Days might be the shortest in the winter, but they can feel like the longest for parents or caregivers trying to keep kids active and engaged while cooped up inside the house. Fortunately, the Madison area boasts a wide range of family-friendly adventures for kids and parents alike to keep their spirits up when the temperatures drop.

Kids Activities Outside the House

These adventures are a great way to get moving for families who want to get out of the house.

Boulders Climbing Gym

What do you do when kids are climbing the walls? Let them climb the walls under the guidance of expert instruction at Boulders Climbing Gym. Perfect for beginners who are learning the ropes (wink, wink) and teens who are looking for a challenge. Walk-in passes and small classes for instruction are available at their two locations.

Vitense: Indoor Mini Golf Experience

No need to pack the golf clubs away for the winter. Top-rated Vitense Indoor Miniature Golf offers an 18-hole indoor course that is open year-round. Packages are available for children under four all the way up to seniors. Add on remote control boats, footgolf and arcade games for a full day of fun.

Cave of the Mounds

Maybe animals that borough underground in the winter are really onto something. Inside Cave of the Mounds, it’s always a balmy 50 degrees. Themed experiences each month can turn your trip into a treasure hunt. Children can collect minerals in a cloth bag while they explore the caves.

Henry Vilas Zoo

You know the polar bears that call Henry Vilas Zoo home love the winter. But what about the other animals? Find out for yourself! Visit the zoo in-person from 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Or, let your kids learn from home via Zoom through Keeper Chats and a Zoom the zoo tour. Oh, and don’t forget to shop for an animal at the Henry Vilas Zoo at Bad Dog Frida.

Kids Activities at Home

Want to keep your family safe and entertained from the comfort (and warmth) of your own home? These activities are for you.

Orange Tree Imports

What’s better than kids using their time at to learn a new skill? End the day with delicious new dishes to try! Orange Tree Imports has everything you need to make it a reality. Package their “Kids Cooking Day!” cookbook illustrated by local artist Emily Balsley with a new apron and fresh ingredients from Willy Street Co-op to put your little chef to work.

Madison Children's Museum

Dinosaur fans of all ages will roar for the museum’s Dinosaur Discover Kits. Each kit includes four art and STEM activities, including a blacklight dinosaur terrarium, fossil excavation, deluxe dino cookie cutter and die-cut paper dinosaurs.

A Room of One's Own

Turn the page on boring winter days with a six-month board book subscription from a Room of One’s Own bookstore. You’ll also find great bilingual options for readers of all ages. And even indestructible books — chew and rip-proof, non-toxic and washable books for your youngest reader.

Find more ways to have fun and support local businesses by browsing our Shop Madison articles.