Ohio’s Guide to Winter Break with the Kids
By Abbey Roy

Ohio’s Guide to Winter Break with the Kids

It’s every parent’s favorite time of year — Winter Break! From skiing and holiday lights to water parks and science exhibits, you’ll find endless fun for you and your little ones this season in Ohio.

Splash Around

When you’re tired of freezing weather, ditch the parka and don your swimsuit for a weekend of splishy, splashy fun. Whether you plan to try your hand at indoor surfing, drift around the lazy river or just veg in tropical weather while the kids burn some energy, your weekend at the beach doesn’t have to require airfare. Book your stay at Sandusky’s Kalahari Resort or Great Wolf Lodge (with locations in Mason and Sandusky) ASAP.

Go for a ride

Roller coasters may be off your winter to-do list, but thanks to the Strongsville Toboggan Chutes, that hair-raising experience can (nearly) be duplicated. Pull down your stocking cap, climb a flight of stairs and jet down the 700-foot refrigerated ice chute with your hands raised – if you dare. For additional outdoor winter thrills, the Buckeye State boasts five ski resorts — Boston Mills-BrandywineMad River MountainSnow TrailsAlpine Valley and Big Creek Ski Area–where family members of all ages and abilities can ski, snowboard or tube their way through an afternoon. (Don’t forget the hot chocolate afterward.)

Be Enlightened

Nothing conveys the magic of the season quite like holiday lights. Throughout winter break, various zoos across the Buckeye State (including ColumbusCincinnatiToledo and Akron) offer stunning lights displays; you can also stay in the car and check out drive-through displays at Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek State Park. Other options include the Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill (Instagram it!) and Dayton’s Woodland Lights. Take in all the magic Ohio has to offer on the Holiday Lights Trail – and see how many spots you can check off your list!

Celebrate the Season

Ohio is great year-round, but this time of year lends itself to some extra-special seasonal attractions that merit a day trip (or two). Think Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens’ annual Deck the Hall, the Steubenville Nutcracker Village, Medina’s Castle Noel, the “A Christmas Story” house in Cleveland (check out that leg lamp!) and The Christmas Ranch in Morrow.

Take a Hike

Believe it or not, strolling through nature is an activity that can be enjoyed during all four seasons. To help capitalize on these opportunities, Ohio State Parks hosts hikes throughout the winter. Consider Burr Oak State Park’s 1-mile Winter Solstice Hikeon Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year, followed by hot chocolate and cookies. (Even after break, mark your calendar for these awesome winter hikes throughout the Buckeye State.)

Appease Your (Inner) Child

Let’s be honest: We go to children’s museums for the kids, but don’t we all have a little fun, too? Thanks to the variety of activities and displays at kid-friendly museums in MansfieldClevelandAkron and Cincinnati, parents and kids can have fun side-by-side, whether it’s through imaginative play, indoor playgrounds or scientific experiments. And if you have a Lego fan in your family, don’t forget to check out the new LegoLand Discovery Center at Easton Town Center in Columbus, where you can build to your heart’s content.

Catch a Show

The holidays are a great time to introduce your littles to a healthy dose of culture. Whether it’s dressing the girls up for an evening at the NutcrackerJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat or Cirque du Soliel, the list of family-friendly shows across Ohio is vast. Check out ticketmaster.com for the latest lineups.

Get Scientific

Who says winter break is a time to stop learning? Keep discovery alive with a day at one of Ohio’s several science centers or planetariums. At The Works’ new SciDome in Newark, visitors can go on a voyage through the solar system or search for a virtual oasis in space; at the Great Lakes Science Center, the current “Grossology” exhibit invites guests to learn about boogers and burps to their hearts’ content. Really.

Whatever route you choose, there’s no shortage of activities to keep the family busy this winter break. Kiss cabin fever goodbye and get out there!

For more excitement this winter season, Find It Here. at Ohio.org.

About the Author

Abbey Roy is a Kent State University journalism graduate. She writes a weekly column entitled the Bargain Advocate for the Newark Advocate and Media Network of Central Ohio and enjoys spending time with her family - her husband, Seth, and two daughters, Analeigh and Aria - reading, being outdoors (especially in the woods, water or both), bicycling and photography. She also makes a mean zucchini bread. You can email Abbey at abbey.m.roy@gmail.com.

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