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Winter Family Fun: Things to Do with Kids Around Canandaigua in the Winter


Powdery snow, frozen lakes, and sparkling outdoor adventures. Winter lasts a while up here in the Finger Lakes, which means we have a plethora of fun winter experiences to suit every activity level. From ice skating with a view and zooming down the highest vertical between the Adirondack Mountains and the Rocky Mountains, to roasting marshmallows at our outside fire pits (s’mores aren’t just for summer) and building snowmen, there are countless things to do with kids around Canandaigua in the winter. And, when you need a break from the frosty air, the region also offers an array of cozy — and educational — family-friendly indoor activities.


Play in the snow

Yes, it sounds obvious, but a dusting of fresh snow instantly makes even the mundane magical, especially for little ones. With snow cover for much of October through April, you’re (almost) guaranteed a shimmering winter wonderland when you stay at The Lake House. Onsite, kiddos can get some energy out at snowball target practice, build snowmen, learn how to make maple syrup snow candy, and simply enjoy creating snowy memories.


Ice skate at Canandaigua Lake
Strap on a pair of skates and take a spin with your littles around The Rink at The Lake. Perched right on the edge of the lake, our picturesque ice rink offers family-friendly ice skating open to guests and the public from Thursday through Sunday from December through the end of February.


Go skiing in the Finger Lakes 

Whether you have kids just learning how to ski or they’re already zipping down the mountain, skiing in the Finger Lakes offers some of the best skiing in New York, thanks to a range of mountains throughout the region. Our pick: Bristol Mountain. Just a 20-minute drive from The Lake House, the peak is the highest in the region and known for perfect powder. Get the full experience by booking our Ski & Stay Package until April 3, 2022.


Glide down a mountain snow tubing 

Snow tubing more your family’s style? Tubing at Greystone (35 minutes away driving from The Lake House) is by far the best spot to go for a day sliding down the snow. With groomed tracks, snow machines, and staff on hand to help space out tubers, here it’s all about fun, safe, hassle-free tubing. You’ll also spend less time trudging up the hill and more time enjoying the casual adrenaline rush because of the power lift. Note that reservations are required in advance to keep crowds low.


Explore Cumming Nature Center

A 30-minute drive from The Lake House brings you to Cumming Nature Center, a sprawling 900-acre environmental education preserve operated by the Rochester Museum & Science Center. Here you’ll find 12 miles of easily accessible groomed ski trails and a 3-mile loop for snowshoeing (rentals are available onsite), plus educational programs and activities designed for a range of ages and abilities. For example, in February and March 2020, the center is offering specialized, adaptive ski lessons for those with physical or developmental differences.


Visit The Strong National Museum of Play

Ready for a warmer, indoor activity? Though a bit of a drive at 40 minutes away, The Strong National Museum of Play is well worth the trek. Within its 100,000 square feet of interactive exhibit space, The Strong museum is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to play, blending the best features of both history museums and children’s museums.


Head to outer space at Strasenburgh Planetarium

Exhilarating visitors since 1968, the Strasenburgh Planetarium offers guests of all ages a deeper look into outer space, inside atoms, what it was like to roam with dinosaurs, and more with awe-inspiring shows in its four-story dome. Online ticket sales for public shows are encouraged. Just a few blocks away from The Strong National Museum of Play, the planetarium hosts a variety of talks and showings each week.