Northeast Ohio Summer Activities

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!

Tuscora Park

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

McKinley Museum and Discover World

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

Akron Zoo

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.

10-5 Daily

$10 adult     $6 child


Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

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!

9-7 Daily

$9 child     $14 adult

Cleveland Zoo

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

Great Lakes Science Center

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….

Rolling Ridge Ranch

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.

Mon-Sat 9-5

Adult $15.95     Child $10.95     2 and under FREE

*printable $2 coupon on their website

Baylor Beach

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…

June/July 11am-8pm

August 11am-7pm

$6 per person     3 and under FREE

Sunnyslope Orchard

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

Massillon Recreation Center

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


Pump It Up

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?!

Mon-Fri 10am-3pm

$8 each kid, adults and kiddos too young to jump are FREE

Wilmot Wilderness Center

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:


Stark County Library

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!!

The Lynn Drive-In

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!!


Happy Hurricane Day!

I live in Northeast Ohio.  We kind of get the short end of the weather stick in a lot of ways.  We’re a little too far north to get lots of tropical temps and all the benefits, and we are a little too far South to get enough snow to do awesome things like build igloos.

However, we do manage to get heat waves, floods, tornadoes, blizzards, earthquakes (!), lake effect snow, droughts, northeasters and massive rain and wind storms.  But a hurricane.  That’s pretty much something we avoid, being smack dab in the middle of a continent and all.  Until now anyways!  Ohio got it’s first hurricane last night!  Woot!  Hi Sandy!  Lots of rain and wind and my house made noises it is probably not supposed to really make!

Anyways, here is my favorite interpretation of Ohio’s four seasons for you to giggle at.  Or point and make fun of.  Whatever.

Season One: Almost Winter (some people call this fall)

Season Two: Winter (this season lasts six months in Ohio)

Season Three: Still Winter (some people call this spring, I think)

Season Four: Construction (aka-when we get the shit done we can’t get done the other ten months of the year. Notice that the grass is all dead from the extreme heat)

I would not have lived for 30+ years in Ohio if I did not enjoy it, so do not fill my comment boxes with nastiness about moving if you don’t like it.  I don’t have to move if I don’t like the weather.  I live in Ohio.  I wait five minutes.

The Good Day


Don’t say it too loudly, but Northeast Ohio has been giving us some fantastic weather lately.

Yeah, I probably just jinxed us.  It will probably snow 4 inches overnight.

(Not 6 inches.  That would give us a snow day, and Ohio doesn’t work like that.)

Never underestimate the chances of “More Winter” invading “Road Construction”

So anyways, awesome weather means that it has just been…great.

Today was such a good day.  It wasn’t spectacular or amazing or out of the ordinary.  It was just deliciously, deeply good.

I got a large task done at work that I’ve been tackling for a while.

I came home to hugs from my hubby and my children.  My husband watched the kids while I took a short nap.  (Naps are fantastic…but I always feel guilty for taking them.  Am I the only one?  Yeah?  Fine then.)  On the negative side, I thought of an excellent Facebook status as I dozed off…then I forgot it.  Wisdom lost for all time, folks.

After my nap we played and did art together and practiced Corinne’s letter cards.  We read some stories.  We watched some Scooby Doo.

For dinner I made one of our favorites, Brunswick stew.  For once, the girls were happily occupied in their own toy kitchen and did not attempt to fall in the soup/add toys to the pot/drop bar stools on my feet.  I also made some ranch snack crackers. SO addicting.  Those crackers turned out to be all Ashlynn ate for dinner, but whatever, you know?  She’s not going to starve to death.  She’ll just be…ranchy, I guess?

And she’ll have great views and horses and invite mom to come for vacation every winter…oh sorry. Got distracted.

After dinner we grabbed popsicles and played outside until dusk fell.  We came in and did the pajama routine, then we started Stuart Little.  The girls saw the movie and fell in love, and bibliophile that I am, I couldn’t let it go at that.  A) I’ve been dying to start reading them chapter books, and B) They did a truly awful job with that movie.

Hugs and kisses and the girls were in bed, on time, and with a minimum of excuses to get up and whining.

(I swear, the other night Ashlynn got up FOUR TIMES to ask me if I was going to feed her breakfast the next morning.  I know sarcasm is lost on young children, but I was finally like “What?! Do you think I would suddenly and randomly decide that tomorrow is the first day in your life I would cancel breakfast?!  TO SLEEP!!!!  GO!!!”)

Also the dog stalked neighbors out the window while totally missing the squirrel two feet from the house that was making faces at him.  Thank God we have an electronic security system.

Now it’s time for a bath and a book and probably some brain-rotting tv.  Hopefully no insomnia, as my pre-interview jitters have turned into “the million things I want to do with my class next year” ideas and I’ve been running on fumes the past week.

My husband will be home soon.  I love and miss him and we’ll probably curl up on the couch together.  What was that noise?  Did you hear that?  It sounded like gagging.  Oh well.  Must be imagining things.

Ooooo, and it sounds like there’s a thunderstorm coming!  I sleep best with rain pouring down!

Who needs TV?

There you go.  My good day.  Deliciously, happily good. What makes your days good?  I know you’re out there, readers!  Comment and share!