The snow will come and the snow will go, but one thing is constant: the need to get the kids out and moving. When sledding, snow forts and skis aren't an option, and when you can't stand losing one more Wii tennis match to your six-year-old, you might need to look elsewhere for a place to let the kids get their wiggles out.
What follows are some indoor activities that'll keep the youngsters -- and yourself - active, no snow (or membership contract) required. Please feel free to add your own suggestions below.
Non-members are welcome to climb the rock tower at The Court Club in Colonie, 444 Sand Creek Road. They offer day passes and equipment rentals, and kids of any age are welcome to climb. They do recommend you call ahead to make sure a staff member will be on hand to show beginners how to belay.
A.I.R. Albany's Indoor Rockgym, Vatrano Road, offers climbing - and also has an indoor cave labyrinth. Its Web site lists certain hours for kids under 10 to climb or cave. Children must be supervised by an adult -- one adult required per kid.
Wheels, colored lights and blaring pop music. What's not to love? Guptill's Arena in Latham and Rollarama Skating Center in Schenectady will give the kids plenty of opportunity to learn balance and gain ankle strength.
Okay, it's technically not indoors, but Swinburne Skating Rink (Clinton Avenue and Manning Boulevard, Albany) is protected from the caprices of the weather, and you can't beat the price.
Numerous other indoor venues offer public skating, including the Knickerbacker Ice Arena in Troy (103rd Street and 8th Avenue), Hudson Valley Community College's Conway Ice Rink, the Clifton Park Ice Arena in Clifton Common Park and the city of Saratoga Springs' two public rinks.
The Shelter Skate Park, 35 Commerce Ave., Albany, doesn't have a minimum age or skill level, but does ask that kids under 12 be accompanied by an adult. The crowd on weekend mornings, they say, tends to be younger. And in case someone you know got that new skateboard for Christmas, they do offer lessons.
Albany's Public Bath No. 2 may have closed, but there's another option in the city for indoor swimming: The pool at the Center for Disability Services, 314 South Manning Boulevard, Albany, is available for public use. Sections of the pool may be in use for therapy sessions during public hours, so the staff asks that outside visitors try not to be disruptive while enjoying the water. The cost is $5 per swimmer. Hours: Weekdays from 8 - 9:30 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m.; afternoon hours vary daily. The pool is also available Saturday mornings from 8 to 10 a.m. A printed schedule is available at the facility, and the phone number for the pool deck is 437-5522.
If you want to make a day out of it, head up to Queensbury for White Water Bay, the indoor water park at Six Flags Great Escape Lodge. It's a little surreal to zip down the water slides or float in the river while snow drifts and spits against the windows. Half- and full-day passes are available, and of course they offer overnight accommodation packages as well.
Climbing, bouncing and general kid-like frolicking
TreePaad Fun Center in Malta (2381 Route 9) features a three-story indoor playground with thousands of foam balls. There are other activities, too, available on a pay-per-play basis.
For basic, stomach-lurching fun, Afrim's Sports in Colonie has a "Bounce Zone" for kids ages 3 to 10; get a day pass and let 'em jump.
If all else fails, break out the Twister mat or call up a YouTube video of "Chicken Fat" and pretend you're in gym class, ca. 1961. You'll have the kids worn out by bedtime.
photo: Flickr user edenpictures
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