Ohio, this is where I spent Thanksgiving 2017, in the middle of the Buckeye State. One thing I learned: there is always something to do for visitors, even if it appears that there is nothing to do at all. Here is how we accomplished that.
- Check out the local parks:
walk all of the trails, test out the swings and observe the wildlife. The best park was a fort playground. It was an expansive play-structure with lots of nooks and twists for hide and go seek, lava monster and any castle/pirate/chase game you could ever imagine. The best part was a hanging tire where you could shimmy down to escape the enemy (or hide in to surprise your foes).
- Visit old cemeteries. The oldest headstone we found was dated in 1780’s (birth date). Most of the older ones spanned the 1800’s.
- Walk up and down the main streets and read all of the Historical Markers. It is educational and serves as a mini urban hike (i.e.- a walk).
- Browse the pamphlet station at your hotel for ideas. Most will be cheesy ideas but some will be brilliant.
- We found out about the Ohio State Reformatory, but could not visit on account of the little ones and the reformatory’s lead paint. It look interesting and properly spooky.
- We did successfully visit the Ohio Caverns. I thought Kazul the King of the Dragons must live further down those tunnels, where it is big enough for dragons to fit, that is. Seeing the crystals made even our toddler ooh and ah. Worth a visit if you are ever near Champaign County, Ohio.
- Quench your thirst at a local brew house and winery. Then you can impress your family by name-dropping like a local, “I loved the hop-forward structure of the nano brewery‘s in-season IPA.”
- When you arrive at places that are closed, be flexible!
We struck out twice (Ft. Megis and the Wolcott House and Village), but drove just a little farther and found Fallen Timbers National Park. Unfortunately, we did not have a passport for the National Park program to stamp, so as to officially record our visit, but we still enjoyed the park. It was a 1.5 mile loop with detailed signs about the Battle of Fallen Timbers. If you used your imagination, you felt as if you were preparing for battle and seeking the advantage, too.
- Go on a mini road trip to see all of the nearby XYZ. In our case, we visited a single wooden bridge. According to the map we picked up at the hotel, there is a plethora of wooden bridges in Ohio, but we did not have time to visit more than this one.
- Finally, bring games for down times. We brought the trusty Unexploded Cows, Innovation, and I gifted Elevenses to my sister, who opened it early so that we could play it together.
Now you know the secrets to making every family vacation as exciting as possible!