Fun things to do during the era of COVID-19

Published 8:47 am Monday, March 23, 2020

In the era of COVID-19, social distancing is the way to be; however, there are still various things you can do for fun.

Activities that are both fun and meet social distancing guidelines are indoor activities and nature based excursions. Indoor activities can include anything from board games and puzzles, to reading a book. Electronic devices are also a bonus. As for outdoor activities, playing in your backyard, going for a walk or even going on a hike can still be enjoyed.

Mike Mains, Director of Carter County Parks and Recreation, says now is the time to get creative and spend time with loved ones.

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“Just stop and think as a family, as a mom and dad, how you can interact with kids in a creative way and also keep them protected from this terrible illness,” said Mains. “The number one thing is being creative, and abiding by the guidelines and observing social distancing.”

Mains said recreation is doing anything you enjoy in your spare time. He also said one of the best things people could enjoy for free was the beauty and nature of the area we live in.

“What we have here is free, it’s taking a hike or taking the family on a walk along the Tweetsie Trail,” he said.

Additionally, Mains said that we should use these avenues as an escape from all the constant negativity going on lately.

“We are going to need an escape from what we are dealing with right now,” he said. “Dream a little bit, think about things and encourage kids during these difficult times.”

As with recommendations from Mains, Cory Franklin, a ranger at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, says that while events have been cancelled, there is still fun, and education, to be found in nature.

“Although our programs have been canceled for the month of March and April there are still opportunities to learn,” said Franklin. ”Our arboretum is a self-guided tour with a brochure in the visitor center. It is a way to enjoy the outdoors while also increasing your knowledge on the local dendrology.”

In addition to the arboretum, the Sycamore Shoals scenic walking trail, like the Tweetsie Trail, remains open. On this trail, people can view trees, plant life, flowers and the Watauga River.

The Sycamore Shoals visitor center is also still open but with reduced hours of 1-4 p.m. Sunday-Saturday. Their restrooms also have shortened hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is closed.

When exploring any of these options to keep yourself occupied, please remember to follow social distancing guidelines, and stay home if you are ill.