When those dark wintry days are upon us, with the cold and the snow, it can be difficult to drag ourselves out and loosen up our tired bones, and sometimes that leads to that seasonal dreary feeling. The good news is that there are so many fun, exciting things to enjoy in the area, for families and kids alike. Plus, in this list, there’s no commitment for week after week; just drop in and have fun!

For those who can’t wait to strap on those skates, this is a great time to head on over to Markham Civic Centre, to enjoy one of the largest outdoor skating rinks in the GTA.

For kids of all ages, Aaniin Community Centre (5665 14th Ave) and Cornell Community Centre (3201 Bur Oak Ave), both have terrific indoor playgrounds. They’ll love the toys, slides, climbing stations, tunnels, riding toys and more, to keep them stimulated and busy in the morning. There is usually a minor cost involved.

Shake those legs and arms around with Afro-Caribbean fusion dance, a free interactive session that will explore the rich heritage of cultural and historical dance moves. It will take place Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Aaniin Community Centre from 6:30. to 8p.m. for anyone 14 years of age or up.

For the creative types, Paint it Up! is fun, and free, touting itself as a “creative environment where you can come and release the artist within.” Instructors will be on hand to guide everyone on the process of artistic expression, and no experience is necessary. Paints, brushes, and canvas are provided. It will take place at the Aaniin Community Centre, Monday, Jan. 13 between 4:30 and 6:30p.m., and is geared towards ages 13 to 24.

Taking it up a notch in the physical demands department, there’s a whole new level to hopping on a bike and buzzing around a track. Joyride 150 is the largest indoor bike park in Canada, with more than 100,000 square feet of track for all ages. Try out the ramps, the 800-metre mountain bike trail, half pipe, and BMX-style area, among other wild tracks. The great thing is, it’s open seven days a week, and on weekends it’s open until 10p.m.




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