When It's Just Too Cold Outside - A Guide to the Best in Indoor Winter Fun

By Cara Aungst

When the football season wraps up and all the leaves are gone from Mount Nittany, it's time for different kinds of fun in Happy Valley. There are Penn State's winter sports (see our article on page xx) – wrestling, hockey, and basketball. Then there is the snowy fun: skiing, sledding, and tubing at Tussey. But what happens when it is just too cold/wet/wintery to be outside, and there's no event to attend? We've got you covered. 

Hit the rink. Skating in the new Pegula Ice Arena is really cool. Home of the Division I hockey team, the arena is roomy, sleek, and fun. There are 360 days of public skates, and there is no better time to go than the winter. Make it part of your holiday tradition – either a pre-Thanksgiving workout or a Christmas Eve skate-off – and find out just how good you are on a pair of skates! Adults $7, Kids under 18: $6, Skate rentals: $3. Check for schedule.gopsusports.com/pegula-ice-arena; 814-865-4102

Try for a strike. With specials like Two Dollar Twosdays (everything's $2: games, shoes, hamburgers, large rries and more), Rock N Bowl (lights down, music up, party starts!) and Strike Zone Saturdays & Sundays ($49 for a lane for two hours, to include shoes, pizza and soda for four), Northland Bowl has something for everyone. With kids' sports schedules winding down, now is the perfect time to teach them how to bowl and have some good, old fashioned fun along the way. northlandbowl.com; 814-237-1500 

Discover something. State College's own children's museum, Discovery Space, is something like Mary Poppins' carpetbag. From the outside, it looks pocket-sized, nestled on Foster Street a stone's throw from Schlow Library. But stuffed inside is an afternoon worth of fun and learning. From the high-tech station where your child can be filmed forecasting the weather, to the paleontology table where they can dig for fossils and learn fun facts about dinosaurs, to the geology cave where they can learn about rocks that glow, the museum has both regular favorite exhibits and rotating exhibits for unending fun. Support this great part of our downtown with a membership and as an added bonus, you will get reciprocal admission into hundreds of other science museums worldwide!MyDiscoverySpace.org; 814-234-0200 

Create a work of art.  Choose from a wide selection of pre-fired pottery pieces and paint colors at 2000 Degree Pottery. It's a great place to spend time with family and friends while creating. After your painted pottery is complete, it will be glazed and fired and ready to pick up in three days. Hot tip: On Mondays, if you bring a friend you’ll enjoy ½ price studio fee. Print the coupon from their web site. www.2000degreespottery.com; 814-234-1151 

Combine fun with learningCheck out the museums on campus and top off your trip with a stop at the Creamery (because, hey, it's never really cold enough to skip Creamery ice cream!). The Penn State All Sports Museum features 16 varsity sports and three former varsity sports, including gymnastics, swimming, wrestling, and football. Particularly appealing to kids is the museum's interactive setup. From low-tech Q&A boards to high-tech, touch-screen computers, each sport features a hands-on component that will delight sports fans of any age. You can handle a replica football from the early 1900s and compare it to a football of today. In the track-and-field exhibit area, you can pick up a javelin, a shot-put or a discus. You can even try your hand at fencing, throw punches at the heavy boxing bag from a bygone era, or pin down a life-size wrestling dummy. It's never too early to teach your kids the legends of the Blue and White! gopsusports.com/museum; 814-865-0044

Afterward, head on over to the Palmer Museum of Art with its 11 galleries of art.  (www.palmermuseum.psu.edu; 814-865-7672

Burn some energy.  Cabin fever got the best of you? Let your kids loose at Fun Unleashed, the indoor pla land that lets them play, climb, slide, ride, and play out their wiggles in a safe, family-friendly center. Mondays are FREE video game days,(for selected games), from 5-7 p.m. www.fununleashed.com 

Pamper yourself. ESSpa has been voted the best spa in State College, and with one visit, you'll see why. America's newest Aveda Boutique and its first Hungarian Hair Spa is dedicated to helping you look and feel better and escape the “stress trap”. It has a full menu of services including massage, manicures and pedicures, facials, and wraps and scrubs, and is the perfect antidote to the wintertime blues. Make an appointment for yourself and shop the Holiday Spa Specials to give as gifts! esspa.us814-380-9772

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