Looking for ways to get the kids out of the house this chilly winter season or ideas for how to spend the upcoming February break? We've got you covered! Bundle up and enjoy the beauty of winter with family-friendly outdoor adventures or enjoy indoor activities that include learning new skills, using your creativity, or fun and games for the whole family. Scroll on to find ways your family can beat the winter blues in Albany County. 

1. Skate the Day Away at Local Ice-Skating Rinks

There are plenty of places to ice skate throughout Albany County! From Albany's iconic ice-skating rink at the Empire State Plaza to indoor rinks and scenic ponds, ice skating is a great way to spend a winter day. Plus, the Empire State Plaza offers Learn to Skate Clinics for skaters of all ages and skill-levels. The last three classes for 2024 take place on March 2 so be sure to sign up soon to reserve your spot.

Learn more about Albany's ice skating locations below: 

2. There's Snow Much Fun to Have in Albany County

There's plenty of ways to take advantage of a snowy day in Albany County. Strap on some snowshoes and explore the Pine Bush Preserve, Pine Hollow ArboretumThacher Park, Ann Lee Pond Nature Preserve, Huyck Preserve or Five Rivers Environmental Education Center. Or take on popular sledding hills at Lincoln Park, Washington Park, Tawasentha Park or Elm Avenue Park.

Find more ways to enjoy a wintertime adventure below:

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3. Learn About Nature During the Wintertime

The winter may be a popular time for people and animals to stay quiet and cozy, but there's still plenty to learn about nature during this time. The Pine Bush Preserve offers special winter experiences to discover more about the plants and animals of the rare habitat. For those shorter winter days, the preserve offers a collection of ways to "Discover the Night.

Thacher Park is also a great location to learn more about nature. Visit the Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center with discovery opportunities for explorers of all ages. Stop by their Drop-In Play Time for children up to age five on February 29. Or enjoy winter activities from an outdoor scavenger hunt to snow painting during the park's February 17 Snow Much Fun! Play Day. For families ready to take on more of an adventure, register for a guided Historic Helderbergs Hike on February 25. 

4. Learn a New Skill During a Children's Baking Class 

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Staying indoors and learning a new skill is a great way to spend a chilly winter day. Nelly's Treats in Cohoes offers a series of youth baking classes each month. Upcoming classes include I Am ... Black History Month Inspired, Toddler Time - Green Eggs & Ham Cupcakes, and Youth Baking Class - Barbie. The bakery also offers private baking lessons; schedule a time for you and your family to learn new baking skills together this winter!

5. Adventure into Other Worlds with Family-Friendly Performances, Film Screenings, and Story Hours

Palace Theater winter

Whether on a page, on a screen, or on a stage, there are plenty of exciting stories for children to watch or listen to this winter in Albany County.

Designed for preschool-aged children, head over to the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza for a Story Hour every two weeks starting on February 14.  Or, geared toward children in primary grades, enjoy the Neighbors for Neighbors' Story Hour at Capital Repertory Theatre once a month. 

For the upcoming school break, head over to the Palace Theater on Tuesday, February 20 for a Family Fun Day. The event offers a free screening of Disney's Frozen with accompanying activities. Or head over to a Regal Movie Theatre located in Crossgates Mall or Colonie Center Mall for a Saturday Morning Kids Flick. This program offers $2 tickets every Saturday for a children's movie during the first showtime of the day.

Then, on March 9, don't miss The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show at The Egg. The show brings Eric Carle stories to life with puppetry and music.

6. Get Crafty with Art Making Opportunities 

Stay indoors and make masterpieces this winter at a local art studio in Albany County and beyond! The Pottery Place in Stuyvesant Plaza offers fun, ready-to-paint pottery pieces. Kids can choose anything to paint from their favorite animal to a new piggy bank. Or stop by the Albany Institute of History & Art for one of their Art for All workshops every second Saturday of the month. Visitors of all ages can create art pieces inspired by the museum's collections.

Venture to The Blooming Artist in Clifton Park and book a private or semi-private personalized art session. The Blooming Artist works with children and adults in both painting and pottery. The studio also offers youth classes throughout the year. 

Albany Center Gallery offers Art. Work. Space workshops for local youth on the second Saturday of each month. In partnership with The RED bookshelf and Honest Weight Food Co-Op, the classes are led by a local artist and have covered everything from mural painting to clothing design to comic book making.

7. Explore Albany County's Museums

The whole family can discover something new at one of Albany's museums. The New York State Museum offers engaging ways for children to uncover the history of New York. Head up to the 4th floor terrace and ride the museum's historic carousel and make sure to stop into the museum's Discovery Place with hands-on activities for preschool to middle school-aged children.

The Albany Institute of History & Art often hosts family programs, join them on Presidents Day this year for free entry to the museum and fun activities. Current exhibitions at the Institute include Sign of the Rabbit: The Colorful World of Hunt Slonem with a series of bright, colorful, and playful pieces. On display through February 25 is John Steiner's Look-Alikes invoking Steiner's imaginative Look-Alikes® books. Visitors of all ages are invited to take a peek at these miniature dioramas and see how many everyday objects they can spot used to make a completely new scene. 

8. Find Fun & Games for the Whole Family

Dave & Buster's at Crossgates

Have a family fun day at one of Albany County's indoor venues. Visit Dick's House of Sport in Latham and take on the rock wall. Or make a trip to Crossgates Mall and play the day away at Dave & Busters, find your way through an adventure at 5 Wits, or enjoy a round of mini golf that's out of this world at Space Adventure Mini Golf. On Wednesday, February 21, the mall is hosting Crossgates Kids Club on the lower level near APEX Entertainment. Enjoy giveaways, music, fun and treats.