PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It’s winter break and parents want to give their kids a break from technology. But they are finding the outdoor options are a little different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bergen County has changed things up. Instead of a winter wonderland festival, this year it expanded the ice skating rink at Van Saun Park. It’s open weekdays from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. and $5 for a ticket buys you 50 minutes of time on the ice.

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So, across the Tri-State Area families can get safely out of the house, but planning ahead is key, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Monday.

No matter what the elements are outside, enter inside Big Snow at the American Dream mall at the Meadowlands and you can ski or snowboard for two hours. The indoor mountain is operating at 25% capacity.

“It’s always 28 degrees inside. We always have snow on the ground, so it’s a great opportunity to get out, if you ever skied or snowboarded before,” said Hugh Reynolds, Big Snow’s vice president of marketing.

“Virtual school is too much for the kids and just to get them out here, burn some energy, it’s great,” said Kevin Lee of Bergenfield.

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Outdoors at Mountain Creek in Vernon, New Jersey has capacity at 50% and with one ticket you can ski from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Parents admit with new rules due to COVID-19 the planning is the hard part.

“Would that be open? Would we be able to eat here? It’s kind of like the first time,” parent Anna Kegeles said.


Even visiting Santa is socially distant at Bryant Park. There is no sitting on his lap.

“All they have to do is believe,” Santa said.

One home on Gerlach Drive in the Rockland County town of New City is welcoming spectators to see its light show for free every night.

NYC & Company has compiled a list, including five of Manhattan’s ice skating rinks. Attractions including the holiday lights at the Bronx Zoo, the Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden, and an origami tree at the American Museum of Natural History.

“There’s 1,000 origami cranes that will be hanging on it this year, representing goodness and peace during this difficult year,” NYC & Company’s Alyssa Schmid said.

Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco said every hour teams are sanitizing skates and hand rails at the Van Saun Skating Rink.

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“Get some recreation, be in the fresh air, fight the COVID fatigue that we all have. That’s why we decided, you know what? We’re going to open this year,” Tedesco said.