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February Fun for the Kids – Winter Break Boredom Busters

winterbreakBy Alicia Dziak

The February school break is fast approaching, and now is the time to plan how you’ll spend it with the kids.

While many people may hide from the cold this time of year, we know that living in or near Ellicottville makes that notion tough because there’s just so much to do outdoors!

The slopes of HoliMont and Holiday Valley are calling, and February break week is a perfect time to enjoy the height of winter on the slopes.

Not a member of HoliMont? No worries! The week off is a perfect opportunity to check it out, as they’re open to the public Monday through Friday. Pack a picnic lunch, or purchase some goodies in the lodge, and enjoy a variety of terrain. For more information, visit www.holimont.com.

Head to Holiday Valley and enjoy an abundance of trails covering the mountain, and lots of high-speed lifts to get you back to the top. Enjoy several dining options in the lodges and at John Harvard’ s, and be sure to indulge in a waffle at the base of Cindy’s. For more information, visit www.holidayvalley.com.

How about a hike on foot or on snowshoes, or a cross country ski trek, sure to get the heart pumping? Explore the trails at Holiday Valley for free (open daily until 3 p.m.), or better yet, purchase a two-ride cross country ticket on the Mardi Gras lift for $15, and ski along the ridgeline from Cindy’s to Spruce Lake. You can choose to ski back down or even take the lift back to the bottom. (Cross country skis and snowshoes can both be rented right at Holiday Valley.)

Want to check out even more trails? Allegany State Park’s Art Roscoe Ski Area (on the Red House side of the park) offers groomed trails for XC skiing, a ski rental shop, and a warm place to purchase winter fare. Other non-groomed trails throughout the park are open to foot and snowshoe hikers. For current trail conditions, visit www.alleganynordic.org.

Looking to spend more time at New York’s largest state park? Reserve one of ASP’s heated cabins for a couple nights. Pack a sled, some snow gear, and your favorite board games, and enjoy some winter camping. Choose from hundreds of cabins, including the all-new full service Bova cottages, by visiting ww.reserveamerica.com.

In search of a different kind of winter adventure? Check out the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster, a unique opportunity to soar down the mountain in a “car” on a track. The coaster, located near Holiday Valley’s Tannenbaum Lodge will be open daily 2-8 p.m. during winter break (and is open regularly from 1 -8 p.m. every Fri. – Sun.).

Get an adrenaline rush at the Holiday Valley Tubing Company, with several lanes for speedy downhill tubing and a tow rope to pull you back up. The tubing park, located a few miles from Holiday Valley on Route 242, is easily accessible by car or by a free shuttle from the resort.

With a little planning, another unique adventure awaits. Misty Ridge Carriages in Zoar Valley offers sleigh rides, taking travelers through the fields and woods and along the gorge. The sleigh also stops at a rustic cabin for refreshments. For more information, visit www.mistyridgecarriage.com.

Of course, sometimes you need a break from the cold. What better way to warm up than with a game or two of bowling at EVL Bowling? While you’re there, enjoy some of Tim and Bonnie’s tasty pizza and subs, and get in a few games with the kids. If you’re looking to mix it up even more, head up 219 to Springville, and check out their version of EVL Bowling at Cascade Lanes, complete with a Tim and Bonnie’s too!

What better time to take in a movie than over a school break? While in Springville, head to Joylan Theater for some inexpensive entertainment. For only $6 ($5 children, seniors and matinees), enjoy a family-friendly flick, and treat the kids to a Kids’ Combo at the concession stand, where $4 gets them a drink, popcorn and candy in one handy box. For more information, visit www.joylantheatre.com.

Need to get some work done while the kids unleash their creativity! Kids ages 4-11 are invited to attend the Winter Break Art Camp at the Cattaraugus County Arts Council (CCAC), where they can explore their creative side from Feb. 16-20. New artists (age 4-7 years) can join ClayVenture, Monday through Friday from 9-10 a.m., and older kids (ages 7-11) can join ArtVenture, from 10:30 a.m. until noon daily. The week-long camp is $65 per child, and includes all project supplies. The classes are held at the CCAC studio, 100 West Main St., Allegany. Register by calling 716-372-7455 or visit www.myartscouncil.net.

You’re sure to work up an appetite with all this fun. Why not give yourself a break and head out to one of the many area restaurants? A majority of them offer a kids’ menu—perfect for lunch, dinner or a snack to hold you over. Pick up a hot chocolate and people-watch from an outdoor fire pit, or check out one of the new restaurants in town.

Don’t give in to cabin fever! Take advantage of the time off with your kids and enjoy all that Ellicottville and the neighboring towns have to offer this time of year!

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