Winter Play Day

February 24, 2024

Even though our 2024 winter looks different than other years, we'll still be celebrating the season! Dust off your snowpants to play in the snow at Hyland Lake Park Reserve and check out updated activities — including new ways to explore the parks — below.

Embrace winter at Winter Play Day at locations throughout Three Rivers Park District!

Check out the full lineup of events, free activities, and learn how to get your free day passes and make online reservations for select free equipment rentals below:

Festival at Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Festival Event

11 AM–3:30 PM
Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Join us for our festival at Hyland Lake Park Reserve, where we have an abundance of outdoor winter activities and exploration opportunities for everyone!

Navigate the festival using the interactive map.

Learn and Play

  • Join free mini-lessons and attend demonstrations about snow-making and more.
  • Try a new activity with free walk-up rentals for snowshoes, cross-country skis, kicksleds and adaptive sit-ski equipment.
  • Join our nature center staff in the Snow Play Area! Climb a snow mountain, and play in a quinzhee (shelter built out of snow).


  • Participate in interactive nature education and exploration activities, including a winter fun walk and guided, winter-tree-identification hikes.
  • Explore the park and look for the ice sculpture.
  • Warm up at bonfires and enjoy free roasted marshmallows at bonfires throughout the festival.
Photo of four people snowshoeing through a snowy landscape.

Eat and Drink

  • Warm up with warm beverages, food and local microbrews at North Star Donuts, Gastrotruck and the A'BriTin Hitch & Sip bar trailer.


  • Connect with local community partners in the festival village.
  • Enjoy fireside book readings by local authors, winter yoga and live music.
Photo of a band playing on stage, dressed in winter outerwear.

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A woman wearing winter boots, a coat and a hat, and carrying walking poles, stands on snow near an iced-over river.

Explore the Parks

Visit select parks and nature centers to take part in a free winter nature activity! 

Activities run from 10 AM–3 PM, unless otherwise noted.

  • Eastman Nature Center at Elm Creek Park Reserve: Take part in Map Adventures, by exploring the trails with a map, word game and compass. No skills needed; great for all ages. From 10 AM12:30 PM, join us for traditional Anishinaabe Winter Storytelling with Hope Flanagan, community outreach and cultural teacher at Dream of Wild Health.
  • Gale Woods Farm: Head out on a hike to see the farm animals in a winter setting and warm up around the bonfire.
  • Lowry Nature Center at Carver Park Reserve: Meet a naturalist at the nature table, go for a winter bird scavenger hunt or warm up by the fire.
  • Mississippi Gateway Regional Park: From 1–3 PM, join us to build a snow castle, try playing snow snakes or snow polo, or enjoy the campfire.
  • Richardson Nature Center at Hyland Lake Park Reserve: Take part in a winter-themed, digital scavenger hunt. Explore the park, and then meet a naturalist back at the campfire to share your discoveries and ask questions.
  • Silverwood Park: Take a self-guided hike around the park and see the art and nature in winter as part of a scavenger hunt.

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Three girls hold up s'mores in the winter.

Free S'mores

Two snowboarders rest at the bottom of a groomed hill while others take the tow rope up the hill.

Discounts on Winter Activities at Elm Creek and Hyland HIlls

After 3 PM, get $5 off tubing at Elm Creek Winter Recreation Area! Advanced reservations are required and can be made online starting Saturday, February 10. Subject to availability.

After 3 PM, get discounted lift tickets for snowboarding and skiing at Elm Creek Winter Recreation Area and Hyland Hills Ski Area. Snowboard and downhill ski rentals are first-come, first-served.

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Three people cross-country ski on a snowy trail.

Free Cross-Country Ski Passes & Rentals

Cross-Country Ski Passes

On February 24, get your free day pass online to explore any of our cross-country ski trails! Make sure to check trail conditions before you head out.

Cross-Country Ski Rentals

Need gear to get going? Come to our festival at Hyland Lake Park Reserve, where you can get ski rentals on a first-come, first-served basis. Or, starting Saturday, February 17, make an advance reservation for your free cross-country ski rental at Elm Creek Park Reserve.

Find out more about cross-country skiing at Three Rivers Park District.

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A woman pulls back a bow at the archery range.

Free Archery Passes

Get your free activity pass on February 24 online.

Learn more about archery in the parks.

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Related Blog Posts

Our 7 Favorite Winter Activities

By: Ashley Smith & Anders Hanson

December 23, 2019

We've compiled a list of our 7 favorite activities to help you embrace winter this season. Some of them might be things you've already done before, but a few of them might be new activities you want to try!

Best Trails for Cross-Country Skiing

By: Three Rivers Staff

January 17, 2020

Looking for a trail to get started cross-country skiing or prepare for the Ski Rennet on January 29? Check out this post from the archive to find our favorite cross-country ski trails in Three Rivers.

Top 10 Parks for Snowshoeing

By: Andrea Breitung

March 04, 2019

Snow conditions right now are the best we've seen in years. Learn more about the top 10 places to snowshoe in Three Rivers and explore some trails near you before the snow melts.