By Nick Dekker
Posted On: Feb 10, 2020
Springtime means Ohio families are out traveling and exploring the state. The kids have days off from school and parents are looking for options to get out of the house. If you’re like us, you’ve developed some favorite destinations; our family and friends love these five.
Millennium Force at Cedar Point
Roller Coasters and Water Slides
Many Ohio families like sneaking away to Sandusky. Not only do we have beautiful views of Lake Erie to enjoy, but we can find endless adventures at spots like Cedar Point, Castaway Bay and Great Wolf Lodge. We can go from zipping up and down roller coasters to lounging on the lazy river to racing down water slides.
Hiking in the Hills
Sometimes we want busy vacations, and other times we want low-key trips. Those are the trips where we don’t build a big itinerary. We just let things happen. For instance, we like to pick a cabin in Hocking Hills and camp out for a few days. While inside, it's good to bring a few movies to watch and play some board games. But when we our outdoors, it's straight to climbing down every trail in Hocking Hills State Park, gazing at every hidden waterfall and soaking in everything Mother Nature has to offer.
In between hikes we stop at Milestone BBQ or the Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan for a bite to eat, enjoy some soft serve on the porch of the Old Man’s Cave General Store and maybe book some seats on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. We’re also close to Athens, if you want to sneak into town for hot dogs at O’Betty’s or giant peanut butter cookies at Fluff Bakery.
COSI and the Columbus Zoo
Being Columbus residents, we’re biased of course toward the staycation opportunities the city offers, but there are truly multiple reasons to escape to the city for spring break. It takes almost two days to explore all of the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, especially when you’re taking time to feed the giraffes in the Heart of Africa or boat through the Congo. If it’s raining we spend the day in COSI, where we play in the kid’s spaces or marvel at the latest planetarium show.
Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus
We’ve also spent many mornings exploring the Franklin Park Conservatory. In the Spring, the butterflies are out in full force! In between adventures, we can stop for a food truck lunch at the Columbus Commons, and take time to ride the carousel or play a giant game of chess.
Planes, Planes and More Planes
We’ve spent a full day exploring the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, but let’s be honest – we could have spent two. If your kids are like mine, they may not stop to read every sign or every placard, but there are so many planes there – so many – that I still can’t get my head around it.
We’ve started the day with breakfast at the Golden Nugget or the Legacy Pancake House, then strolled through the museum to marvel at every plane new and old. Pro-tip: make sure you take the bus over to the presidential and experimental hangar. We squeezed through an old Air Force One and wandered around every bizarre prototype aircraft.
Cincinnati Museum Center
The Newport Aquarium and Cincinnati Museum Center
Like Columbus, Cincinnati offers enough activities to keep us busy for a week. We’ve started days with breakfast at colorful and family-friendly spots like Sleepy Bee Cafe (our boys loved the Nutella pancakes special) or Sugar N’ Spice (where kids get a free rubber duck at the end of the meal).
Then, we’ve found plenty of options to choose from, like the Krohn Conservatory or the Cincinnati Zoo. The Cincinnati Museum Center houses three museums under one roof. The children’s museum downstairs offers hours of interactive play, and you must climb Tower A to see the old control tower for the terminal. That’s where they once oversaw the entire train yard. Now it houses old train equipment and maps, and it still overlooks the freight yard. My boys and I were both enamored by all the train paraphernalia. After exploring the museums, relax at the theater out a performance of "Annie Jr." at the Children's Theatre of Cincinnati. The show will be publicly performed from Feb. 29 to March 8.
Finally, we spend at least a half day swimming with the sharks at the Newport Aquarium across the river. Not literally, but the exhibit will make you feel like you’re swimming among them, with clear class tunnels running underneath the tanks, and a shark bridge you can cross that goes over it!
For more family-fun adventures, check out #OhioFindItHere. at Ohio.org.