13 Places To Visit While Surviving This Northwest Ohio Winter

13 Places To Visit While Surviving This Northwest Ohio Winter

The weather may be horrible, but at least there are some neat places to explore — inside and out!

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Alright, its time to acknowledge the fact that winter has outstayed its welcome. Even those who love the snowy weather are growing tired of the constant cold and wind bearing down on their souls. So here's a list of the best places to visit to cure that cabin fever!

1. The Toledo Zoo

Toledo Zoo Jellyfish

Flickr

I may be biased, but The Toledo Zoo has some of the coolest exhibits ever. Warm up indoors with a peek in the aquarium, sip hot cocoa while looking at the polar bears, and get hands-on at the activity tables and touch stations across grounds!

2.  President Rutherford B. Hayes House and Museum

The Hayes Museum

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19th president Rutherford B. Hayes was from our very own backyard, Fremont Ohio. The Museum and House are an incredible place to tour and learn about the cutest president, RB Hayes. The 25-acre grounds are gorgeous and free to roam.

3. Maumee Bay State Park

The steps of the Maumee Bay State Park

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An astounding 1,336-acre escape on the coast of Lake Erie, Maumee Bay State Park has something for everyone this winter. In the proper conditions, visitors can ski on the trails, take winter ice hikes, ice skate with a view, and sled down the areas best hill. With yurts, cabins, and the lodge to stay in, you'll totally forget summer is two seasons away

4. Ohio Skate

Rollerskating

Flickr

With locations in Maumee and Toledo, Ohio Skate is the perfect way to step, better yet rollerskate, out of your comfort zone this winter! A great spot for a first date, a girls night out, or just an escape for cabin fever.

5. The Toledo Museum of Art

The Toledo Museum of Art

Flickr

This palace of paintings has so many things to admire and explore! From an exhibition on sight and sound to relics from ancient Egypt and building full of glass, the TMA has something for every art lover.

6. Indoor water parks

Kalahari's Racing Slides

Flickr

Located in Sandusky, Kalahari is the perfect place to bring a bit of summer fun back into the bitter winter days. There are several other water parks around, including Great Wolf Lodge and Castaway Bay, both located in Sandusky.

7. Bowling Green State University

The BGSU Union

Flickr

Bowling Green State University has many different things to offer during the winter months. From basketball games and ice skating at the Slater Family Ice Arena to live theatre and art shows, you'll find something for everyone.

8. Mad River

Mad River

Flickr

If skiing and snowboarding are your things, then head on down to Mad River in Zanesville Ohio. This winter wonderland is the perfect place to embrace the negative temps if moving at a quick pace down a hill of frozen water is your jam.

9. Nature preserves

Oak Openings

Flickr

Northwest Ohio has some of the most biologically diverse nature preserves in the state, and a hike through the crisp winter air is just what may cure your cabin fever this season. There's Oak Openings in Toledo, Wintergarden/ St. Johns in Bowling Green, and Mary Jane Thurston State Park in McClure. You can visit the Toledo Metroparks website or the Ohio State Parks Website to find a park near you.

10. Wood County Historical Society

The Wood County Historical Society

Flickr

This little piece of Ohio history sits just off of Route 6 in Bowling Green. The Historical Society and surrounding land are a perfect place to take winter pictures and learn more about the crazy Ohio history. Visit what used to be an insane asylum and check out the fingers in a jar while you totally ignore the freezing cold!

11. Hockey Games

Toledo Walleye

Flickr

Hockey is the greatest winter sport of all time, and in NWO there are many opportunities to get your hockey fix. There's the Toledo Walleye, Bowling Green State University hockey team, and lots of local high school hockey teams across the state. Get out there and enjoy some big men chasing a flat ball on ice!

12. Swimming

Guys Posing in a Pool

Flickr

I know, I know, why the heck would anyone want to go swimming in the winter? Well I say, why not? There are several indoor swimming facilities around NWO, like the Toledo YMCA, the BGSU Rec Center, and Plummer Pool in Sylvania. So put on a suit and pretend your winter bod is your summer bod!

13.  Your house

Hot Cocoa

Flickr

OK, let's be honest, We all know that some winter days are just better spent cozied up in a blanket with some hot cocoa. So if these things don't tickle your fancy, try a new Netflix show and tell your pet you love them as you enjoy your winter day in!

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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Surviving Syracuse's Polar Vortex

Since Kent absolutely refuses to cancel class in -30 degree winds.

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Syracuse was considerably colder since I came back from winter break. The -30-degree winds felt like whips on my ankles and gave my friends a tingle in their legs. There is a long-running joke about students wearing the same dark parkas with fur hoods. Proper jackets are only one way to make it through the brutal winters, but to truly avoid frostbite, take a few extra precautions.

1. Footwear is everything

My Sorell boots are getting me through the unpaved pathways at 9:00 in the morning and the forever-slippery majority of the promenade. Traction is so important to avoid slipping, so maybe your AirForce One's aren't the best choice. If your shoes get wet, the rest of your body will feel cold too.

2. Bundle up!

Jackets and parkas are great, but won't completely protect your legs or face from the cold. Wear a scarf to protect your face and wear tights or thin leggings under your jeans. Don't forget thick socks to keep your feet warm.

3. Keep the iced coffees indoors

I completely agree iced coffee tastes better than traditional hot coffee and everyone needs to get their energy from somewhere, but I will never understand how people drink their iced beverages while a snowstorm is going on outside and then complain how cold they are later. Just take the time to enjoy your iced caffeine fix indoors.

4. Weather-proof everything

This is especially important when it comes to your backpack. Most college students carry some kind of technology on them and it would be terrible if snow or water got into your bag and damaged their phone or laptop. The best backpacks for this weather are usually under "hiking" bags, so brands like NorthFace, Patagonia, and Fjallraven won't fail you.

5. If the roads aren't shoveled and salted, don't drive

I was told that Syracuse keeps the roads pretty clear, but I really don't believe it. I can barely walk around campus sometimes and I've seen cars slip and slide. For anyone living off-campus and needs a car or bus to get to class. Safety is everything and if the transportation given by the school isn't able to bring you to class, then it is not worth it.

Most importantly, be safe and protect yourself from the cold. I learned that physical health is so important in college and being sick or hurt takes out a lot of time from anything you're involved with on campus whether it's classes or other organizations.

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