Winter, the only season that is so welcomed at the start and then treated like an old, chewed-up rag doll by March. The end of winter means one thing: Spring is finally here! After being trapped indoors for months -- only going outside to shovel, attend a holiday party, throw a snowball or two at your younger brother or go down snow hills tubing or skiing, we are used to a well-known ailment called "cabin fever."

Cabin fever is contracted by spending A LOT of time indoors. It seems everyone has been suffering from it, and rightfully so with Western New York's extended winter weather.

So this spring, what can you do to solve this problem? NeXt offers a few hints and solutions to get some fresh air, lie on some green grass and have some outdoor fun!

Let's enjoy some baseball! One gem in downtown Buffalo is Coca-Cola Field. Going to a Buffalo Bisons game is one of the best values in town, with tickets anywhere between $6 and $11.50. The Fridaynightbash! comes complete with fireworks to round out the evening. Even if you are not into baseball, it is a great atmosphere, and a fun experience to go out with family or friends and grab a hot dog while catching the game. It's a springtime classic.

Playoff push! Assuming the Buffalo Sabres are in the playoffs (this year, it's a go), hanging out outside HSBC Arena becomes a favorite fan pastime for those who can't be one of the thousands inside the arena cheering for the team. The best part is the sounds you hear around the arena: the music, the car horns and the chants that fellow fans create. If you really want to make the day even better, do some tailgating!

Still chilly? Huddle close! Spring can still be a chilly season; after all, we have had a LONG winter. Why not gather a few friends and head out by an outdoor fireplace or fire pit? Plenty of fun to be had, roasting marshmallows, drinking some iced tea and telling stories of old memories with your friends. Add another fun aspect to it at the end of the school year and toss in some old papers as firewood!

As the birds head north, why don't we? Plenty of fun can be had in Canada, also. If you have your passport, advanced driver's license or dual citizenship, many great attractions can be found. If you're a huge hockey fan, the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto may be your destination. Most popular among teens would be Clifton Hill. Known as "the Street of Fun," Clifton Hill contains a 70,000-square-foot midway, complete with wax museums, bowling, Ripley's Believe It or Not, a Hard Rock Cafe nearby and more.

A long-standing tradition for many area families this time of year is a trip to the Broadway Market. It is always busy around Eastertime, but it's worth it. The famous foods and culture make up what is nothing short of a fun tradition. The best add on to the day is spending the afternoon on the waterfront. Hanging out along the water and spending time outdoors makes this a great area destination. Also along the waterfront, you can find the Hatch restaurant and an ice cream stand, as well as historic war memorials, ships and a museum.

Easy on the wallet, heavy on fun! One place not many teens look to for fun is a place that we all have been once in our life at least -- the zoo. The Buffalo Zoo is a great place to go for the day and observe wildlife and the way animals interact. You never know what you might see. New this year will be the addition of a baby giraffe and a baby gorilla.

Looking for some more nighttime fun? The drive-in makes for the ultimate in spring and summer tradition. The Transit Drive-In in Lockport is a popular destination. Start by packing snacks and blankets, or any other things you may need to get comfortable and enjoy time with a few friends outdoors. This is definitely one activity that will cure boredom.

So there you have seven great things to do in Western New York (and southern Ontario). These possibilities are sure to provide an opportunity to cure cabin fever.


Alex Kaluzny is a senior at Lockport High School.