Summer Fun in Winter

January 12, 2016
Summer Fun in Winter

5 places to escape the cold

Danielle Frezza

Winter in Northeast Ohio tends to be long. No one is arguing that point. But after you’ve had your fill of snowy wonderland activities, you can escape the cold without heading south. Here are some fun, weather-not-permitting excursions that will make you forget the words “wind chill” and “lake effect”:

Ray's MTB Indoor Bike Park
Open in the dead of winter, adrenaline junkies can enjoy Californian extreme sports right in Cleveland. Located on Walford Avenue, just minutes from downtown, Ray's MTB Indoor Bike Park offers mountain and BMX courses for both beginners and seasoned riders, and is open to all ages (note: parents must sign a waiver for children under 18 years old).

Ray’s also has weekly events that are not to be missed:

  • Every Sunday after 4 p.m. has discounted admission for all riders
  • Mondays, 4-8 p.m. are Monday Night Recess, which offer kids under 12 years old wheelies and tricks from bike coaches, and parents with free time to cycle, jump lines, and visit at fireplace lounges
  • Wednesdays and Saturdays are College ID nights: $20 for entry, bike rental, helmet, and pads after 6 p.m.

For more information, click here.

Porco Lounge & Tiki Room
Picturing yourself sipping a cocktail in a Polynesian paradise? Get your fix at Porco Lounge & Tiki Room on West 25th St., between hot-spot neighborhoods Ohio City and Tremont. Porco is known for its award-winning drinks and tropical decor, both of which will warm you to your toes.

Why drink from a regular bar glass when you can sip from a pineapple, upside down ceramic skull, pirate face or tiki mug? Drinks vary widely from specialties such as the Fog Cutter (complete with dry ice for effect) to traditional Mai Tais. Soak it all up with a sampling of small plates, and you've got yourself a mini-vacation.

Great Wolf Lodge
Located in Sandusky, this indoor water park is always calibrated to 84 degrees Fahrenheit for a relaxing and delightful way to forget that Lake Erie is frozen outside. The resort offers access to slides, hot tubs, climbing structures, and a lazy river with your reservation. There is also a restaurant—along with four other dining spots—and souvenir shops, which make for a perfect extended stay.

If you wouldn’t exactly consider yourself a fish, no problem. Great Wolf Lodge also provides guests with a fitness center, arcade, and interactive game MagiQuest. There’s also live entertainment and activities for the little wolf pups in your family—so be sure to bring the entire pack. For more information and to plan your stay, click here.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s RainForest
It’s easy to feel like you’re on the equator once inside the Metroparks' RainForest exhibit. Showcasing more than 600 animals and 10,000 plants, the all-indoor RainForest has offered visitors insight into the world’s most diverse and endangered wildlife since 1992.

Not just a warm and colorful haven from the chilly walk around the zoo, this “living museum” is one of the largest educational presentations of its kind. The two-acre building features a 25-foot waterfall, research center, tropical rainstorm simulation, and interactive exhibits that promote leadership and education for the preservation of the African, Asian, and South American jungles.

Hours for both the zoo and RainForest are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. For more information, and to take a peek at some of the cute critters you can visit, click here.

For more adrenaline rushes fit for summertime, take a trip to ZipCity, a new facility with zip-lining, trampolines, rock walls, and dodgeball, located 2 miles from I-480, I-80, and State Route 14 in Streetsboro. In addition to its five zip lines and 10,000-square foot trampoline park, ZipCity also has a video game arcade with prizes and a mezzanine lounge with concession and three large-screen TVs so you never have to miss a Cavs game.

Fun for all ages, ZipCity is also great for all occasions; it offers private party rooms and reservations for after-hours facility use. Open Wednesday-Sunday, for more information click here.

Barroco Grill
This winter you can close your eyes and dream of warm, exotic places at Barroco Grill. This Lakewood spot boasts an extensive menu of Colombian-inspired fare (and BYOB!) amidst vibrant décor and live music on weekends. You will feel like you are at an impromptu party at a Bogota hole-in-the-wall.

A Barroco specialty is the Arepa—a white hominy corn-grilled pocket filled with the guest’s choice of ingredients. Other menu items include beef entrees, sandwiches, and sweet and savory loaded plantains. Barroco Grill is located at 12906 Madison Avenue and opens at 11 a.m. every day. For more information, click here.

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