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

COSI

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: http://www.wildernesscenter.org/calendar.html

 

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!!

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June Fan-dom

This summer so far has been crazy in so many ways.  Crazy fun.  Crazy hot.  Crazy busy.  And I am loving every second of it!  I am not sure exactly where the month of June went, but it is gone.  So it is time for my June Fan-dom post, and let’s just say that I’ve been having lots of fun so it is a long list!  But fun!  Promise!

Garage Sales

One of my consistent efforts to avoid becoming a hoarder buried in her own junk is to have a garage sale every other year or so.  I need  a bumper sticker that says “Teachers-we are all hoarders.  We just do it at work!”  Since I am moving classrooms again, I got rid of tons of stuff.  My teacher friends cautioned me…”You should keep that!  You never know when you will need it!”  And then I had to inform them that if I kept all my stuff I would probably have to begin living in my own back yard.  And so.  Garage Sale!  I cleared myself a little over $400.  Woohoo!  And I cannot say enough about how a well-organized, well-done sale brings in SO many more people than just boxes o’crap.  Unlike what I talked about in this post.

What the HELL?!?!

Summer Vacation (Duh)

I love my job.  If you’ve read this blog with any kind of regularity, you know that.  But I also freakin’ ADORE having summers off.  I never plan to work another summer in my life.  Nope I don’t.  Be jealous.  I don’t care!  Summers off! Lalalalala!

Mr. Sun says, “Neener neener!” Mr. Sun is such a jerk. I would never say that.

Great Escape Theatres

I love this theatre because every summer they offer free kids’ movies two days a week.  My children love going to the movies.  But they also love: demanding popcorn, dropping popcorn, slurping drinks, rattling candy wrappers, learning how to smuggle snacks from Mommy, asking loud questions, spilling popcorn, kicking the seat in front of them, and visiting the bathroom forty-five times.  Oh, and they also enjoy getting bored and leaving halfway through.  At least free movies at Great Escape give them the novelty without having to pay $8 a pop! (Also, I sit far away from other patrons-no worries)

That was not my kids. I swear.

Neapolitan Cupcakes

Oh my God people, these are possibly the best.thing.ever.  Buy a box of brownie mix.  Mix it.  Buy a box of strawberry cake mix.  Mix it. Buy a can of vanilla frosting. (Ok, buy all three at once and save yourself some gas.  Let’s not be stupid.)  Put about a heaping tablespoon of the brownie batter in the bottom of the cupcake wrapper, fill the rest until 2/3 full with strawberry cake batter.  Bake according to cake mix temperature for 22 minutes.  Ice.  Die of happiness and joy.  Seriously.  Since the brownies’ cook temperature is just a bit different, they stay just a tiny bit gooey, making this the most moist cupcake ever.  And it tastes just like Neapolitan ice cream!  Mmmmmmm

My Fingernails

They are long and gorgeous!  I posted my promise to stop biting way back when and I was an abysmal failure.  That’s right.  Abysmal.  Look it up.  Anyways, I stopped biting them on May 2!  Hooray!  And I just went cold turkey, too.  No potions or lotions or unctions.  Just stopped.  Don’t ask me how.  Maybe thirty years and four months and two days was my body’s cut off?

100% Natural, Organic and Home Grown

My New Laptop!

My husband bought me a laptop to use for grad school!  He is awesome.  But you knew that from here and here and here and even here. Man, I must really love that guy! 🙂  It is an ASUS.  I do not really know what that means, but it works and does the things I want, so I’m good.

Aw. Look how my laptop is a nerd like me. It was meant to be.

Bare Minerals

Y’all, I am the antithesis of a girly girl.  I hate purse shopping.  Clothes and fashion are not my thing.  My husband cringes when I mention shoe shopping because he knows I am sure to end up pissy because I hate it.  (Mostly because I am freakishly tall and they don’t make cute shoes bigger than a size 8.  Which I do not wear.)  And, until recently, make-up was only two things for me. 1) A thing to think up an excuse to skip doing or 2) A necessary evil.  If I’m going to spend an extra ten minutes doing anything in the morning, it’s going to be sleeping.  BUT.  Then I was introduced to Bare Minerals.  So awesome.  So easy.  And my favorite part is that it really doesn’t look (or feel) like you are wearing make-up.  It’s just light and natural and now I sound like a stupid infomercial probably so I will shut up.  A little pricey?  Yes.  But worth every cent in my opinion.  Oh, and I got mine at The Hair Shoppe-they do free consultations and demos with no pressure sales!

You do NOT need all that junk. But you’ll want it.

31 and Miche

Yes, yes, I know I wrote a whole hilarious and memorable post (well, I think so, anyways) back here about these parties that people invite you to only to demand you whip out your checkbook.  And I am still pretty much against them because in general I believe they promote sales through guilt.  Which is lame and icky.  But I am not against buying the products themselves.  I see it like this:  It’s the difference between going to Target because I need to get something, and being forcibly locked into Target until I buy something goddamnitall!  I went to these parties because I desired their stuff.  Mucho desired.  I think Thirty-One has fantastic, cute stuff that is worth the value they are asking.  I think Miche will allow me to switch bags without switching my gobs of purse-crap, and I am all for that.

Oh, I am SO going to put all my junk up in that junk.

But no.  Do not invite me to all your parties and expect me to come.  And yes, there are some of these parties that still blatantly over-price and rip people off.

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Happy July!  Also, I have found some absolutely FANTASTIC teacher web-sites and resources.  But this post is already too long so that will be a new post! Super soon! 🙂