Must-see places for the summer
by Kevin Moore
The weather’s warm, the days are longer, and the kids are finally out of school. Now, what to do? An exciting adventure awaits just hours within Toledo! Make the most of your summer and explore these local wonders.
The Ohio Statehouse Museum
The Ohio Statehouse offers a variety of tours for guests to explore this beautiful and historic building located in the heart of Columbus. Tours led by a guide in 19th Century clothing take tourists throughout the Statehouse, which still serves as the office for Ohio’s government. Miss Emma tours, named for the gracious woman who opened her home to Ohio Senators and Representatives throughout the late 1800s, offers a specialized showing of the Capitol grounds as well as a boarding house style meal at “Miss Emma’s Table.” The museum even offers self-guided cell phone tours where patrons can dial a number posted beside a monument and listen to a 30-90 second informational clip. Admission is free. Tour hours are 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon – 3 p.m. weekends, closed holidays.
Perry’s Victory and
International Peace Memorial
South Bass Island, OH
This 352 feet tall column on South Bass Island is visible from most of western Lake Erie and sits only 5 miles from the longest undefended border in the world. Named for Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry, the memorial honors those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812, a decisive victory that secured the states of Ohio and Michigan from falling into British territory. Those visiting the monument can explore a museum on the ground floor as well as ride an elevator to the observation deck from which the shores of Ohio, Michigan, and Canada are all visible. $3 adults, children are free. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily through September 5.
The World’s Largest Basket
Remember going to the park for a family picnic and all the things that would fit into the picnic basket? Sandwiches, chips, drinks, plates, even blankets; but what about an entire building? The Longaberger Company’s Home Office building literally is a 7 story, 208-ft by 142-ft, replica of one of their Medium Market Baskets. The Longaberger family began making baskets in the Great Depression as extra income for J.W. Longaberger when he clocked out of the local paper mill. Little did he know, his company would one day produce the largest basket on Earth! Admission is free. 2010 hours are 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon – 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed holidays.
The Henry Ford Museum
and Greenfield Village
Take a look at nearly every modern convenience you enjoy, and odds are it got its start during the Industrial Revolution. The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village is an attraction that preserves this part of America’s heritage in a large, open, and interactive exhibit. Whether its seeing the Rosa Parks bus, walking through Thomas Edison’s laboratory, taking a ride in a replica Ford Model T, or getting ice cream at a turn-of-the-century style parlor; tourists both young and old will find more attractions than they know what to do with. Special exhibits this year include PLAY, a “giant’s” interactive collection of full body sized billiards, bowling, foosball, and dominos. 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. everyday. Museum: $15 adults, $11 children, free for children 5 and under. Village: $22 adults, $16 children, free for children 5 and under.
The National Museum
of the US Air Force
Wright-Patterson AFB, OH
Who doesn’t still get excited when they see Top Gun playing on the movie channel? Get closer to the field of aviation, both past and present, by visiting this astounding collection of air and space craft exhibits. Some of the most notable features on display are the first heavier-than-air flying machines, World War I era biplanes, the Apollo space module, the first plane to serve a President (JFK) as Air Force One, and some of the latest aeronautical designs still under development. The museum also offers several other exhibits for all ages that are as educational as they are fun such as a flight simulator presented in an in-house IMAX theatre. General admission is free. IMAX is $6.75 adult, $5.25 students, and $4 for children. Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. everyday. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Raging water slides, lazy rivers, relaxing spas, luxury suites, and an exotic safari theme are what await guests at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio. No matter the time of year, Kalahari has equally entertaining indoor and outdoor water park facilities for the whole family. While the kids can enjoy the multiple water slides, pools, and aquatic play areas; mom and dad can relax in Spa Kalahari for a hot stone massage or an herbal mud treatment. New to the resort this summer is the Safari Outdoor Adventure Park that boasts a three level, 750 foot rope course, elevated zip line rides, 32 foot climbing walls with racing timers, and a safari animal park.
Taking environment concerns to heart, a group of civic leaders, political leaders, and zoological professionals established The Wild’s on a 10,000 acre patch of reclaimed mine land as an ecological conservation center. The center offers guided tours through the safari lands to see giraffes, rhinos, and other endangered species roaming freely in an open environment. Some tours even explore the new Mid-Sized Carnivore Conservation Center where the Wilds provide a home for cheetahs and African wild dogs. There are also spaces within the conservation center for mountain biking, photography, and bird and butterfly watching. Summer hours are
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily.
Mohican State Park
Get away for the day or overnight at this 1,000+ acre state park in Northeast Ohio. Park visitors can enjoy hiking on the 32 miles of trails within the park as well as on additional trails in surrounding Mohican State Forest, mountain biking on its paved and off-road paths, canoeing down the Mohican River, or swimming in the park’s Olympic-size swimming pool. Families will find endless opportunities to have picnics or camp out at Mohican’s numerous shelter houses, campgrounds, cottages, and resort lodge. Even hunters and fishermen will find plenty of sport in the nearby state forest.
Dad's driveway vacation checklist
by Jay Pauleitner
My family doesn’t groan anymore when I run through my verbal checklist as we leave the driveway and travel the first few blocks on an overnight or weeklong adventure. Over the years, each of them (including my wife, Rita) have said “Oops! Stop. We gotta go back.”
I no longer have to say, “See — aren’t you glad for my vacation checklist.” They know I’m right. It’s one of those rare, small moments I get to savor while claiming victory for dads everywhere.
As a public service to men and their families, following is my unofficial, not-yet-patented vacation checklist. Like most advice for parents, take what you like, leave what you don’t, and make it your own. Here it is in no mandatory order:
Say it fast before you get too far from home. The list varies depending on destination — beach vacations vs. out-of-town weddings vs. camping trips. The list also comes in handy as we leave hotels and beach houses heading for home. You’ll notice that the more important items are mentioned early and many of the items kind of go in pairs. Once you start mentioning items that you can pick up cheap at any drugstore, then you can stop talking.
Try it on your next trip. Sooner or later, you’ll be a hero for rescuing an entire journey. The one potential problem is that the family starts to expect it. I am just waiting for the day when I rattle off my vacation checklist and happen to forget one item, and that one item – of course – is the one that is forgotten. Somehow, I’ll be the one taking the blame.
This summer, take a virtual vacation
by Carolyn Jabs
Most parents would like to show their kids the wonders of the world. However, most don’t because travel is expensive and vacation schedules are short. Still, it’s a rare parent who doesn’t fantasize about holding a child’s hand while standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon or pointing out the marvels in a museum like the Smithsonian. Happily, you can take these and other dream trips simply by visiting the right websites. Obviously, a virtual vacation isn’t the same as the real thing but if your goal is to awaken your kids to their natural and cultural heritage, these websites are a terrific start.
Tour the Smithsonian Museum. If you’ve actually visited the Smithsonian, you know how overwhelming “America’s attic” can be. The website can also be confounding if only because there are so many museums. Start with the Museum of Natural History where your tax dollars have been put to good use creating a virtual tour with a 360 degree environment that makes it feel like you are wandering around the museum (www.mnh.si.edu/panoramas/). When your child spots something intriguing, he or she can ask for a close-up of everything from dinosaurs and fossils to sea-life and mammals, plants and insects to bones and gems. Younger children will also enjoy the Live Cams at the National Zoo (www.nationalzoo.si.edu) and older children can deepen their understanding of American history, culture and art through exhibits at the other museums
Visit a National Park.
(www.nature.nps.gov/views/index.cfm) The National Park Service website is rich with visuals as well as information about the ecology and history of the parks. In addition to famous parks like the Grand Canyon and the Mall in Washington D.C., you and your kids can hang out in more remote spots like the Badlands of South Dakota, Petroglyph Park in New Mexico or the Timpanogos Cave in Utah. The pages on the site load quickly, in part because they don’t include music or narration. Reading the short, but intriguing, captions is a good way to keep school skills sharp, and kids who become immersed in the site will be rewarded by the occasional game. This website is also an excellent way to plan a visit to a park—or to remember past trips.
Hike in the woods. UPM, a multi-national forest products company, sponsors an extraordinary website that makes you feel as though you’re tromping through a forest. To access the site go to www.upm.com and click on UPM Forest Life. Suddenly, bird calls fill the air. Is that a stream burbling in the background? A guide appears and offers to show you around but you can also explore on your own by clicking hot spots that explain everything from fungi to forestry management. The narration on the site is available in German, French and Suomi (Finnish), which may slow summer erosion of foreign language skills.
Explore the Earth. Planet in Action (www.planetinaction.com) enhances maps available at Google Earth to create vivid interactive tours of landmark sites. Check out the “Places” section of the website for tours of Mount St. Helens, Manhattan and Paris Disneyland. With a twitch of the mouse, you can zoom in for a closer look at pointsof interest. The site also includes flight simulation games for kids who find a simple tour “boooooring.”
You can also go straight to the source by downloading Google Earth 5 (www.earth.google.com/intl/en/), a richer version of GoogleMaps that allows investigation of almost any place on the planet, sometimes in three dimensions. Start by looking for familiar landmarks in your own community. Then go wild and visit places that are totally beyond the family budget. Tokyo. A Carribean island. The Serengeti. Magnify the map until little hot spots appear. Then click on them to learn more about local life.
Take a Moon Walk. If exploring earth seems passé, try a virtual vacation that is quite literally out of this world. On the toolbar at the top of Google 5, there’s a tiny image of Saturn. Clicking on it gives you the choice of studying the night sky, exploring Mars or traveling to the moon. On the moon, Apollo astronauts offer a personal tour, explaining the craft they used in their historic flight and pointing out their famous footprints.
These virtual tours offer so many options that younger children will enjoy them more in the company of an adult guide. If possible, hook a computer to a larger monitor or even the family television, so several people can explore together. Knowing that, after dinner, in the company of your kids, you can look forward to sharing a virtual trip to a place you’ve always wanted to visit can become its own mini, but memorable, vacation.
Carolyn Jabs, M.A., has been writing about families and the Internet for over fifteen years. She is the mother of three computer-savvy kids. Other Growing Up Online columns appear on her website www.growing-up-online.com.
Here's to you, Dad
From boy to man
10 ways a father can nurture his son
by Martha Wegner
1 Be intentional. Make a list of the skills, attitudes, and values you hope to instill in your son by the time he leaves home. Examples might include the ability to delay gratification, prayer, basic auto maintenance, thankfulness, a work ethic, or family togetherness.
2 Be a model for healthy expression of emotions. Dads need to help their sons regulate and express their emotions in a responsible way. Start by getting comfortable with showing your own emotions (this may take some work!) Then be a positive role model for expressing emotions, and for regulating anger.
3 Model and monitor respect. Many young men have lost a sense of respect, and it especially shows in their speech. We hear them trash talking, swearing, or denigrating women. Dads need to monitor the way their sons are talking, and teach them to use their speech for positive ends-like articulating thoughts and feelings, building relationships, giving encouragement and speaking words of life and peace. Dads also need to be a model for respecting authority.
4 Show love and affection. Boys with affectionate fathers develop positive self-esteem, they tend to thrive in schoolwork, and have fewer gender identity issues. So go ahead and give your son a big, old-fashioned bear hug-and do it often.
5 Model a spiritual life. By your example, your son will gain an appreciation for prayer and other acts of devotion.
6 Live in concert with the natural world. Spend time outdoors with your son. Teach your son to respect and treasure the natural world around him.
7 Seek equal partnerships with women and female culture. Let your respect for your wife, daughters, and all other women be apparent in all you say and do.
8 Seek a male kinship system. Become part of a male community in which you support and are supported in your quest to be a better husband and father.
9 Be an agent of service. Share real-life experiences of service with your son. These could be as simple as daily acts of kindness to more structured projects such as volunteering once a month at a homeless shelter.
10 Observe rites of passage. As your son meets the benchmarks along the way that help signal new levels of maturity and responsibility, make sure you celebrate. Let him know what he has accomplished towards
becoming a man.
This list was culled from the work of Michael Gurian and the research of Dr. Ken Canfield, founder of the National Center for Fathering (www.fathers.com), whose mission is to “improve the well-being of children by inspiring and equipping men to be more effectively involved in the lives of children.”
Toledo's dear ol' dads
spotlight on local fathers
complied by Toledo Area Parent staff
Richard is a stay-at-home dad, married to Holly and has two daughters, RoxAnna (15) and Raven Nicole (11). When Raven was three years old, she was diagnosed with PPH (Primary Pulmonary Hypertension), a condition in which the blood vessels in the lungs are constricted, decreasing her oxygen supply and backing up fluid into her heart. Richard is a member of the Parent Advisory Committee of Mercy Children’s Hospital.
What do you wish you would have known before becoming a dad? I wish I would have known how much fun it was going to be! I never really expected I was going to have kids.
What did your dad teach you that you hope to instill in your children? My dad taught me hard work was important.
What would be your ultimate Father’s Day gift? My ultimate Father’s Day gift would be Raven overcoming her heart condition.
Your parenting style in 5 words or fewer: Laidback and fun.
What do area dads need most from our community? I think dads need understanding. The economy is different; many people have certain financial situations. Also, dads need hope. St. Vincent’s really pays attention to Raven’s health problems — and the different problems of a lot of other kids. That really inspired me to become a part of St. Vincent’s Parents Group.
Otis is the father of Lily Mae (3) and the husband of Shelly. He was injured while serving his second tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and is currently a stay-at-home dad and a college student at Mercy College of Northwest Ohio. He volunteers on the Old West End Security Board and is a parent helper at Gateway School. Shelly says he is a “strong, funny, noble and caring man.”
What do you wish you would have known before becoming a dad? I love being a Dad. I thought I knew how much time and work being a Dad would be, but I really didn’t know until she was born.
What did your dad teach you that you hope to instill in your children? That being a good parent means making it your first priority above anything and everything. You have to sacrifice, but it’s worth it.
What would be your ultimate Father’s Day gift? A Harley Davidson Fat Boy Motorcycle
Your parenting style in 5 words or fewer: Fair, funny, flexible
What do area dads need most from our community?
A support group for stay-at-home Dads
Ben and his wife, Amanda, have two children – Hannah (8) and Lauren (4). When not working at Rite Aid, Ben is a “hands on” dad, sitting at the dance studio while his daughters take lessons and volunteering with the Beverly Elementary PTO. Last fall, he began a program called Monday Night Challenge in his neighborhood. Families meet for activities like whiffleball or capture the flag, to celebrate family and community.
What do you wish you would have known before becoming a dad? I wish I would have known to stock up on sleep beforehand.
What did your dad teach you that you hope to instill in your children? Probably the benefits of doing it right the first time.
What would be your ultimate Father’s Day gift? Season tickets to the Buckeyes.
Your parenting style in 5 words or fewer: Try not to screw up.
What do area dads need most from our community? Dads need more family outings. There is the Toledo Museum of Art, the Toledo Zoo, and the Metroparks, but there should be more opportunities for rainy or snowy days.