Looking for something to do this summer? We always are! Here’s my list of favorite places and spaces for families with young kids. I’ve listed prices and hours, as well as my quick review or what I think is important info. Click on the name of any activity to be taken to its home web page. Feel free to share or pin but link back to my blog, please!
Perfect for young kids. A few small carnival rides, swimming pool, mini golf, and an enormous free play ground. The food is good and cheap, too! BRING CASH-they do not take credit or debit and the nearest ATM is inconveniently far away.
M-TH 4:30-8 F-Sun 12-8
.75 per ride ticket or $6 for 10
The museum is great and has some awesome interactive exhibits, including a replica of an early 1900’s street complete with shops, and Discovery World is full of fun experiments and just got a remodel this year. I highly recommend purchasing the family membership for $60-it pays for itself in 2 visits and gets you into lots of other museums at discounted rates or even free. We’ve had a membership for the past three years and never regretted it once!
M-Sat 9-4 Sun 12-4
$8 adult $6 child 2 and under FREE
I consider this the perfect zoo for young children. It is not huge, so you can get through it in an hour or two, also known as “just about the time kids get bored.” The exhibits are designed to allow you to get very close to the animals, and they are often literally inches away, which is great for small kids! I’m not a fan of trying to point out a single zebra in a five acre field to my 3-year-old. The food can be a little expensive, but you can bring in a picnic lunch if you want. Oh, and they are adding a new Grizzly Ridge exhibit July 2013, which looks amazing!
I strongly recommend the membership here, as well. It’s only about $70, which again pays for itself in 2 visits and gets you discounted or free admission to lots of other zoos, aquariums, and aviaries.
$10 adult $6 child
I’m sad to say I’ve never been to this zoo, but I’ve heard really good things. We plan on going this summer-admission is half off if you have a membership to the Akron Zoo! There’s an attached waterpark, too, but I don’t think we’ll be visiting as water parks are hard sells for me when my kids are too young to swim or ride the waterslides, etc. Check it out if you have older kids and let me know how it is!
$9 child $14 adult
This zoo is fantastic. Lots of exhibits and a nice mix of indoor and outdoor animals so you can get some relief during hot summer (or rainy) days. Trams are available, too, for when little (and big) feet get tired. They also have The Rainforest, which is an amazing indoor replication of a rainforest environment, it even really rains! (On the animals, not you.) This zoo is also half off if you have an Akron Zoo membership, and you can take a picnic here as well.
M-F 10-5 Sat-Sun 10-7
$11 adult $8 child 2 and under FREE
I seriously love COSI. It is divided into lots of scientific areas-the picture above is from an interactive water exhibit-and literally everything is interactive and up for investigation! There’s something for everyone-water and Earth exhibits, a reproduction of an historical street, and a gigantic room designed just for kids age 10 and under. There’s also a piano that makes human body noises like farts and burps-if your children are anything like mine, that’s a day’s entertainment all by itself.
COSI is totally free if you have a McKinley Museum membership as mentioned above…which is pretty sweet considering admission for our family would be $49 and the membership itself only costs $60. We are thinking of taking a weekend trip to Columbus to visit the zoo and COSI together-it’ll be practically free thanks to our two memberships!
Mon-Sat 10-5 Sun 12-6
$14.75 adult $9.75 child
The Science Center is similar to COSI but different enough that a visit to both is well worth your time. Again, they have a great kids’ area that you could spend most of the day in! They also have an Omnimax theatre, but it only shows science movies-although they are always really cool. This place is also FREE if you have a membership to the McKinley Museum-see how it pays for itself? AND it is literally right next door to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Tower City, Progressive Field…the list goes on! It’s easy to make a fun day of with any age, really.
Open Daily 10am-5pm
$14 adult $12 child
Random Story-We went up last time the Titantic Exhibit was there, and at the beginning they give you a card with a name on it. At the end, you can look at the passenger roster to see if “you” survived or not. We got to witness an older man turn around and say to his wife “There! I’m dead! Are you happy now?” and walk away. Awkward….
Absolutely one of our favorite places to go every summer. You climb up in a wagon and trek through the woods, and whenever the wagon stops, tame animals come up asking to be fed! Everything from deer and zebras to ostriches and pot-bellied pigs!! The picture opportunities are endless. They also have a picnic area, a playground, and an extremely nice petting zoo. Warning-bathrooms are the porta-potty kind in case you are squeamish.
Adult $15.95 Child $10.95 2 and under FREE
*printable $2 coupon on their website
The perfect beach for kids. Nice and sandy bottom, zero-depth walk in, and the perfect mix of little slides for the toddlers and big water slides for adults, teens and tweens. This is my girls’ favorite place…EVER. I think it may even beat out grandma’s house. They seriously ask to go once a week…even in December. Also important-they keep the changing rooms very very clean. There’s mini golf and a fairly priced concession stand, too, or you can pack your own picnic as long as it doesn’t feature booze or glass. You can also camp and extend your stay although I have never been brave enough to do so with small children…
$6 per person 3 and under FREE
You can pick your own strawberries here! Just get a bucket and head out to the field, come in when you’re bucket is full and/or you’re tired. It’s a really unique experience! The store has the BEST local homemade candies, cheeses, beef jerkey, ice cream….mmmmmmm (drool)
June-call ahead for availability
$10-20 depending on quantity
Great for a rainy day! (Or winter) The indoor aquatics area features a kiddie play pool, a lap pool, a lazy river, and two water slides! It’s like Kalahari and all that whatnot…but close and cheap! Check their website for special events and swim classes, too. (Also the locker rooms are nice and clean-bonus!!)
Mon-Thurs 6-8 Fri 6-7:30 Sat 8-7:30 Sun 12-5:30
$6 each for the day 3 and under FREE
Make sure your kiddos have socks on and eat AFTER you are done jumping!! Other than that, it’s an enormous building full of bounciness…need I say more?!
$8 each kid, adults and kiddos too young to jump are FREE
We’ve never been here, but we are planning on going! Lots of nature trails and an interactive building, too! I printed off nature scavenger hunts from pinterest for our future visit. If you’ve been there, share your reviews in the comments!
Tues-Sat 9-5 Sun 1-5
Admission is FREE
Special Events: http://www.wildernesscenter.org/calendar.html
Go to the library. Get books. Read stories. They’re FREE. Just do it-it’s the best thing you can do for your kids…and yourself!! Look online for fun summer activities, but don’t wait for those-just GO!!
Added by popular demand from my fans, the Lynn is amazing and I can’t believe I forgot it! The second oldest drive-in in the world, it is great family fun. They play double features on two different screens every day during the summer, and their concession stand is super affordable, too…or you can bring your own snacks! (Without having to smuggle them in) You can stay in the car or sit on the lawn, but bring bug spray!
$6 per adult, ages 5-11 $2, 5 and under are FREE (awesome prices!!)
Hours-first feature usually begins about 9:00 or so, check website for exact times and what movies are showing, get there early if there’s a blockbuster showing!!
If anyone has anything to add….PLEASE do so in the comments so we can all share!!