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What to do when there’s nothing to do

Plenty of fun, free things the whole family can enjoy


April 17, 2020 by Brett LaBore


With lots of events and activities cancelled or postponed and schools closed, people have free time on their hands. But don’t worry — there are still opportunities to have fun.


Outdoor activities

Living in the Northwoods, there are plenty of things to do outdoors. One of those things is walking outdoors and there are plenty of trails to walk outside. We all are practicing social distancing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go outside and enjoy the spring.

Bearskin Trailhead Park is Minocqua and is a great place to take a bike ride or the dog for a walk. Raven Trail Head is in Woodruff, and then in Arbor Vitae, Madeline Hiking Trail is another opportunity to get some fresh air. There might still be snow and ice on the lakes, but McNaughton Lake Hiking Trail in Hazelhurst is another to add to the list.

Some other things people are doing outdoors is ice fishing, an activity where they are spending with both friends and family.

“I’ve been able to utilize some down time to do some ice fishing with my dad a couple times this week,” Zach Furtak said.

And that goes for some of the students at Lakeland Union High School, who have some more opportunities with schools closed.

“Me and my buddies love the outdoors and have been on the ice, ice fishing,” Michael Ouimette said.

Online activities

A lot of different companies have made their programs free and accessible online. For example, NASA has made their entire media library publicly accessible and copyright free. This allows you to see tons of images from outer space.

Also on NASA.gov, you can channel your inner astronomer or astronaut and read some of their popular e-books or listen to one of their different podcasts. You can also try and spot the International Space Station in the night sky.

Do you like art? The Paris Museums have put 100,000 images online for unrestricted public use. 

In addition to that, 12 museums have offered virtual tours you can take right from your home. Those museums include the British Museum in London, Guggenheim Museum in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. 

Also there is the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the MASP in São Paulo and the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. All of these are available for the public to enjoy.

If you like sports like I do, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has offered NBA League Pass for a free preview during the NBA hiatus until April 22. Every game from the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons are available along with some classics. 

The National Football League (NFL) has offered complimentary access to NFL Game Pass free of charge until May 31 to fans within the U.S. A variety of game replays, NFL shows, game archives and exclusive NFL Game Pass film sessions are available to watch.

Disney Parks have launched their first-ever 360-degree panoramas on Google Street View. It might not be the same, but you can roam the parks on your phone or computer. 


Keeping busy

For those with families, it’s a time to really be together and enjoy the company of one another. There is so much busyness in life, so it’s nice to be together.

“Most of all we are just enjoying our time together as a family since we are often on the go,” Mike Wilhelm said.

A father and husband, Wilhelm has done numerous things to keep busy with his family.

“We designate 2-3 hours of each day for learning/school time, working with online resources and work that has been sent home from teachers,” he said. “The girls continue to practice their dances and piano. When the weather is nice, we are outside being active — hiking, snowshoeing, etc.”

For students at Lakeland Union High School, they have done what they can to stay occupied. Some of those activities have included Netflix, exercising, baking, doing a little homework and relaxing.

Two such students are still keeping in shape for the spring sports’ season. Zach and Jacob Hayes do track and field and are holding out hope for the start of the season.

“As far as track goes, my brother and I are still doing workouts daily, hoping the season will be able to happen,” Zach Hayes said.

As for me, I love movies. I love to get all comfy and cozy and watch some of my favorite movies that I own. This can be a good time to find some of your favorites, get some snacks and watch as a family.

It may be a difficult time right now, but there are still plenty of opportunities to smile and have fun as we get through this together. 

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]


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