As a native Michigander, I am not new to snow, cold, freezing rain, severe wind chill, you name it. I've lived through it all and honestly, the cold has never bothered me. Before I had my son, on “bad” weather days, I would hunker down on the sofa with Netflix and lazily spend the day. However, with a 2 ½ year old I find the need to still be active on the days when I'd rather be under my blanket. In Rapid City, the weather also can be downright brutal in the winter. When I first moved here, someone told me, “oh, the winter is pretty mild, but…..that wind is exceptional!” By late October I knew exactly what that meant. There was no way I could take my kid outside to play in that wind. It was the kind of wind that took your breathe away and made your face hurt. I started looking for ways to entertain my child through the winter months in our new town. Here is what we have come up with so far:
1. Outside In- this fabulous NEW indoor playground is a parent's dream. The whole place is set up just as the name alludes to, outside-in. There is an adorable mini camper playhouse where kids can pretend to camp plus “hills” created on the floor for kids to climb all over. The place has two distinct playgrounds. One is for the little toddlers, the other for 5 and up. I found that my son was perfectly fine on the “big kids” playground, but it all depends on your child's ability and your comfort level as a parent. The prices are fair for Outside In, plus your pass is good for the day so you can conceivably leave for nap, and then return later in the day if you wanted. I can't say enough good things about this place.
2. Public Library- the downtown public library not only has a children's area with some toys and craft supplies, but they also have weekly story times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Each story time only lasts a half hour, so it is well within the realm of toddler attention span. The “teacher” also sings songs and has props to help keep even the most active child's attention. After story time we usually stick around and play and visit with other moms in the kids area. I appreciate that they have craft supplies for the kids since my clean freak self cannot allow glue and glitter in my home.
3. Outdoor Campus West- This was a real gem when I first stumbled upon it. It is run by the South Dakota Games, Fish and Parks department. It's purpose is hands on nature education. Indoors they have taxidermy exhibits to teach about different habitats in South Dakota as well as a huge aquarium. As well as the exhibits, they have a play area with outdoorsy things. When the weather allows, they have hiking trails and outdoor classes to learn all about hunting, fishing and boating. Best part of this place? It's FREE. I couldn't believe that you can go play or attend the nature kids class for free. Blown away.
4. Rushmore Mall- when all else fails, the mall does have a play area for little kids. It's not my first pick place, but it works when you just have to get a change of scenery. The bonus is that I have never seen it busy, we are often the only people there, AND, it has a Starbucks close by. Who doesn't love a good latte while their kid gets some energy out??
Where do you go when you need to get out and the weather isn't cooperating? I'm always on the hunt for something fresh to explore. - Annika
This blog is written by Mallory and Donna - at Black Hills Birth Boot Camp. Expect birthy topics, parenting triumphs and trials, and community resources and interviews. Have a topic idea you’d like us to address? Drop us a note!