Winter fun: Ice skating, bird watching, hiking

Carol EvansOur Town Outdoors

The next seven days offer plenty of opportunities to to get outside (or even inside) to get some exercise and, in some cases, learn something.  Get out and play!

Dec. 11 — Jan. 3

Knoxville’s Holidays on Ice is moving to the Civic Coliseum for the 2020/21 season. Opening day is today (12/11). Enjoy skating on a 180-feet rink while listening to music every night. There may even be a panda sighting of the Holidays on Ice Mascot, Peppermint Panda. Call the Ice Rink at 865-215-4423 or find details here or on Facebook. Admission price includes entry fee, skate rental and unlimited time on ice. Cash, Visa and Mastercard accepted. Fees are $11 for adults and $8 for children age 12 and under.  Season passes are available for adults at $50 and children age 12 and under for $35.

Saturday, Dec. 12

Ijams Nature Center presents Beginning to Bird – Winter Residents at 8 a.m. This bird walk will focus on winter birds such as Chickadees, Titmice and Cardinals. Bring water, binoculars and bird field guide. The trails have roots, rocks and some elevation change. Cost is $15. Register online here or call 865-577-4717, ext. 127, for more info.

Seven Islands State Park is offering a Raptors Hike at 9 a.m. This is a 3-mile hike to look for hawks, vultures, kestrels, owls and eagles. Learn about the habitats used by native birds of prey and the field marks needed to identify them. Bring binoculars if available. Cost is $5. Register here or call 715-630-6848.

Knoxville Open Water Swimmers are meeting at 2 p.m. at the Douglas Lake Boat Launch for a Saturday Open Water Swim. Bring old shoes (not flip flops) to walk to the shoreline plus earplugs, swim cap, dry clothes/towel and warm drink. Water temp will be in the 53-55 range. For more info go here. Participation is free of charge.

Seven Islands State Park is also offering a Sunset Hike at 4:30 p.m. Join Ranger Stephanie for this sunset hike along the Upland Loop Trail while she discusses the birds, wildlife, plants, trees and other wildlife that call Seven Islands home. The cost is $5. Register here or call 715-630-6848.

Next Level Brewing is hosting a free Christmas Cheer Bike Ride at 6 p.m. Cost is free. Bike rentals are available here for $10 or call River Sports Outfitters at 865-523-0066. Decorate bikes for the ride through 4th & Gill to look at the holiday lights. There will be a scavenger hunt with maps & prizes. Meet back at Next Level for a brew and food truck. Register here.

Thursday, Dec. 17

Ijams Nature Center presents Nature Nuggets: Animals in Winter at 10 a.m. Discover some of the amazing ways wild animals survive winter. The program is aimed at children ages 2-4. Cost is $6. Register online here or call 865-577-4717, ext. 127, for more info.

To find other events in the area, visit us online at Submit an event to our calendar here.

Carol Evans is executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation.

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