly storytime for kids ages 6 and younger, fish and animal feedings, and other workshops. Find more free events at the Nature Center here.
3. Have a movie marathon.
Hibernate at home and plan a movie marathon. Introduce the kids to one of your favorite "oldies," and allow them to choose a flick they love, too. Don't forget the popcorn! Or, head to one of the CALS libraries for a free movie showing — some that include a free snack! Just type in "movie" as your keyword and search the CALS calendar here.
4. Plan a play day.
Take the kids for a play day. Children under 8 can slide, climb, splash, build and create at The Wonder Place. Older kids will enjoy the obstacle course, dodgeball, aerial silks and more at the practically brand new extreme recreation park right here in Little Rock — Third Realm.
5. Head to the arcade.
There are lots of fun indoor spots that paretns can enjoy, too! Try arcade games and amusements at Big Rock Fun Park. Or take the whole family to Dave & Buster's and enjoy a delicious lunch at the restaurant after you've gamed your hearts out.
6. Get competitive.
Knock down some pins at Professor Bowl West in Little Rock or Millennium Bowling Center in Maumelle. If the kids have a lot of energy, it may be the perfect time to try out paintball and laser tag at Jack's Ultra Sports in Conway.
7. Visit the library.
Pick out a new book to read individually or as a family. Then, stick around for one of the many free activities at your local library: movie screenings, games, snack times, crafts, tea parties, storytimes, concerts, knitting classes and more. There are more than 200 events happening at the 14 branches of the CALS in January and February!
8. Cheer on a sports team.
9. Go to a show.
Visit the Arkansas Arts Center Children's Theatre to see "The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats" from Feb. 2-18.
If you're looking for something a little more energetic, head to Verizon Arena on Jan. 19 for the Harlem Globetrotters. These aren't any ordinary basketball players - they'll showcase ball handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, trick shots, hilarious comedy and have fun fan interaction.
10. Go skating.
The chill in the air always makes us yearn for a trip to the ice skating rink. Glide (and slip) around the Arkansas Skatium's indoor arena, and sip on hot chocolate from the snack bar when you need to warm up. Take advantage of cheap skate admission every Thursday from 6-8 p.m., which includes both ice and roller skate rental for just $7.