As soon as the winter season arrives, Iowa is ready with activities and events for the whole family. From gingerbread houses to snow tubing, the state is the perfect place to enjoy the season.
The Sleepy Hollow Sports Park and Event Center is 80 acres worth of outdoor games and recreation areas that are open year-round. Winter is one of the most popular seasons at this Des Moines park, thanks to the steep slopes and advanced snowmaking machines. Skiers and snowboarders will enjoy the variety of trails, as well as the jumps and rails at the terrain park. Try tubing at Sleepy Hollow; the surface lifts will bring you up the hill after you sail down the 1,000-foot runs. Want to sled? Rent a ZiBob, which helps riders make sharp turns at a fast pace. Ask about winter youth group outings and how Sleepy Hollow can host your next birthday party. For rates, hours and more, visit www.shspdm.com/home.html.
Get in the holiday spirit at the Grimes Gingerbread House. For the past 14 years, Bob Jordan has been transforming his home into a colorful spectacle every winter. Thousands of lights and holiday-themed decorations cover the two-story Victorian house, located at 200 N. Main Street in Grimes. Admission is free and people come from all over the state to see Jordan’s masterpiece. Take a stroll around the path and check out the massive snow globe. The Gingerbread House will be on display until January 1, 2012, and all donations will go to Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA), per Jordan’s request. Learn more at www.grimesiowa.gov/ParksandRecreation/SpecialCommunityEvents/GrimesGingerbreadHouse/tabid/157/Default.aspx.
For many people, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without seeing a performance of The Nutcracker. Catch a magical rendition by the Iowa Dance Theatre, which will be presenting The Nutcracker on December 17 and 18, 2011 at the Des Moines Civic Center. The cast includes more than 180 performers from 30 dance studios representing central Iowa and beyond. Iowa Dance Theatre is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting educational and artistic performances throughout the state’s communities. For more information about The Nutcracker, as well as a list of other upcoming performances, visit www.iowadancetheatre.org.
No matter what you enjoy, Iowa has plenty of winter fun for everyone. Get more ideas at www.traveliowa.com.