Photo by Anna Messick | Ice skating at Boss Arena is just one of many fun winter activities in the area.

When people think of Rhode Island, the Ocean State, they often picture a nice sunny day at one of the many local beaches. What they don’t always think of are the long snowy months that many still have to face when they come to school at the University of Rhode Island. Rhody is no exception to the cruelty of winter, but that doesn’t mean that we have to keep ourselves locked inside for the season. Having grown up in Matunuck, I’m quite familiar with what the state has to offer year round. Here are a handful of activities to look into this month, and with Valentine’s Day next Wednesday you might want to save some of these for a potential date night.                                                              

Skiing/Snowboarding or Tubing at Yawgoo Valley Ski Area:  Sure, it’s no mountain but being less than 10 minutes from campus, Yawgoo Valley offers skiing and snowboarding at $26 for a day pass. However, their hours vary during the week. Another fun, less conventional option is snow tubing. Yawgoo has its own snow tube park where, for just $15, you can tube as much as your heart desires for an hour. The tubing park is open on weekends only: Friday from 4 p.m. to 7:50 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3:50 p.m. & 5 p.m. to 7:50 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.  

Ice skating: The Ocean State has great options for one of the most popular winter date activities, ice skating. Head to Newport or up to Providence for the evening if you want to skate outside, you check out the Alex and Ani City Center rink in the heart of downtown Providence and grab a bite to eat in the city. If the trek to Providence is too far or hard to manage, the Boss Arena has public skate times as well as learn to skate lessons right here on campus.

Bowling: Old Mountain Lanes is less than 10 minutes away in Wakefield and offers some dry indoor fun. Gather your friends and head to the bowling alley Thursday night for a round of “rock n’ bowl” where you have a chance to win prizes and free games if you can get a strike when the orange pin turns up in your lane

Go to the Zoo: You may think of the zoo as a summer location, but Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence can be just as fun during the winter. Going to the zoo during these off months doesn’t just avoid lines. Some of the warmer animals may be off exhibit, but the colder climate animals are more active than ever. It’s a great chance to see a new side of the zoo as the Snow Leopards love the cold weather. To top it off, guests can enjoy half-priced admission for the rest of the month.

Providence Children’s Film Festival: The 2018 PCFF is coming up next weekend. Taking place from Feb. 16 to 25, the festival offers a variety of films to watch while you hide from the cold. Now in its ninth year, the much-anticipated annual festival will screen films selected for their compelling stories with a global perspective that challenge young audiences to better understand the world. This year’s program includes 15 feature-length and 145 short films—including a film classic, live-action, documentaries, and animations—created by filmmakers from around the world, representing over twenty countries. For more information, including a schedule and site map go to providencechildrensfilmfestival.org

Sure, winter is cold…and gray…and snowy, but that doesn’t mean that we should lock ourselves inside until the ground de-thaws. There is still plenty of fun to be had if you’re willing to brave the cold for a day. If you’ve got a coat and a car that can handle the snow, you might be interested in checking out these activities to avoid catching cabin fever this winter.