Sure, it's cold and snowy. It's winter! But that doesn't mean that the Southern Tier of New York hibernates.

Winter fun activities are happening all around us for the entire family. We detail two events this weekend that you and your family may enjoy. Read on!

Penguin Palooza

Ross Park Zoo Penguins
photo provided by the Binghamton Ross Park Zoo

This weekend, January 20th and 21st, the Ross Park Zoo presents the first annual Penguin Palooza weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. What exactly is Penguin Palooza?

Ross Park Zoo, located at 60 Morgan Road, Binghamton is celebrating its colony of African Penguins while having lots of fun and raising awareness of the planetary plight of penguins.

Guests who attend this event, can participate in penguin-themed crafts, story time, challenge their penguin athletic skills in the waddle races, and complete a penguin pebble scavenger hunt! Learn why some penguins find pebbles so appealing.

Also, as part of the festivities, for an extra program fee, there will be a special instructed Penguin Pals Painting Project where pairs of budding artists will be creating their own joint canvases celebrating these waddling wonders of nature! To pre-register, click here.

The admission price for Penguin Palooza (also the regular winter Zoo admission price) is $7 general public age 13 and over, $3 for children aged 3-12, and free admission for members and children aged 2 and under.

And while you are at the Ross Park Zoo, check out how the animals thrive in the winter months. For you humans, there are several warm spots throughout, including the heated Wolf Woods building, New World Tropics, and the Zoovenir Gift shop. The Zoo does recommend that you dress warmly just as well.

For more information about Penguin Palooza call the Ross Park Zoo at 607-724-5561.

Binghamton Pond Festival

Binghamton Pond Festival/DIFD
Glenn Pitcher

And for those of you who love outdoor festivities, including hockey-related, the Binghamton Pond Festival continues this weekend and next - January 19-21 and 26-28 at Chenango Valley State Park.

This three-weekend annual festival features pond hockey tournaments, children's off-ice activities, kids try hockey, a 5K trail and snowshoe race, local musicians and entertainment, plus food and drink available for sale.

Binghamton Pond Festival features mechanical refrigeration for their 220 by 110-foot ice rink to manage warm weather concerns related to outdoor hockey.

This weekend, January 19-21 will feature the USA Hockey Sanctioned Youth Weekend, free try hockey for kids, and fireworks on Saturday at 6 p.m.

According to the Binghamton Pond Festival website, to increase opportunities for kids to try the sport of hockey, the festival hosts a free try hockey session at the venue with support from the Southern Tier Hockey Association and countless volunteers. The officials note that they have access to a full trailer of equipment, so kids need to bring nothing with them but a good attitude. Register in advance for the free try hockey for kids, here.

To help make this great event a success year after year, a 10-dollar parking fee donation is suggested. For more information about the Binghamton Pond Festival for both upcoming weekends, click here, or visit their Facebook page.

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