January and February can be tough months in the Midwest. The holidays are over, the weather is cold, and the desire to stay indoors and hibernate is sometimes overbearing. But the good news is, we don’t have to! The winter months are a great time to enjoy St. Charles County Parks and say goodbye to cabin fever. Our Parks system, which is funded by a local use tax approved by voters in 1997, is open year-round for walkers, runners, hikers, bikers or any outdoor enthusiast.
- Hideaway Harbor in Portage des Sioux is a fantastic location to watch American Bald Eagles enjoy their winter home along the Illinois bluffs. Bundle up, bring a hot beverage, binoculars and camera, and make a day of watching these majestic birds. Hideaway Harbor is open from 7 a.m. to a half-hour after sunset.
- Get in some exercise and learn about nature by taking part in Parks’ new Phenological Walks series. Phenology is the study of plant and animal life cycles and how these are influenced by seasonal changes. This new interpretive program is free and starts at 10 a.m. the first Friday of the month at Veterans Tribute Park, and at 10 a.m. the first Saturday of the month at The Park at New Melle Lakes. The next walks are Feb. 1 and 2. Each guided walk lasts approximately one hour and covers a wide range of nature topics.
- After participating in the Phenological Walk, make your way to the free annual Winter Trails Day Hike at 10 a.m., Feb. 2 at Broemmelsiek Park in Defiance. Take part in the winter hike, discuss winter recreation opportunities with Parks staff, and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. One lucky guest will receive a free night’s stay in a cabin or two nights of tent camping in Klondike Park.
- Every Friday night, the Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri (ASEM) hosts a free public stargazing event in the Astronomy Viewing Area at Broemmelsiek Park. The society’s members volunteer their time and bring complex telescopes for the public to enjoy the stars. Observation begins at sunset and lasts two hours, weather permitting.
- Speaking of the stars, there are is a great opportunity this winter to learn more about our solar system at The Moon Walk from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 at Broemmelsiek Park’s Astronomy Viewing Area. This event includes a short presentation about the moon, as well as games and a hike under the stars.
To register and learn more about these and other Parks events, visit the St. Charles County Parks website
or call 636-949-7535.
January and February also are perfect months to check out new boats, jet skis, kayaks and any other sports and recreation gear you need to get a jump on spring. If you get it now, you won’t miss out on that wonderful time of the year trying to get organized – you will already have the equipment, probably at a great price, and will be ready to hit the water at our County Parks along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. I encourage you to check out companies around St. Charles County when getting your spring and summer recreational equipment and supplies – sales tax helps support the services that make our community a great place to live. This includes public safety, courts, health services, transportation projects, the county’s emergency radio communication system, and more!
Hang in there, St. Charles County—warmer months are ahead, but don’t let the opportunity to enjoy winter pass you by!