Unless you've got an indoor pool or a very large tub — or if, on an off chance, you do laps with the seniors at the Y — you rarely get a chance to go swimming in winter. Let's face it: The lake's frozen. But for the water-loving adventurers or families with young, water-loving kids, a weekend (or even a night) at Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky may be the ultimate cure to your winter blues. It's only an hour from Cleveland, but it feels a hemisphere away. With winter specials — "Super Savings Saturday," "Holiday Buffet and Stay" — you can hit up one of the region's most exotic resorts for the cost of a (admittedly pricey) hotel. Rooms typically run in the $300 to $500 range, but they're plush and it's cheaper than a trip to Florida. Splash on.
7000 Kalahari Dr., Sandusky; kalahariresorts.com.
Instead of flying to Florida or Arizona for a winter golf outing, why not drive east to Willoughby (Lost Nation) or southeast to Chagrin Falls (the Golf Dome) for an indoor simulation? It sure beats trying to track even psychedelically colored golf balls in the snow, or having a sudden gust of wind carry an otherwise killer drive into the abyss. Out at Lost Nation, laser sensors read the speed, trajectory and spin of the ball, so your shots look almost precisely as good (or as bad) as they would outdoors. Plus, there's no walking between holes, so a full round of 18 takes only about an hour ($32). At the Golf Dome, there's an indoor driving range (like the former dome in Valley View) and simulated golf as well. You can join a 13-week 9-hole league, or get an unlimited season pass — seven and a half months — for $475. If you're a golf fanatic, visiting one of the indoor simulators is essential as you nurse your wintertime withdrawal.
Lost Nation, 38630 Jet Center Dr., Willoughby; lostnationsports.com.The Golf Dome, 8198 East Washington St., Chagrin Falls; thegolfdome.com.
NEED FOR SPEED
Among the perils of the Cleveland winter: driving in snow, driving on ice, trying to get into a locked vehicle when the handles have frozen shut. Shoot, with so much vehicular uncertainty in the cold weather, sometimes you just need to cut loose and do some driving. We're talking go-karts, folks, and the best way to kart in Northeast Ohio is at high speeds and with very high voltage. Medina's High Voltage Indoor Karting is fun for the whole family, but especially for "adrenaline junkies, gear heads and racing fanatics." Co-owner Steve Madden discovered the concept in Florida and realized it'd be perfect for Cleveland, where long winters make outdoor karting dicey. Enjoy all the sounds and adrenaline of the NASCAR track, while only dropping $19.99 for the privilege.
333 Foundry St., Medina; highvoltagekarting.com.
If getting your daily fill of Vitamin D or wearing one of those UV-light producing visors isn't enhancing your mood, maybe you just need some green in your life. And we don't mean cash money, though that would help. Nor do we mean marijuana, but by all means do partake. We're talking about plant life. That's right, good old nature, battered and obscured by the elements (to say nothing of climate change!). In Cleveland, you can get a dose of exotic plant life at the Metroparks Zoo's Rainforest or the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. We'd also like to suggest the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse, up off MLK near the Cultural Gardens. It's a full acre of warm and fragrant plant life and a beautiful meditative retreat.
750 East 88th St.; facebook.com/rockefellergreenhouse.
PORCO LOUNGE & TIKI ROOM
When a bar, in its introductory literature, describes itself as "an oasis" and "an exotic hideaway," you might be tempted to think it's a strip club or something. I mean, an exotic hideaway? But with Porco Lounge and Tiki Room, it's the real deal, as oasis-like and exotic as it gets. Drinking isn't necessarily an activity, but if you've had one of Porco's mammoth rum-centric cocktails, you know there's nothing else you'd rather be doing. The ambient bamboo and beads and fruits and wooden totemic goblets will make you feel like you're in Elvis Presley's Hawaii. Drink those winter blues away, in an easily accessible near-westside location between Ohio City and Tremont. And if the alcohol doesn't do the trick, all we can do is encourage you to go see Disney's Moana and then maybe change your computer wallpaper to something beachy.
2527 West 25th St.; porcolounge.com.
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