Passionate About Iowa City
and the Moms Who Live Here.

18 Indoor and Outdoor Family Activities for the Cold Winter Months

It’s that time of year. No, not the most wonderful time of the year. For me it’s the opposite. This is the un-festive part of winter, when all the cheerful December activities have been over for weeks, and it’s just the cold, bleak part of the season–without the fun.

By the end of January, it’s been dark and cold for so long. It’s hard to drag myself out of the house unless I have to for work or because the grocery situation gets really desperate. But I’ve found that if I get my family out of the house and force us to try and have some fun, we’re always glad we did. There’s not as much to do during this bleak and cold part of the year, but the area still has a variety of indoor as well as outdoor activities (if you are brave!)


1. Trampoline Park

Jump at one of the TWO indoor trampoline parks in Cedar Rapids: SkyZone and AirFX. SkyZone has Toddler Time from 10-11 on Friday and Sunday and AirFX has Junior Jumpers from 9-10:15 Tuesday-Sunday.

2. Children’s Museum

Spend a day at The Iowa Children’s Museum. Upcoming activities include Play2BFit (held at the Coralville Marriott Conference Center), Teddy Bear Hospital, STEM Family Free Night, and Super Hero Night for children with special needs. 

3. Movie

Catch a movie at FilmScene, New Strand Theatre, Coral Ridge Cinema, or Sycamore Cinema. FilmScene offers The Picture Show, a family and children’s movie series. Coral Ridge and Sycamore offer $5 Tuesdays.  

4. Waterpark

Pretend it’s a summer day at Wasserbahn Waterpark. The waterpark includes two water slides, a vortex pool, a kiddie pool, a hot tub, a game room, and more!

5. Ice Skating

Go indoor ice skating at the Coral Ridge Ice Arena or Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.  

6. Pottery

Make your own pottery creation at Renee’s Ceramic Cafe

7. Playspace

Explore the eco-friendly play area at Tiny Feet Boutique and Playspace. Read in the cozy nook, create in the arts & crafts corner, or explore the playhouse! UPDATE: The physical location of the playspace is closed but you can still shop the online boutique!

8. Arcades and mazes

Have an arcade game challenge at The Play Station or Chuck E Cheese. The Play Station also includes a three-level play zone, a lazer maze, and a restaurant. Chuck E Cheese has rides, entertainment, and pizza!

9. Bowling

Spend an afternoon bowling at Colonial Lanes or Westdale Bowling Center. Plus: Westdale also has lazer tag!  

10. Basketball Game

Cheer on an Iowa men’s or women’s basketball game.

11. Story Time

Catch a story at one of the many library story times around the area. You can also listen in at one of the Barnes and Noble story times.

12. Natural History Museum

Check out Mammal Hall at The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History

13. Paint

Paint a masterpiece at Brush and Barrel. Check the calendar for Little Monet events. 

14. Hockey Game

Take in a Cedar Rapids Roughriders hockey game.

15. Hibachi

Go out for a fun hibachi dinner as a family at Three Samurai.


16. Snow Sports

Go cross country skiing or snowshoeing at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area or any of the other city parks in Iowa City. 

17. Ice Skating

Go outdoor ice skating at the new Penn Meadows Park Ice Rink! Terry Trueblood Recreation Area and City Park will also have ice skating. Availability updates are on the Rainout Line

18. Beat the Bitter

Participate in one of the Beat the Bitter events, taking place around North Liberty from January 28-February 3. Activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, fireworks, ice skating, ice carving, food trucks, curling, broomball, and more!

Get busy, and have fun! Spring will be here before you know it!


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