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Thursday, January 7, 2010


Many Kansas parks host unique family fun events during the winter months, including the Polar Plunge at Tuttle Creek State Park, or ice skating at the River Pond area of the same park.

Cooler temperatures and fewer people provide visitors some of the best opportunities for a variety of outdoor activities in Kansas. Bird watching and wildlife photography, trout fishing, hiking, biking and winter events are just some of what’s available in the Kansas state parks during this uniquely beautiful time of the year.

Kansas’ off-season (October – March) can be cold, but there are plenty of mild, sunny days to get outdoors. Birds and wildlife are often more visible during the winter months, offering great opportunities to both watch and take photographs. In particular, several state parks have bald eagle watching events in January or February, including Clinton, Tuttle Creek and Milford state parks. Birding enthusiasts can find up-to-date eagle watching information, through the outdoor section of www.TravelKS.com, as well as other information about the best places to view wildlife.

Hiking, mountain biking, equestrian, and off-road vehicle trails all remain accessible throughout the winter. If there is snow on the ground, cross-country skiing is an option on the park trails, and identifying animal tracks in the snow is a great family outdoor activity.

Another unique winter opportunity is trout fishing. From October to April, trout are stocked at specific locations around the state, including Tuttle Creek, Scott, Glen Elder, and Cedar Bluff state parks. Rental cabins at many state parks are available year-round. During the fall and winter the cabins are particularly popular with hunters, but also offer an affordable get-away alternative for anyone looking to get outdoors.

Gary Lucas, park manager at Hillsdale State Park, south of Kansas City, sees many people of all ages coming to the park in the off-season. According to Gary, “In addition to all of the state’s winter outdoor options, the choices have improved for equipment and clothing, making a fall or winter stroll comfortable and relaxing. Kansans should take the opportunity to get out, get going, and get some fresh air.”

Park prices are discounted during the off-season, with standard fees as follows:
• Daily Vehicle permit — $3.70 (senior/disabled, $2.60)
• Annual Vehicle permit — $19.70 (senior/disabled, $11.10)
• Additional Annual Vehicle permit — $12.20 (senior/disabled, $7.35)
• Daily Camping permit — $7.50
• 14-Day Camping permit — $87.50

For more information about top events in Kansas, take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Kansas at www.topeventsusa.com/state-events-kansas.html

Or, take a look at the official web site for Kansas at www.TravelKS.com