Four indoor activities that will help you escape the cold

By Farah Bassyouni Dec2,2022

The arrival of frigid winter temperatures means that many people are spending more time inside, and activities enjoyed in the summer are no longer available. Luckily, Bloomington-Normal has plenty of winter activities for those seeking to venture outside of their dorm room during the colder months. Here’s four places to check out this winter if you’re feeling bored and restless. 

  • Proving Ground Bouldering Gym

Proving Ground offers a unique opportunity to climb, jump and sweat all year round. The indoor climbing facility is located at 1503 E. College Ave. in Normal, and features 6,500 feet of bouldering walls for climbers to explore freely. 

Bouldering is rock climbing on a shorter wall without the need for harnesses. The walls at Proving Ground range from 12 to 18 feet tall, and the floor beneath every wall is covered with soft pads to cushion the impact of falls. Classes and competitions are also available for those looking to hone or test their climbing skills.  

  • Iron Coyote Challenge Park 

Another venue for fun-filled indoor exercise in Bloomington-Normal is Iron Coyote Challenge Park, a “Ninja Gym” located at 4113 Oakland Ave. in Bloomington. Their four ninja courses feature more than 20 obstacles similar to those of the popular reality competition show, “American Ninja Warrior.” 

If that’s not your thing, you can also conquer your winter restlessness by exploring their climbing walls, aerial ropes course and zipline. Reservations for private access to their personal fitness area, complete with free weights and cardio machines, is another opportunity to look into if you’re searching for a workout space with the solitude that you can’t find at a public gym. 

  • McLean County Museum of History  

The old McLean County Courthouse situated at the heart of downtown Bloomington is home to seven exhibit galleries that each bring to life a facet of Mclean county’s rich history. Visitors who enter the limestone building are greeted by a three-story rotunda at its center. The painting at the top can be seen 100 feet down. 

The museum features permanent exhibits on Abraham Lincoln in McLean country, the experiences of creating communities and working in McLean County over the years and the history of the four county courthouse buildings. Two of many temporary exhibits that were featured previously include the celebration of Mexican popular art (2012-2015), and perspectives of the Vietnam War (2008-2011).  

  • Visit an Art Gallery 

If you’re in the market for decorative art, or would just like to peruse and admire the creative works of local artists, consider visiting one of the many art galleries in the area. Downtown Bloomington is home to seven art galleries, all of which are within walking distance of one another. 

On Main Street alone, you can experience a sizable sample of the area’s local art scene by visiting The Hangar Art Company, Joann Goetzinger Art Studio and Gallery and Main Gallery 404. Many of the galleries also host classes and special events if you’re interested in picking up or improving an artistic hobby. Inside Out Accessible Art Cooperative, located at 200 W. Monroe St., will host a variety of festive classes this December, which include holiday card making and introduction to jewelry making. 

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