Just because this might be a staycation summer, there is no reason to stay put. There are plenty of family-friendly day trips within an hour or so of Findlay. So pack some snacks, gas up the minivan and head down the road for some memorable summer fun.
African Safari Wildlife Park
267 S. Lightner Rd.
Port Clinton, OH
At this park, you can see wild animals from the comfort of your car. Then, get out and enjoy other activities once you’ve seen the exotic beasts — including white zebras, kudus and giraffes.
You can stroll the Safari Junction, enjoy pony and camel rides, cheer on the Pork Chop Downs pig races and more.
The park is open daily, rain or shine. Until May 27 it is open 10am to 5pm with the last car admitted at 4pm. From May 28 to September 6 hours are from 9am to 7pm with the last car admitted at 6pm.
The venue offers season passes, but one-day summer and extended weekend admissions are $17.95 for seven years and up, $11.95 for children four to six years. Children three and under are free. Admission includes unlimited drive-thru and walk-thru access, animal rides, pig races, animal shows and one free cup of animal food per car.
Armstrong Air and Space Museum
500 Apollo Dr.
Find out more about a homegrown hero and space exploration at this museum dedicated to Neil Armstrong.
The museum features many unique artifacts including the Gemini VIII spacecraft, Armstrong’s Gemini and Apollo spacesuits and an Apollo 11 moon rock. There are seven interactive exhibits and three simulators, where visitors can practice landing the lunar module or docking the Gemini capsule, as Armstrong did in 1966. Also featured is the Astro Theater where guests can enjoy the night sky or watch a documentary on the moon landing.
From April to September the Museum is open 9:30am to 5pm Monday through Saturday and noon to 5pm Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors over 60, $4 for children six to 12 and free for children under five.
11455 Obee Rd.
Love butterflies? This is the spot for you. Rather than wait for butterflies to come to you, you can come to them.
The 3,000-square-foot greenhouse is filled with hundreds of free-flying butterflies. The gardens feature more than 100 types of butterfly-friendly plants, home to the hundreds of butterflies the Butterfly House releases each week. New butterflies are released weekly because their lifespan is generally only a few weeks. Part of the fun is watching the butterflies emerge from their cocoons.
Hours are 10am to 5pm Monday through Saturday and noon to 5pm Sundays. The 2011 season runs from May 1 to September 30. In October the venue is open weekends only. Admission is $8 for adults 13 to 64, $7 for seniors over age 65, and $6.50 for children ages four to 12. Children under three are free when accompanied by an adult.
1 Cedar Point Dr
No summer in Northwest Ohio would be complete without a trip to Cedar Point. Whether your taste runs to the terrifying or tame, there is something for everyone at the second oldest amusement park in North America.
An added attraction this year is a new nighttime music and light show called “American Portrait,” dedicated to the spirit of America. The show combines patriotic, contemporary music with images of American life. The 15-minute program will be presented at 10pm nightly June 3 through August 21.
Cedar Point one-day admission is free for children under two but does not include Soak City. Ticket prices vary depending on height, venue and number of days. Hours for the amusement park, Soak City and Challenge Park vary depending on the day and special events schedule. Visit www.cedarpoint.com for a complete summer schedule including operating hours for each day and venue.
Great Wolf Lodge
4600 Milan Rd. | Sandusky, OH
If you’re looking for a vacation rather than a day trip, Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky is a great spot for a splash of fun—rain or shine. The lodge has an outdoor pool area, as well as an indoor water park and arcade. Great Wolf Lodge has all the amenities, and offers some great package deals to sweeten the pot.
One Discovery Way
On those rainy summer days, let your imagination loose at the Imagination Station. This kids museum has hundreds of hands-on exhibits, teaching science through fun experiments using bowling balls, lasers and a Giant Piano.
Imagination Station is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday, and Sunday noon to 5pm. It is also open on Memorial Day and Labor Day. Admission is $9 for adults and children over 13, $7 for children three to 12, and free for children two and under. Seniors over age 65 are admitted for $8.
Indian Trail Caverns
722 State Road 568
If you want to cool off and see some cool things, stop by the caverns where it is 55 degrees year-round.
More than 10,000 different specimens and artifacts have been found at the Sheridan cave site at Indian Trail Caverns, including rare extinct species that lived in Ohio before the last glacial coverage of the area. Access to the caverns is via gentle stairways that have been designed to accommodate both young and old.
The caverns are open from 1 to 5pm on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The tour lasts about an hour, and is $7 for adults and $5 for children. Wearing a jacket and other clothing appropriate for the underground cavern is recommended.
Kelleys Island State Park
Kelleys Island, OH
Don’t let the atmosphere fool you, this island oasis is indeed in Ohio. Kelleys Island State Park and all the other sights to see on the island make it a welcome escape from the daily grind. With campsites and attractions like the glacial grooves and the Native American inscription rock, there are enough family outdoor activities to turn your visit into a weekend.
State Route 2 | Oak Harbor, OH
Enjoy robins, cardinals and chickadees! The Biggest Week in American Birding, occuring May 5-15, is a great way for families to get in touch with nature. Thousands flock to the southwestern shores of Lake Erie to observe migrating songbirds on their flight north. Witness as birds are counted, banded and learn how many times they’ve flown through Northwest Ohio. The Sportsmens’ Migratory Bird Center at Magee Marsh is open Mon. – Fri. 8am to 5pm, and Sat.- Sun. 11am to 5pm. Sunday hours may vary, call ahead for specific hours of operation.
979 Country Rd. 215
Tucked 52-feet below the surface on South Bass Island, Perry’s Cave is a must- see when visiting one of Ohio’s favorite vacation spots. Not only are the historic cave and its underground lake intriguing, but nearby you can visit a butterfly house, go gemstone mining, climb a rock wall or relax at the nearby picnic area.
22611 Ohio 2
Think history is dull? Then you haven’t come to Sauder Village.
The village is a living history of how families lived 100 years ago including a historic village and pioneer settlement. You can watch blacksmiths, glass blowers and other daily demonstrations. A special treat for kids is the Little Pioneers Homestead, a hands-on experience in pioneer living. The activities, toys and games help tell the story of rural 19th century life in northwest Ohio in an accessible way for younger visitors.
Hours through May 30 are 10 am to 3:30pm Tuesday through Friday, 10am to 5pm Saturday and noon to 4pm Sunday. It is closed Mondays, except holidays. Hours May 31 through September 5 expand to include a 5pm closing Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $14.50 for adults, $7.50 for children six to 16, and free for children under five. On Sundays admission is free for children under age 16.
Spangler Store and Museum
400 North Portland Street
A tour of a candy factory? Awesome!
Tours are available on the Dum Dum Trolley from 10am to 3pm Monday through Friday during the summers. Factory tour prices are $5 for adults, $3 for children six to 18, free for children under five and $4 for seniors. Store and museum admission is free. No tours are available on factory holidays including Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day.
Splash Bay Resort
1705 Toll Gate Dr. | Maumee, OH
Have a splash of fun! Slide down the Yellow Pipeline inner tube slide or swim on the Walleye River Run. This indoor water park is attached to a Holiday Inn so once the water adventure is complete, guests can retire in style.
Toledo Mud Hens Fifth Third Field
406 Washington St.
Enjoy the boys of summer, and perhaps catch a home run ball, at Fifth Third Field. Toledo’s AAA team promises family fun along with peanuts and Cracker Jack, with the chance to watch some of the best professional baseball around.
The schedule is full of special promotions offering freebies, additional entertainment and fireworks. On several game days kids are allowed onto the field to run the bases. The Mud Hens also offer birthday packages and “experience packages” that have choices including throwing the first pitch, watching batting practice and receiving an autographed ball.
Season tickets are available. Individual
seats are generally about $9.
2 Hippo Way
It’s always a good time to see lions, tigers and bears. Plan a day at the Zoo, and see those animals plus another 9,000 or so.
In addition to the animals, the Zoo sponsors events throughout the year. Special summer events include garden tours, a concert series, Father’s Day activities and a special Fisher-Price Play Weekend July 30 where kids can check out the hottest new toys and meet their favorite F-P friends.
Hours are 10am to 5pm. Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission is $11 for adults, $8 for children ages two through 11 and seniors over 60 and free for zoo members and children under two.