Fun places to check out this winter in Southern NH

This month we’re skating, sledding, and skiing our way through Nashua, Bedford and Manchester on the lookout for snowy family fun. We’ve also lined up some indoor play places for those January days when the weather outside is a little too frightful.

Bundle up! Our day of winter fun starts off on a downward tilt at Roby Park in Nashua, a popular spot in the city for sledding, even at night, thanks to well-lit slopes. Conveniently located off Spit Brook Road, there is an outdoor ice rink here, too, for those who want to take a spin, plus enough room to snowshoe or cross-country ski. And when it’s time to come in from the cold, the comforts (and warmth) of Daniel Webster Highway’s shops and restaurants are just minutes away.    

Where else to skate? Head north to Exit 5 off the Everett Turnpike and Conway Ice Arena (5 Stadium Drive), an indoor rink that offers skating lessons throughout the year and plenty of public skating times. Don’t have blades of your own or don’t want to invest in skates that will be outgrown after only season? The rink offers low-cost skate rentals for kids and adults, a great way to keep an afternoon on the ice well within the reach of most family budgets.   

We get back on the Turnpike and end up in Bedford. And you know what? We’re cold! Sure, Benedictine Park (Wallace Road) offers excellent sledding terrain, but we’re taking the fun inside with stops at Bounce U’s always hopping Family Bounce Night (21 Commerce Park North) and You’re Fired, a kid-friendly paint-your-own pottery studio (25 South River Road).  

For more weather-proof activity, continue north to Manchester’s Millyard District and SEE Science Center (200 Bedford St.) with its two floors of hands-on science excitement. Where else can you go in the Millyard? Try Vertical Dreams (250 Commercial St.), an indoor climbing gym where, finally it’s OK for cooped up kids to climb the walls! Home to a 70-foot vertical climbing wall, families and kids can take lessons or schedule group climbing sessions.

When its comes to winter wonderment, New Hampshire’s Queen City is, perhaps surprisingly, home to some of the state’s best downhill skiing for kids and families. Located on the outskirts of Manchester, McIntyre Ski Area (50 Chalet Way) offers budget-friendly skiing, snow boarding and tubing day passes, lessons for beginners, and day camps and February vacation camps for kids of all ages and skills levels.

And don’t worry, we already checked on the hot chocolate situation. McIntyre has the cocoa flowing all day and also offers heartier warm-me-up fare such as clam chowder, chicken pot pie, pizza and quiche. You can even order ahead to make sure a hot meal is waiting for you as soon as you step off the slopes.

Now that’s cool!

Jacqueline Tourville is a freelance writer from Nashua and frequent contributor to Parenting New Hampshire Magazine.

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