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How to liven up in dead of winter

Perhaps some were duped by the recent mild weather. But this week's temperature plunge reminded residents that in Fargo-Moorhead, the next brutal cold snap is always just around the corner, ready to send residents running and screaming back into ...

Embrace the cold

Perhaps some were duped by the recent mild weather. But this week's temperature plunge reminded residents that in Fargo-Moorhead, the next brutal cold snap is always just around the corner, ready to send residents running and screaming back into the warmth of their homes.

But then what? Huddle around the heater and wait for May? Nope. Even though it's cold and the holidays are over, families can still find plenty to do in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Here are five suggestions for how to weather the winter doldrums.

Learn something

Parents.com lists the Children's Museum at Yunker Farm as the nation's 22nd best children's museum. The Fargo museum boasts more than 50 hands-on exhibits designed to educate and encourage interaction between parent and child.

The Fargo Air Museum stays open all year and features historic World War II aircraft. There are currently about 15 aircraft on display, and there is also an interactive children's exhibit.


"Families love to come out here," Executive Director Fran Brummund says.

There are also an assortment of art museums and galleries with Moorhead boasting the Rourke Art Museum and the Rourke Art Gallery.

The Plains Art Museum is an option on the west side of the river. Along with art exhibits, the Plains features hands-on "art experiences" for youth and adults.

And, of course, there's a Viking ship in the area. Not only does Moorhead's Hjemkomst Center house the ship that was built in Hawley, Minn., and sailed to Norway, but it also features traveling exhibits.

Also, surprisingly, the Red River Zoo is open on the weekend during the winter. So bundle up, and make some furry new friends.

Get cultured

Fargo-Moorhead has its share of theater activities. The Tin Roof Theatre Co. is in the midst of presenting "The Odd Couple." The Music Theatre Fargo-Moorhead is putting on "The Last Five Years."

If you'd like to go to the theater to escape the cold but want something a little off-beat, no problem. The Fargo Theatre is featuring Troupe America's comedy musical "How to Speak Minnesotan" beginning Jan. 31. There's an Ole-and-Lena joke-telling competition that night. And there's a Jell-O creation competition coming up Jan. 18.


Or impress all your friends with how cultured you've become by going to see the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra perform. They have a nimble-fingered new violinist and concertmaster and will be performing the regional debut of a symphony by composer Mark O'Connor this weekend.

Shop 'til you drop

Fargo-Moorhead has historically been a retail destination for the region, and it remains so today. West Acres alone covers just a little less than 1 million square feet and boasts about 120 shops, restaurants and services.

Further, Cole Carley, president of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, says that there are a growing number of ethnic restaurants available in the area. There's Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Greek, Indian, Japanese and Thai cuisine to choose from.

Carley says that "whatever you have on your mind, Fargo-Moorhead can put in your stomach."

Embrace the cold

According to Men's Health Magazine, downhill skiing develops the old cardio, as well as the gluteals, quads, hamstrings and calves.

OK, hills can be a little hard to come by around here (though not impossible). But, according to the same article, cross-country skiing burns more than 750 calories an hour, provides a cardio workout and builds muscles in both the upper and lower body. And if there's one thing we have plenty of in this area, its wide open, flat spaces.


It may be less hip than swishing along on skis, but hauling the kids up a good hill and then sledding down is awfully good for getting the heart thumping. Calorielab.com says a 150-pound person will burn more than 400 calories per hour sledding.

Head to the game

One of the great things about living in a metro area with three four-year colleges is that there's three times the athletics. Whether the Bison, Cobbers or Dragons are your cup of tea, there's plenty of rooting to be done.

One of the first sports to pop to mind this time of year is basketball, and there's plenty of that in both the men's and women's varieties.

But that's not the only option. Take in a swim meet, which is nice because the pool and the swimmers will give you the illusion that you are in a warmer climate. Or go to an indoor track meet like the Feb. 22 Cobber Open in Moorhead. There's also collegiate wrestling.

Readers can reach Forum reporter J. Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734 How to liven up in dead of winter J. Shane Mercer 20080115

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