A winter guide for all: 18 things to do in Midland to make the most of the season

Whether indoors or out is your thing, Midland is not short on activities, events and more to embrace the next few months of winter. Check out our list below for learning a new hobby, spending time outdoors with friends or family or enjoying a little friendly competition.

For active and outdoor fun

Chippewa Nature Center - Give snowshoeing a try
Often described as one of the easiest ways to get around in the snow, there is no better way to begin than just getting out there. The Center has many ways to get you outside this winter, whether on the trails for a trial or snowshoe event. You can swing into Chippewa Nature Center anytime and give this easy winter sport a try.

Hit the trails on a pair of snowshoes at Chippewa Nature Center.

Take your new skills out for a hike at one of the Center’s evening hikes throughout January and February. You can find more information on evening snowshoe events here and snowshoe samplers here.

All snowshoe events at Chippewa Nature Center are free for all participants. You can also check out Chippewa Nature Center’s calendar of events for a full list of activities.

Take the Float Fit Challenge with Greater Midland Community Center (PC: GMCC)

Greater Midland Community Center – Float Fit class

What floats and is sure to be a ton of fun? Greater Midland Community Center’s new fitness class – Float Fit. Float Fit provides all the challenges of traditional fitness classes – from atop individual floating platforms in the Center’s pool. The class merges several workout forms while incorporating the aspect of balance in the water.

Check out more about the Float Fit Challenge here and it might not be as easy as it looks, just check out some of these bloopers.

Greater Midland Curling Center – Learn to curl
One of the Olympics most popular sports, curling is social, easy enough to learn and at some point, everyone usually stops and hangs out for a post-match drink. The Greater Midland Curling Center regularly hosts informal curling lessons and one is being held this Saturday, January 11. Beginning sessions last for an hour and cost $10. Learn more about getting started curling here.

For the competitive spirit

Snow Moon Trail Run
It will probably be snowy and cold, but February’s full moon will light the way as hundreds of runners traipse through the winding trails of City Forest for the fourth annual Snow Moon Trail Run. With 5k, 15k or 25k distances, it’s both challenging and fun and sells out every year, so be sure to claim your spot early.

Hit the trails at City Forest for the annual Snow Moon Trail Run on February 8.

Runners and their friends are treated to an afterparty with music and beverages from the event’s sponsor, Short’s Brewing Company and partners from Midland Eagles 2110. Find out more information about this year’s race here.

The second annual City Forest Cardboard Sled Race takes place on January 25. (PC: City Forest Facebook)

City Forest Cardboard Sled Races

No winter season is complete without a good sledding session… or race. Get your finest chariot snow ready for the second annual City Forest Cardboard Sled Race. Riders can participate in one of three classes 10 & under, 11-17 and 18+ and/or families in a single-elimination sprint down the hill. You can expect awards for each winner, plus the best dressed and most spirited riders.

The races will take place on Saturday, January 25 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Midland City Forest, 2840 E. Monroe Road, Midland. For more information visit the city’s Facebook event or website.

For the seasoned or budding photographer

Creative 360 – iPhoneography with Armin Mersmann
What is the best camera for photographers? Often, it’s the one you have freely available and in your pocket – your phone. Wildly talented and recognized artist Armin Mersmann is teaching an upcoming workshop where artists and photographers can learn to maximize the camera functions of a mobile phone as well as the best shooting and editing apps. You can learn more about Mersmann and his work here or on his website.

Class participants will need an iPhone 7 or higher, iPad or equivalent, Samsung Galaxy, Droid or another smartphone. Find more information out about this class series here.

Oasis, iPhoneography by Armin Mersmann

Creative 360 – Conversations that Matter – iPhoneography Artists’s Panel
In the realm of iPhoneography, on January 13 in the first of this year’s series of Conversations That Matter, Creative 360 will be talking with multimedia artists Julie Close, Armin Mersmann and Steve Parkhurst, who are each extending iPhoneography into the realm of fine art.

The panel will explore each of the three artists’ lives, influences and insights from their experiences with technology and the new art world they are engaged in creating, which may give you some inspiration on the photography potential lying within your phone. You’ll find more information on this event here.

Red-winged Blackbirds, spring in South Dakota, nature photography from David Stimac Photography. (PC: David Stimac Photography)

Chippewa Nature Center - Photographing Nature with David Stimac

If the wonder and challenge of nature photography catches your eye, Chippewa Nature Centers is running a class featuring award-winning and internationally published photographer David Stimac. The workshop will cover how you create spectacular photographs of landscapes, plants and animals.

Stimac will offer his expertise on selecting the right camera bodies, lenses, filters, tripods and more and there is something for everyone to learn from novice or advanced hobbyist. Stimac will highlight this instruction with the aid of his own photography to illustrate what separates good photographs from great ones. Find more information about this class here.

For bookworms

Creative 360 – An Evening for Edgar Allen Poe
On the eve of one of America’s most notable writer’s birthday, literary enthusiasts are invited to join in for a night of highlighting some of Poe’s most mysterious poems and stories on Saturday, January 18. The event is BYOB and more information can be found here.

Alignment 8 – Monthly Book Club Sit down on your yoga mat and discuss the monthly book club at Alignment 8. (PC: A8)
Yogis, fitness enthusiasts and friends can join monthly a discussion on mindfulness and more at Alignment 8 with the first discussion centered on Don Miguel Ruiz’ book The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. The event starts on Saturday, February 1 and the group will be focusing on additional books each month. More information can be found here.

For families

Chippewa Nature Center – Families in Nature
Chippewa Nature Center’s monthly Families in Nature program series features regular sessions with the Center’s naturalists meant for exploring the wonders of Michigan’s seasons.

Winter sessions include: learning about animal tracks and scat left behind on the Center’s trails as a means to learn more about them (January 11); the science of winter and snow with activities around water in its solid state (February 8); and a session on maple syrup including how to identify Sugar Maples, tap for sap and see how maple syrup is made (March 14). You can learn more about this outdoor event series here. All events are free and suitable for all ages.

Midland Center for the Arts – Girls Only STEM Night
Girls are welcomed to get their STEM on at Midland Center for the Arts on the first Thursday of the month through April. Each night will feature fun night of STEM activities, food and highlight casual and spirited conversation with a professional woman in a STEM career, sharing their personal stories of inspiration around education, passion and why they love what they do. Learn more information about Girls Only STEM Night here.

Blue Man Group comes to Midland Center for the Arts February 21-23 (PC: Blue Man Group / Midland Center for the Arts.)
Midland Center for the Arts – Blue Man Group

Winter may be white, but one of the neatest things you’ll see this February is blue. Midland Center for the Arts welcomes the world-renowned Blue Man Group for five shows over three days. Blue Man Group is a traveling artistry of surprise, music and unexpected fun that over 35 million people have experienced around the world. Find more out about this awesome opportunity to see a wonderful group of artists here.

For learning a new hobby

Dow Gardens – Beekeeping
If you’ve ever had an interest in beekeeping, Dow Gardens has several resources to help you learn more and get you on your way to keeping and maintaining your own hive. There is a hive building workshop on January 25 that will allow you to build the foundation for your hive, included boxes, bee frames and hive covers.

And for the process and experience of beekeeping, Dow Gardens will also feature a monthly class that explains all the steps of beekeeping season. Dow Gardens entomologist Elly Maxwell will walk participants through all the seasonal needs that are necessary for bees to thrive.

If you've ever wondered about beekeeping, Dow Gardens has the resources to get you started.

View more about the Hive Building Workshop here and the Beekeeping Series here.

Creative 360 - Art classes
If learning or honing a new creative skill is on your to do list this winter Creative 360 is one of the many places in town for art education and expression. With a number of classes there is sure to be something for everyone. Some of the topics you’ll find this winter are geared specifically towards beginners – like Beginning Drawing that runs through March.

In February, there is a two-part workshop on fluid painting techniques with Unicorn Spit gel stains and epoxy. The piece created will be based on an image from the Hubble Space Telescope. Not sure what Unicorn Spit gel stains are? Check out more information here.

And if you have multiple creative interests check out the Creative Minds Art Class starting January 14, running for 16 weeks. The class will feature many different inspirations and help you develop your own style.

You can find more about all classes and events at Creative 360 here.

Read more articles by Courtney Soule.

Courtney is a longtime Midland resident and enjoys telling the story of the community's evolution. As the Managing Editor of Catalyst Midland, her favorite topics are interesting people, change makers, outdoor recreation and design. Aside from Catalyst, her published work can be found various places including Elephant Journal, Thought Catalog and a number of other websites, papers, menus and the occasional one-liner. 
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