Springtime activities: hiking, biking, picnics, Rita’s

Annie Yoskoski, Advertising Manager/Assistant Life Editor

Now that April is here and the snow has finally melted, everyone is anxious to get out and enjoy some classic spring activities.
While everyone was cooped up in their rooms, some flowers have bloomed, the ice has thawed, and Wilkes-Barre no longer seems like a snow covered wasteland.
For those wondering what to do about this springtime fever, there are a couple suggestions for activities in the area.
First, go get some Rita’s Italian Ice. Now. As a Luzerne County native, Rita’s positivity screams ‘springtime’ to me. The frozen treat may be just enough to hit the spot when hankering for ice cream. If that’s not enough for you, check out Curly Creme.
You can now rent bikes in Wilkes-Barre. The Wilkes-Barre Bike Share, located in Genetti’s hotel, only requires a valid drivers license and guaranteed return of the bike the same day it was rented. While on your rented bike, stop by Kirby Park. While the park has a track and tennis courts, it’s also a great place to see the cherry blossoms when they bloom or have a picnic.
Even though the squirrels at Kirby Park may entertain you for longer than you are willing to admit, heading down to Dallas to The Lands at Hillside Farms is a great experience in animal watching, as well. The cows, alpacas, chickens, ducks, and goats are out now and the ice cream is waiting. Currently, Wilkes’ Enactus program is working with Hillside to create a new irrigation system.
Take a free, guided tour of Wilkes-Barre. While you may think you know the city, there are many historic sights that you are probably unaware of. It’s also a great time to take a relaxing walk around the town.
Intramural softball has started up, which brings an onslaught of spring sports. For those who haven’t played any sports, dive in and see what you like. Try softball, Frisbee, tennis, running, or dance. Many local yoga studios even offer stress-busting classes that will help work away the pressure of upcoming finals. Usually, the first class is free.
Hiking and biking are relatively easy to do in this area. Some suggested trails and spots are the Back Mountain trail, the Seven Tubs nature area and the Susquehanna Warrior trail.
If you don’t want to participate in sports, but enjoy watching them, get tickets to a local Penguin’s or Railriders game. You can also check out Chako’s bowling
For those looking for more indoor activities, take a visit to the Wyoming Valley Historical Society to see the Titanic and Planters Peanut’s exhibits. The museum is free to visit, and the amount of information contained in each exhibit is enough to keep you engaged for a few hours. The Houdini Museum is in Scranton, but it is worth the drive. While there, see the Steamtown National Historic Site along with the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour. Eckley’s miners village and the Penn State Wilkes-Barre telescope/observatory let patrons see life from a different point of view.
While Wilkes offers certain day trips and activities, the city itself has more to offer than many people think. The various hiking trails, parks, and lakes of the outlying towns are great places to get in shape and have some fun with friends.
Whether it’s sports, food, or the general outdoors you are interested in there are numerous free or inexpensive activities to help blow off that finals stress and cure that cabin fever.Don’t feel stuck in your dorm. Get out and experience what the area has to offer before you go home for the summer.