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Kid-Friendly Indoor Winter Escapes Ideas

Area businesses and organizations offer family activities and events.

Now that temperatures are dipping into the teens and twenties, daily walks to the Imagination Station and Mill Pond Park are almost always out of the question.

But, as a work-at-home-mom to a toddler and baby due-any-day-now - I've got to get out.

At the start of last year's cold season, this column featured and listed three . Since then, we've added a few stops to our circuit of winter escapes. Here's a list of our top three.

Hands On Educational Play

At the top of our list is the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum. Housed in a remodeled fire station in Ann Arbor's Kerrytown neighborhood, the museum's charms take effect before visitors enter the building. For us, the fun begins at the parking meter. My son would feed it quarters for hours if I'd let him.

He'd also sacrifice food and sleep to spend days exploring the museum's hundreds of interactive exhibits. His favorite area is the preschool gallery and its water table, ball track, and fire truck. While the rest of the museum is open to children of all ages, the preschool gallery, which includes a separate play area for infants, is open only to children aged 4 and under.

My favorite thing about the museum is the cost. A yearlong family membership is $75 — a steal considering the admission fee for one visit is $10 for anyone aged 2 and up. Memberships can also be upgraded to include grandparents and caregivers.

Good Old Fashioned Exercise

We've also been loving Wednesday mornings at . From 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and again from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., the rink hosts a preschool skate for children ages 7 and under.

The $5 admission fee includes skate rental (traditional or over-the-shoe), a short how-to lesson, a snack, and a drink. Shoes, strollers, push toys and pedal-less ride-on toys are permitted on the floor.

Movement, Music and Media

provides just about everything a family needs—books, movies, events — to prevent or cure cabin fever.

Even during the warmer months, we typically visit Brighton District Library twice a week — once for a class and once for a drop-in story time. Now that outdoor activities are limited, we'll probably head to the library more frequently. As long as the library's open, the youth room — which features puzzles, blocks, games, computers and a kid-friendly reading area is open.

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