A tip from our all-new Winter Getaways Guide.

You may not think winter is the time to visit a zoo or aquarium but think again. Animal and marine life conservancies in colder climates must provide warm habitats for the species (and visitors) that need them. That means you go indoors to visit chinstrap penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo. Discover 50+ species of exotic animals and birds in the balmy 72-degree warmth of the Tropical Forest at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo. Pet stingrays in their comfy touch tank at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. Enter Giraffe Tower at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to watch these very tall animals work with their trainers. The adaptable giraffe is usually outdoors in Colorado Springs’ sunny mountain climate, but on below-40-degree days, they are susceptible to frost-bitten ears. We get it!

Regardless of winter weather, head indoors any time to play at American Dream in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It is now the largest indoor theme park in the Western Hemisphere. This winter wonderland was inspired by its older sister, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Indiana. Look for day and blacklight minigolf, plus an indoor water park, rides and skating rink. For a real chill, enjoy indoor skiing at North America’s only Big SNOW. No need to lug in ski gear or equipment — you can rent absolutely everything you need and have complimentary access to helpful and knowledgeable ski and snowboard instructors. Here’s what Family Travel Forum learned at Big Snow on a recent visit.

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