Thursday, February 18, 2016

5 Family Winter Fun Activities in North Iowa and Beyond

The last couple of weeks have kept most North Iowans at home due to snow, wind and below zero temperatures.  But this weekend looks to be changing the pace and is going to be a great chance to get out of the house.  Here are a few things that my family suggests you enjoy!

Support Make-A-Wish at Battle of the Badges

Every winter our family loves going to at least a hockey game or two, and one we always make a trip for is the annual Battle of the Badges that raises money for Make-A-Wish in North Iowa.  This is a friendly, charity hockey game that puts North Iowa police officers against North Iowa fire fighters.  It is a lot of fun to watch, and our favorite part is when they have North Iowa Wish Kids come out for the first puck drop.  This year's Battle of the Badges is tomorrow night, Friday, February 19th at 7pm at the North Iowa Ice Arena in Mason City.  There is a $5 admission for the game that is donated to Make-A-Wish.

North Iowa Battle of the Badges is February 19, 2016 at 7pm at the North Iowa Ice Arena in Mason City
Members of the Fire and Police Hockey Teams for the Battle of the Badges

Fly Away at the Color the Wind Kite Festival

Our family thinks kites are cool no matter the time of the year, but going to the Color the Wind Kite Festival on Clear Lake is really cool. Professional kite flyers from across the country come out to Clear Lake to fly their giant kites!  It is so much fun to see the huge variety of kites and see a kite dance show.  This year's Color the Wind Kite Festival is this Saturday, February 20th from 11am to 4pm on Clear Lake along the Downtown Seawall.  This is a free event.

Color the Wind Kite Festival, Clear Lake, Iowa, February 20, 2016
The huge variety of kites at the Color the Wind Kite Festival

Go Roller Skating

I will always remember roller skating in PE at school growing up and have to admit, up until last year I hadn't laced up since I was a teenager.  To my surprise, my roller skating skills came back to me pretty easily.  Our family loves going to Roller City in Mason City each year for the Make-A-Wish Skating Party.  This is a great chance to practice your moves, play some classic roller skating games, and support local wish families.  The party is this Sunday, February 21st from 1 to 4pm at Roller City in Mason City.  There is a $5 admission that includes your skate rental.  $3 of each admission will be a direct donation to Make-A-Wish.

Roller Skating at Roller City in Mason City
There are a lot of talented limbo skaters at Roller City

Eat Local Delicacies

We love going to different local town's food festival and events every year and this winter includes some of our favorites!

Last night we traveled down to Conrad, Iowa for their American Legion's Lamb Nut Fry.  It takes places the third Wednesday of every month with a "R" in it.  It starts at 5pm; adults are $20, which includes all the nuts, fries and salad you can eat.  Come early and hungry though, because a few hundred people show up to each Nut Fry.  The money from each Nut Fry support local scholarships.

We are looking forward to St. John's Annual Aebelskiver Dinner on Sunday, March 6th in rural Hampton, Iowa.  Aebelskivers are delicious Danish "pancake puffs".  They serve the aebelskivers with sausage and all the fixings!

Lastly, the Annual Coulter, Iowa Fish Fry is a must!  This year's Fish Fry is Thursday, March 31st at the Coulter Community Center.  This Fish Fry has been going on since the 1950's and not too much has changed since the original, including their delicious fish batter recipe and secret tarter sauce.  The Fish Fry raises money for different community projects.

Aebelskivers cooking - St. John's Annual Aebelskiver Dinner, Rural Hampton, Iowa
Some Aebelskivers cooking on the stove top

Explore the Ice Castles

This is where the "and beyond" comes into play...  I couldn't make a Winter Family Fun list without including our family's annual tradition of going up to Eden Prairie, Minnesota to check out the Ice Castles.  The Ice Castles are built by placing icicles by hand and running water.  In the "growing phase" they make 10,000 icicles each day.  The end product is amazing and a great place for kids, and adults, to let their imaginations run wild.  Our favorite parts of the Ice Castles this year was the giant slide and maze area.  Our tip is to wear snow pants and plenty of layers so you can fully enjoy everything the Ice Castles have to offer!

Running through the "Maze" at the Ice Castles in Eden Prairie, Minnesota #IceCastles
LP and MP choosing what "door" to go through in the Maze at the Ice Castles

So why wait?  Get out and explore this winter with your family!  What is your family's favorite winter time activity?  What would you add to the list?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!


  1. What a great List of goodies to do. I think maybe I'll pass on the Lamb Nut Fry, not really my type of food, and yes, I've had them. Though if the wind keeps up like it is today, I think the kites maybe a no show. But it's on my bucket list!

    1. If you could guess, the Lamb Nut Fry is 98% male and actually use to be classified as a "stag" but they opened it up to women several years ago to grow their audience ;)

      The Color the Wind Festival is so neat. I hope the wind doesn't hamper things for tomorrow. According to their website things are still a go!

  2. Love, love the Color the Wind Festival -- amazing to see the interesting kites and the colors against all of the white! Great list -- my kids loved the Roller Rink and what a wonderful cause! Nice post!

  3. This is a great list! I love learning what's going on here in North Iowa!

  4. Really interesting content on this blog post. It should be share on other big platforms too