Indoor Recreation in Sonoma County
By Aleta Copestakes
This is my first winter back in California in 7 years, and I must admit that I’m really enjoying the sunshine and warm-ish weather (compared to Colorado, where I had been hiding out all that time). Winters are mild here, rainy days are broken up by sunshine and the birds never stop singing, the temperature rarely gets below freezing and plants sprout new life. I’ve only worn my winter coat a handful of times, and I have been stubborn to put away my flip-flops.
My point behind all this is that winter is no reason to stop being active. There are so many activities to enjoy year-round, even when it’s pouring rain outside. And though I would encourage you to continue enjoying our beautiful outdoors, there are tons of indoor activities to try as well.
The tried and true winter activity in Sonoma County is ice skating at Snoopy’s Home Ice in Santa Rosa. We all remember field trips from our childhood slipping around on the ice and making fun of one another, the majority of us going home with bruised bottoms. This tradition is still alive and well. And if your skating abilities have still not improved, Snoopy’s offers adult and family lessons, so you can learn right along with your children. Although we commonly think of ice skating as a winter activity, don’t forget about Snoopy’s in the summer, it’s a great place to cool off and hide from the heat for an afternoon.
If you’re looking to start a new tradition, Driven Raceway in Rohnert Park has been open for three years and has a lot to offer. This is not the kind of go-cart racing you remember from your youth. These cars are fast, the track is slick, the turns tight, and the adrenaline thick. It’s a perfect place to teach your little ones the basics of driving skills in a safe but fun environment, or to have a little playful competition with your spouse. Driven also has a great arcade area, diner, and black-light mini golf course. If you or your child will be celebrating a birthday this winter, Driven will host one fun-packed party.
One place I look forward to trying out is Vertex Climbing Center in Santa Rosa. It’s basically a room full of climbing walls of varying difficulty. You can purchase a day pass for adults and children, or get a monthly membership that includes access to their full on-site gym. Staying active in winter is essential, and climbing rock walls all day is a great way to use up your child’s energy. Vertex also offers classes, after-school and summer camps, climbing parties, and corporate training.
Don’t eliminate the possibility of swimming just because it’s winter. YMCA of Santa Rosa has an indoor swimming pool that is open to non-members during certain hours of the day. Call for the precise schedule and cost of a day pass. However, becoming a member of the Y allows you to partake in all it has to offer and will keep your entire family active through the winter. This is a great time to improve your child’s swimming skills with lessons, so they’re ready to dive right in this summer. The Y also has a great fitness facility, exercise classes, youth sports activities, camps, and childcare.
If you have kids, keeping them active and engaged over the winter is essential. I suggest signing them up for indoor sports activities to maintain their competitive edge and keep them from spending too much time in front of the TV. Redwood Baseball Institute is a large indoor batting cage facility in Santa Rosa that also offers training lessons. Indoor soccer is very popular in Sonoma County and can be played year-round at Sports City in Santa Rosa and Cotati, or for 10 weeks starting in January with the Sebastopol Indoor Soccer Club at Analy High.
Even with all these great indoor places to use up some energy, I still highly recommend getting outdoors at every opportunity. Exploring in winter is just as much fun as in summer. Take a hike through Armstrong Redwoods and see how many different types of mushrooms you can spot (but don’t eat them!), look for banana slugs or deer in Annadel State Park, or check out the big swells at our many coastal beaches. Please see the “Great Outdoors” calendar on page 60 for ideas on local hikes and explorations.
So don’t let the cold and rain keep you holed up at home, there’s still plenty to do. And please write us a Letter to the Editor or email us a photo (firstname.lastname@example.org) of your favorite winter activity so we can share your ideas with our readers. Winter in Sonoma County is beautiful, and this is just another reminder of how to LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE!
Where to Play:
Snoopy’s Home Ice
1667 West Steele Lane, Santa Rosa.
4601 Redwood Drive, Rohnert Park»
Vertex Climbing Center
3358a Coffey Lane, Santa Rosa
6100 Commerce Blvd., Rohnert Park
YMCA Sonoma County
1111 College Avenue, Santa Rosa
Redwood Baseball Institute
917-A Piner Road, Santa Rosa
921 Piner Road, Santa Rosa
6700 Stony Point Road, Cotati