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Jan 25

Winter Parks and Recreation Programs

Posted on January 25, 2021 at 11:15 AM by Jessica Abrahams

Author: Eric Anderson, Recreation Manager

Prepare Before Heading Outdoors
The winter months offer many outdoor activities to enjoy, including those provided by the Owatonna Parks and Recreation Department.  When you do venture outdoors this winter, make sure to take the necessary steps to stay safe.  Here are a few tips to help prepare for outdoors activities:

  • Check the forecast before heading outside. Temperature, wind and moisture, along with the length of time that you'll be outside, are key factors in planning a safe cold-weather activity.
  • Wear multiple layers of clothing, including a hat, scarf, mittens, a water-resistant jacket and boots, so you can removed layers as soon as you start to sweat and then put them back on as needed. Make sure you stay as dry as possible, as water against the skin from wet clothing can chill the body quickly.
  • Bring a friend and carry a charged cell phone when participating in outdoor activities.
  • Inspect your equipment before using it – Broken or damaged equipment can quickly end an enjoyable time and could lead to unsafe conditions.
  • Recognize Frostbite and Hypothermia before they happen
    • Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite is most common on exposed skin, such as your cheeks, nose and ears. It can also occur on hands and feet. Early warning signs include numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation.
    • Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Exercising in cold, rainy weather increases the risk of hypothermia. Older adults and young children are at greater risk.  Hypothermia signs and symptoms include: Intense shivering, Slurred speech, Loss of coordination and Fatigue
    • Research safety tips associated with your particular activity to be prepared when going outside into winter’s elements.

Winter Weekend Out Activities
A variety of winter-themed activities are currently underway or are coming up through the end of January.

  • Snowman Building Contest – During the month of January.  During the month of January submit a photo of your best snowman creation.  Submission deadline is Sunday, January 31, 2021.  Free to enter!  Prizes will be awarded to the Best in Snow (chosen by judges) and People’s Choice (Facebook vote). Bring your snowman to life using accessories, colors, themes, etc.  Be creative and imaginative! Winners will be contacted after judging is complete. 
  • Snowman Clue – Who Melted Frosty?  January 15 – 31.  This cold weather has gotten to the one of the Parks and Recreation Department staff!  Whoever it was punished poor Frosty the Snowman!  The Owatonna Police Department found Frosty in a puddle, melted.  Frosty’s sidekicks will not let this crime go unpunished!  Are you a good enough detective to figure out which Parks and Recreation employee finally snapped? Who did it? Where they did it? What weapon they used? Frosty’s sidekicks, miniature snowman, hold the clues to this horrendous crime! Find Frosty’s sidekicks at the following parks to help solve the crime: Mineral Springs, Morehouse, and Fairgrounds Park. Visit these parks between January 15—31, find Frosty’s sidekicks holding the clues. Use the Snowman Clue Guide to help you crack the crime.  Once you have figured out this mystery, submit your guess here, or message your guess to us on our Facebook page
  • Cardboard Sled Race Rules – January 30 at West Hills Sledding Hill.  Design and build a person powered, corrugated cardboard sled capable of withstanding the descent down the West Hills sledding hill. How creative can you be using only corrugated cardboard as a building material?  Come join the fun!  
    • Class I: Age 10 and under, Class II: Ages 11 and up.
    • Four time slots: 10:00 (class I), 10:45 (class I), 11:30 (class II) & 12:15 (class II). Max 15 participants per time slot.  Pre-registration through CivicRec required.  
    • Awards for Top o’ the Hill – Most attractive or spectacular looking and Fastest Sled.
    • Cardboard Sled Race Rules
  • Family Ice Fishing – January 31 at Lake Kohlmier.  Enjoy a Minnesota winter past-time, ice fishing!  We’ll have holes drilled for you and provide bait and equipment (limited equipment available).  Everyone who registers will receive one ticket and each fish caught earns another ticket for a drawing for various prizes!  A prize for largest fish caught will also be awarded.
    • Three time slots: 1:00 – 2:00pm, 2:15 – 3:15pm & 3:30 – 4:30pm.  
    • Pre-registration through CivicRec required, $5 per area (two pre-drilled holes provided for you per area). Maximum of 25 areas per timeslot, register early!

Snow Sculpture Exhibition

Join in this free, family-friendly community event!  No experience needed and snow blocks will be provided for you!  A great team-building event for businesses, family event for families or individual event to show off your sculpting skills. 

Skating at Morehouse

Ice skating at the Warsinski ice rinks located at Morehouse Park is open. Please note the following guidelines due to the Governor's orders:

  • Chalet is now open for a warming house and consumption of food in the chalet is now allowed. The capacity of the chalet is now 25% capacity which is max of 35 people.
  • Additional benches will be placed outside the chalet for people to change into their skates.
  • At this time bonfires are not allowed. We ask that when skating that you practice proper social distancing, hygiene, and if you have symptoms to not use the facility at that time.
Chalet Hours:
  • Monday thru Friday: 3:00 pm to 9:30 pm
  • Saturdays, Holidays, School Vacation Days: 11:00 am to 9:30 pm (January 1, 8, 18 and 19)
  • Sunday: 12:00 pm to 9:30 pm

Cross Country Ski Trails
Cross country ski trails are groomed in the winter at Kaplans, Brooktree and Morehouse. The Parks Department packs and grooms cross-country skiing trails throughout the winter season with trails through Kaplan’s Woods, from Kaplans to Morehouse Chalet and the upper and lower nine of Brooktree golf course.  Ski rentals are available at Morehouse Chalet during the scheduled business hours.

West Hills Tennis Center
The Tennis Center is open for members only – pre-registered court time is required.  Memberships can be purchased and court time reservations made online or by calling 507-444-4290.  Please check the website for the facility Covid-19 Safety Plan.

Current Tennis Court Hours:

Monday-Thursday         3:00pm-9:00pm

Tuesday & Thursday     8:00am-11:00am

Friday                            3:00pm-7:00pm

Saturday                         8:00am-12:00pm

Sunday                           12:00pm-4:00pm

West Hills Social Commons
West Hills Social Commons will be re-opening on Monday, January 25 in a limited capacity, offering a variety of Adult Leisure Pursuit programs, including Bingo, Bunco, Floor Exercises, Book Club, yoga and more (please note, not all previously offered programs are currently available at this time due to Covid Safety Plan guidelines).  Please check the website for the facility Covid-19 Safety Plan.

The facility will be open from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Pre-registration is currently required for all programs.  Registration can be done online, over the phone by calling 507-444-4280 or by emailing

It is also time to renew your 2021 membership.  Renew by mailing in your membership form and payment, calling 507-444-4280 or stopping at Social Commons during open hours, if needed.  Business partnership cards will be mailed out to those who mail in or call to renew their membership.

Various Programs Currently On Hold

**Water Aerobics – Classes at the Tennis & Fitness Center Pool are on hold until further notice due to restrictions outlined in the current Governor’s Order.

**Lap Swim - Is currently unavailable at both the Owatonna Middle School and West Hills Tennis and Fitness Center.