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Category - Great Outdoors

My grandfather loved birds. He used to bird watch and enjoyed learning about them. This love of birds was passed down to my mom. It was with knowing this that our old neighbors, years ago, first took my parents to see the Sandhill Cranes at the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area. We have since gone as a family about three times before going for the fourth time this past week.  Always the week before or of Thanksgiving. Each time we are amazed by what we see. 


Though she has been offered a leaf blower, my dear friend chooses to rake her leaves the old-fashioned way --- because she wants to be sure to hear the melodious, rattling trumpet-like call of the sandhill cranes as they fly over! She doesn’t want to miss a single awe-inspiring moment of these majestic birds.


The snow is here! Will you be building a snowman, holiday shopping, or curling up on the couch to binge-watch Netflix? If you’re feeling adventurous take a look at these twelve, great spots to enjoy sledding, cross-country skiing and ice skating this season.

These are great activities you can do while on holiday break with the kids, too. Too cold outside? We have some indoor things to do at the end of this blog.


Discover exciting winter activities in Northwest Indiana, from sledding and ice skating to cross country skiing.

Shelf Ice

The Indiana Dunes are marvelous year-round. Shelf ice is a natural occurrence that mimics landscapes of arctic regions. It attaches itself to the shores of the beach, not the bottom of Lake Michigan. Waves crash onto the floating ice and collects on the shore, freezing as the temperature drops and creates a shelf.


Thanksgiving week is full of activities between cooking, eating and starting your holiday shopping. But if you’re looking for more to do this week – either for grown up fun, entertaining visiting friends and family or just something to keep the kids busy during the long weekend – we got you covered!


Imagine a spooky Halloween scenario, or a scary movie with a haunted mansion, and chances are it’ll include at least one flying bat. A bat flapping its wings on a dark night has become synonymous with creepy. Overcoming that stereotype is a steep hill to climb for bats. 


Looking to spend the remainder of your good summer days outside?  I was lucky enough to stumble upon one of the best hidden-gems in Northwest Indiana, the Gabis Arboretum. Tucked away in southern Valparaiso, driving around the area you wouldn’t expect to find six miles of gorgeous hiking trails anywhere near you. Spending most of my hiking time at the Indiana Dunes National Park, it didn’t occur to me that there was a secret oasis right in my backyard. 


Photo: Butterfly Day at Kankakee Sands by Leigh Littiken

We all know that getting out in nature is great for our health, but sometimes our busy schedules make it difficult to find the time to get our “green time”. Fear not, it’s really much easier that you might think – because green time is all around you!

Getting you green time is truly as simple as standing outside and noticing the nature around you. No batteries, tools or fancy footwear required.


Nothing feels more like fall than walking outside on a cool, crisp morning to find hints of orange and yellow leaves scattered throughout the green trees. No matter how cold it will be soon, I still love every bit of fall and everything that comes with it. Bring on all the apple-cinnamon donuts, pumpkin beer, apple picking, and haunted houses, because it is spooky season!


Photo: Shooters at Oakwood Gun Club break clay targets for fun and to hone hunting skills.

It’s surprising how many hunters put down their guns at the end of the season and don’t load them again until they are uncased and ready to be carried on opening day the following year. Perhaps in the good ol’ days when rabbits, quail and pheasants were far more abundant a hunter only needed to walk far enough and shoot often enough to eventually bring home some game. Those good ol’ days must have occurred before I started hunting.