SnowCat Ridge Family Photo Review

SnowCat Ridge Family Photo Review

SnowCat Ridge Family Photo Review – Thank you to Eric T., Central Florida Dad for sharing his Family Photo Review of Snowcat Ridge. We appreciate his experience and insight into his day at SnowCat Ridge!

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SnowCat Ridge Family Photo Review

A Dad’s Family Review:

Experiencing A Winter Wonderland—Florida Style

by: Eric T.

Walking in a winter wonderland is a well-known line from a classic Christmas song, but it’s not exactly a common site in the Sunshine State.

That is unless you’re visiting Snowcat Ridge, touted as Florida’s “first and only alpine snow park.”

Located just north of Tampa in Dade City, Snowcat Ridge  features a 60-foot-tall and 400-foot-long real snow-covered tubing hill with a magic carpet lift, ice skating, an Alpine Village, and a 10,000-square-foot Arctic Igloo dome with snow to play with.

Owners of the winter theme park, which opened for its second season on Nov. 10 and plans to stay open through March 27, reportedly spent $4.5 million in upgrades, including adding a new ice rink, private igloos for rent and upgraded food options.

So is it worth visiting for Floridians who yearn to see (fake) snow? Afterall, its website boasts “REAL SNOW. REAL FUN!”  Yes, but plan your visit.

Along with another dad and his son, our group of five arrived after a two-hour-plus drive from Orlando to Snowcat Ridge around noon during a balmy in early December, when the temperature crept close to 80 degrees.

Park operators encourage visitors dress in layers, so we donned pants and light jackets, but the warm weather forced us to shed the jackets on the Snowy Slopes tubing hill.

Each General Admission ticket includes a two-hour snow tubing session, while the Unlimited Snow Tubing Upgrade includes all-day snow tubing until park closing. A General Admission ticket is required for all guests 2 years old and older. Riders may alternate between single, tandem and family-style tubing throughout their session.

The tubing hill transports riders up a magic carpet, actually a rubber conveyor belt setup that resembles what ski resorts use to move novice skiers up the beginner’s slope.

All riders are required to hold on to their tube’s safety handles and tuck their legs into their tube. Single tubers must be at least 6 years old, a minimum of 42 inches tall and weigh no more than 300 pounds.

Tandem tubers must both be at least 42 inches tall, while the combined weight of both riders must not exceed 400 pounds. Additionally, the rear rider must be at least 12 years old and the front rider must be at least 4 years old.

For family-style tubers, riders must be at least 2 years old, a minimum of 36 inches tall and each person weigh no more than 300 pounds.

Our group tried all of the different tube options, and it was a lot of fund and somewhat exhilarating as cool air radiated from the slide’s surface. My 10-year-old son, though, said the hill wasn’t tall enough.

Although none in our group did, many riders let out excited screams as they raced down the slide, shrieking like little girls as some were actually little girls.

Maybe it was because we went in the middle of a toasty day, but pulling the single and double tubes up the conveyor-equipped hill got to be taxing after a while. This was especially true because cutting across the roped line queue with your tubes was frowned upon by the tubing hill attendants.

Our favorite tube soon became the family-style rider because the tubes, which resembles a water park’s large oval raft, are transported via a separate, automated pulley system. However, the family-style tubes are very popular and the wait was a lot longer during busy times.

Our next stop was the Arctic Igloo dome, which our three boys wanted to visit first versus the tubing hill if they had their choice.

With a downright chilly 30 degrees inside, the large dome features a snow play area (semi-great for building the perfect snowman), a snowball target area, and a Bunny Slope for riders under 42 inches tall, designed especially for children 3 years old and younger.

Each General Admission ticket includes all-day access to the Arctic Igloo. A General Admission ticket is required for all guests 2 years old and older.

As far as the dome general rules, guests may not throw snowballs, engage in “snow fights” or roughhouse. However, our three boys and many other visitors were throwing snowballs at each other, but none were scolded by attendants.

My 10-year-old was also bold enough to make a snow angel, but his sweatpants and hoodie got soaked as expected.

We spent a lot of time inside the dome, although the boys probably wouldn’t have lasted as long if they didn’t used the gloves I brought. So if you plan to visit the dome, don’t forget gloves, with ski gloves being the best choice because they are usually waterproof.

After burning plenty of calories, we next stopped by the Alpine Village, which features a variety of outlets offering food, drinks and shopping at the gift shop.

There are three gas-fueled campfires and there were some visitors toasting marshmallows during our afternoon visit. My family tried the large whole pizza option, which seemed like the best price option for the portion.

Like the Arctic Igloo dome, the Alpine Village is part of each General Admission ticket for all-day access. A General Admission ticket is required for all guests 2 years old and older.

Our final stop was the park’s new ice rink, known as Crystal Ribbon. Two of our three boys tried the outdoor skating rink with a beginner’s oval.

Tickets for the park include two hours on the tubing hill and all-day access to the skating rink, though skates are not provided. Customers may bring their own or rent them for $9.95.

The boys spent 45 minutes enjoying the skating rink, which featured lots of water puddles due to the warm weather.

We enjoyed our time in the winter wonderland of Snowcat Ridge, but we would love to see the winter theme park in January, when it’s a bit colder.

And it has to be in the late afternoon or early evening because we want to cozy up to a campfire and roast s’mores in the Alpine Village viewing area, perfect for taking in the nightly Snowy Slopes music and light show.

Disclaimer: Events and information listed on this site are subject to last minute cancellations and changes which might not be reflected in this post. Please always confirm with this family-friendly business by calling or clicking the links for the most up-to-date information.

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