When The Going Gets Cold…


One of my most perplexing questions for North Dakota moms: What in the world do you do to get through the winter?

I am slowly learning their ways, the most successful being indoor activities. While neither “big city” within 1.5 hrs of us seems to have a fast food restaurant with a play place for the kiddos (my go-to toddler energy zapper last winter) both Williston and Dickinson do have kickin rec centers.

The Benj turned a big 2 last week, so in celebration we took a trip up to Williston to swim at the rec center. I set my expectations low and was pleasantly surprised with the place. I wouldn’t be surprised if we went up at least a few times a month until summer, despite the hour drive to get there.

The Williston Area Recreation Center (Williston ARC) is a $70 Million facility. I can’t really comprehend that dollar amount, seems crazy, so the place better be sweet, right? Well, it is. It is 234,000 square feet and has everything you could want in the dead of winter here. According to an article on Bloomberg Newsweek the ARC was funded by a 1 cent sales tax by the community and the sales tax of the building offset by oil company donations.


Benj’s face sums up how we all felt about having somewhere to play in December.

It has a turf field to play on


Plenty of cardio machines and a weight room


An indoor playground






A 2 story indoor track and basketball courts

IMG_5109A golf simulator


A day care, and the main event…….the indoor water park! That is what we really went for.



Lazy river, water slides, zero entry pool, hot tub and waver rider. Many hours of fun was had. It felt strange to be playing on the playground and swimming under a roof, but it works!



Benj was a good sport going on the slide with his dad. They made a smooth exit, bopped along the water until Danny could hand Benj to me.


On my turn it seemed like they must have turned the water up, or added a bump at the end, or shaken the tube while we went through. Needless to say, it didn’t go so smooth.


When Danny got on the wave rider Benj squealed and giggled and pointed. Danny got major cool-dad points.


When he crashed Benj squealed even louder.


It was so fun though. Plenty of younger kids boogey boarded, no where else was such fun had in Williston that night.


It cost us $8 per adult and Benj was free. For that price you can come in the morning and stay all day, or even leave and come back. Day care is $5 for a max of 1.5 hrs. I didn’t grab a picture but the daycare room looked clean, secure, and fun. Can you tell that I’m into it?

There is rumor that a similar facility has plans in Watford, that and a Walmart would mean we would never have to leave:)

What do you do to keep yourself busy and your kids happy in the winter?

2 thoughts on “When The Going Gets Cold…

  1. That looks like the most amazing winter place ever. I don’t have any kids, but I do have a cat, and if there were an equivalent facility with scratching poles, toys and such, I’d go there so that I could pretend I was in summerland and swim while my cat was entertained.


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