Summertime is here, and as parents we have to answer two questions: What are you doing with the kids, and are you going on any trips?
The response to these questions are often budget-dependent — if there’s more month than money, or no budge in the budget, then you’re probably staying at home. If that’s the case,approach this summer vacation from a different angle; think like a tourist in your own backyard by planning a summer staycation.
Free or Small Budget: $
Our great city has a lot to offer. I know you think you’ve done it all, but keep an open mind to experience this city through a whole new lens. Our most popular attractions are adding features this summer, allowing you and your family to visit the same familiar places, while still doing something that you’ve never done before.
The Toledo Zoo and Aquarium has added an Aerial Adventure Course where you can go from 30-80 ft up in the air zip lining from platform to platform above the animals in the Africa exhibit. How cool is that??!?!? You get the thrill of an African safari, but the familiarity of home.
Fifth Third Field, the home of the Mud Hens has many new offerings this baseball season. Many fans love the game, but they also want to munch on yummy food, and how do you keep the kids engaged for two to three hours? Well, the chef at Fifth Third Field has literally created some new food selections that take you around the world. Some of the new offerings include a pot roast poutine, a delicious delicacy from Canada; a kimchi dog, which is a traditional hotdog topped with Asian style coleslaw from South Korea; and a strawberry belgian waffle from Belgium. Also, on certain Sundays, Hensville Inflatable Theme Park will be open to kids who want to bounce off some energy.
Absent for 12 years, the Toledo Air Show is back, and is expected to attract thousands of people from all over. There will be vintage and modern military planes grounded and available for tour, plus you will be able to see the legendary U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform, as well as many other squadrons.
Cathy Miller, Director of Tourism at Destination Toledo, Inc. says, “The key to saving on attractions and accommodations is to check the various sites to see if there are any package deals, and also purchasing and printing tickets in advance can provide some savings.” As for accommodations, Hilton Garden Inn in Perrysburg and Splash Bay in Maumee are excellent choices and keep you close to the action. If you’re going the free route, you can always pitch a tent in your backyard and create an authentic camping experience complete with a fire and s’mores that your family will never forget, or make a homemade fort in your basement. The key is to transform your space and give the illusion of being away from home, although you may still be in your backyard.
Free In Toledo
Toledo Museum of Art- Family Center has art projects and activities for children, Glass Pavilion
Area Farmers Markets- Weekly markets in Toledo-Westgate, Bowling Green, Sylvania, Waterville, Perrysburg and downtown Toledo.
Metropark Bike Trails: University Parks Trail Wabash Cannonball Trail
Side Cut Explorer – tram ride at Side Cut Metropark
Wildwood Preserve Metropark – Window on Wildlife
Toledo Botanical Gardens- enjoy the flowers and plants or enjoy Jazz in the Gardens
Mid Range Budget: $$$
Sandusky is home to so much, and it’s in our backyard about an hour down I80E. For this reason, 13abc’s Kristian Brown and her family make the trip every summer. She says, “Cedar Point is the greatest roller coaster amusement park in the world and Kalahari is one of the greatest water parks. We can get a great vacation without buying a plane ticket.” Cedar Point and Kalahari were rated #1 and #2 respectively on TripAdvisor as the most popular things to do in Sandusky. Because Sandusky is situated right on Lake Erie, you get the beautiful views that make you feel like you’re far away, plus the opportunity to use the ferry to island hop to Put-In-Bay and some of the other islands. Some other family friendly attractions are the Sandusky Maritime Museum, and you could even nature hike and enjoy birding at Pipe Creek Wildlife Area.
Extend Your Stay in Sandusky
– Enjoy water sports, such as parasailing and paragliding
– Take part in an authentic speed racing experience on a real track
Larger Budget: $$$$$
Cincinatti is the home of one of Ohio’s Major League Baseball teams, the Cincinnati Reds, some of the best chili you’ve ever tasted, and rolling hills against the backdrop of a metropolitan downtown. Cincinnati native turned local mom and owner of Style 5:16, Jonelle Massey, says, “You can spend an entire day at Winton Woods Park and Washington Park and not even notice.” Jonelle loves the plethora of splash parks around town and the free live music events. Another local mom, Melissa Vallade Pershing, also found plenty to do on a recent vacation to Cincinnati. She recommends purchasing tickets online to receive a discount and getting an early start if you’re planning to go to the larger attractions, such as the zoo and Newport Aquarium. Melissa also says, “A short hop south saves on hotel costs and also places you close to the Newport Aquarium and other attractions.” For this reason, Melissa and her family stayed in Covington, KY.
Before you Leave Cincinnati
– Grab a bowl of chilli from Skyline Chili and/or Gold Star Chili
– Walk over the historic Purple People bridge downtown- the longest bridge connecting two states
– Visit Yeatman’s Cove
As you can see there is plenty to see and do in Ohio, and you don’t have to travel too far or have a lot of money. So, choose a weekend and plan to go on one of these well crafted vacations or maybe even lay out a whole week and visit all of these attractions and cities.