The outdoors scene is fairly chill as we head toward the end of the year. (Chill – see what I did there?) But there are still plenty of activities to draw you outside to make holiday memories.
If you love watching the ice skaters at Knoxville’s Holidays on Ice at Market Square but feel reluctant to join them because your skating skills are, ahem, deficient, hesitate no more. Cool Sports is offering two days of free ice-skating lessons.
Four 25-minute classes will be held on Monday, Dec. 16, and Monday, Dec. 23. While they are free, registration is required, so be sure to take care of that before heading downtown. Unless your computer skills are also deficient – in that case, I don’t know how to help you.
The ice rink is open through Jan. 5, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to show off your newly acquired moves. How cool is that?
I mentioned these last week, but don’t forget the Jingle Bell Run is at 8 a.m. Saturday (12/14) at World’s Fair Park. And the Tour de Lights is at 5:30 p.m. Saturday starting in the Old City and ending at Market Square. Running or walking, you will have a festive time.
You might not think there’s much wildlife to see this time of year, but not every critter is in hiding. Go “Birding with Friends” at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Seven Islands State Birding Park, and your guide will take you on a hike and identify by sight or sound several of the 200 species of birds that frequent the park. The monthly hike is usually held the fourth Wednesday, but it’s on the third Wednesday this month so as not to compete with Christmas (good move). The bird sightings might not be as plentiful as at other times of year, but the park is beautiful year round.
You can always count on Ijams Nature Center to have something fun and educational for the kids. Next Thursday, Dec. 19, Ijams will offer “Nature Nuggets: Clouds, Snow and Ice” at the Miller Building on the main campus. Recommended for ages 2-4, the program this month will let the kiddos make clouds and create ice in a bottle (isn’t that what freezers are for?!).
For the big kids, there’s “Santa Got Ran Over by an MTB” at noon Saturday, Dec. 21. The Cosby Cycling Club is offering a free, social mountain-bike ride outdoors in the Smokies at a “private, well-groomed facility.” There are “some short, spicy climbs” but no drops. Sounds like a nice present for mountain bikers!
Find details on these and other events in the Outdoor Knoxville calendar.
Carol Evans is executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to ensuring that our community enjoys exceptional recreational opportunities, natural beauty and open spaces, and that those assets exist for generations to come.