The coast of Cedar Point, one of Northwest Ohio’s most beloved attractions. (

Family Friendly Things To Do In Northwest Ohio This Summer

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By Mike Pearson
The Blade

With its mix of national attractions and local favorites, family-friendly fun is easy to come by in northwest Ohio. Several destinations are introducing new features this summer, adding freshness worth experiencing.

Here are 10 to check out before school is back in session:

Cedar Point and Cedar Point Shores Water Park
1 Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky (Erie County)

The amusement park reinvented and expanded its water park, formerly Soak City, as Cedar Point Shores this year.

The 18-acre park boasts four new attractions to appeal to both thrill-seekers and young splish-splashers alike. Among them: Point Plummet, a six-story-tall, four-person body slide that sends guests on a free fall when the floor drops from under them; and Lakeslide Landing, a family slide complex that includes a lounge and sun deck.

The theme park, meanwhile, offers it share of thrill rides, including its famed roller coasters.

Admission: $45 to $67 for Cedar Point, $40 for Cedar Point Shores; discounts available online and for children, evening or combination tickets; parking: $20

Information: 419-627-2350,


Kalahari Resorts
7000 Kalahari Drive, Sandusky (Erie County)

The state’s largest indoor water park boasts five new water slides — including Stingray, a raft slide that ultimately drops riders into a five-story funnel; and Tornado Alley, which boasts sudden drops, high-banking swings and zero-gravity moments.

Guests who don’t want to get wet can check out the adjacent Safari Outdoor Adventure Park, which features zip lines, a ropes course, a climbing wall and an animal park.

Admission: free water-park admission for resort guests; day passes, $35 to $75, available based upon occupancy; free parking

Information: 419-433-7200,


South Bass Island (Ottawa County)

Families can cool their heels at South Bass Island State Park, which boasts 33 acres of scenic views along Lake Erie and spots for swimming, fishing, picnicking and boating.

While there, you won’t want to miss Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center, which offers a butterfly house, miniature golf, a 25-foot rock-climbing wall, gemstone mining and an antique-car museum.

The gem of the center is Perry’s Cave, 52 feet below ground, where visitors can view stalactites, stalagmites and cave pearls on the walls, ceiling and floor.

And drivers needn’t be 16 to speed around the Put-in-Bay Raceway: Its remote-control cars are the fastest vehicles on the island.

Note: The popular Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial will be closed this summer for updates.

How to get there: Two ferry companies run to Put-in-Bay. Call or visit websites, below, for details.

Admission: fees vary per activity; check websites for details

Information: Jet Express: 1-800-245-1538,; Miller Ferry: 1-800-500-2421,; Perry’s Cave: 419-285-2283,; Put-In-Bay,


African Safari Wildlife Park

267 S. Lightner Road, Port Clinton (Ottawa County)

From alpacas to zebras, nearly 500 animals roam this park, where a drive-through safari puts visitors nose to nose with some of the friendliest creatures.

Admission also includes a walk-through safari, educational programs and a camel ride for children weighing 100 pounds or less.

Admission: $13.95 to $21.95, free for children 3 and younger; parking: free

Information: 419-732-3606,


Toledo Botanical Garden
5403 Elmer Drive, Toledo (Lucas County)

With more than 60 acres to explore, families can experience the beauty of nature while meandering through roses, perennials, vegetables and more.

The venue is enhancing its usual sights and scents with a new feature for little ones this year: The interactive Garden Discovery Trail winds past five “playable moments,” inviting children to craft poems in a “word garden,” imitate the music of cicadas or toads, and more.

Try planning a visit around a one-day camp, some of which invite the whole family to participate. Topics include urban farming and the “olden days.” Details and registration are available online.

Admission: free; parking: free

Information: 419-536-5566,


Sauder Village
22611 state Route 2, Archbold (Fulton County)

The living-history museum allows families to step back in time.

Demonstrations, exhibits and carriage rides are among the attractions that paint a picture of Ohio from 1803 to 1920.

Be sure to stop by Grime Homestead, in particular, for a taste of the short-lived fads and crazes that characterized the 1920s.

Children can sit down for a game of mah-jongg, a game of skill popular at the time, or try their hands at yo-yo tricks. (The yo-yo was introduced to the United States in the ’20s and improved upon in 1929 by Donald Duncan, whose company still makes yo-yos today.)

Admission: $11 to $17, or free for children 5 and younger; parking: free

Information: 419-446-2541,


Metroparks of the Toledo Area
14 locations in Lucas County, covering more than 12,000 acres

Middlegrounds, a 28-acre green space along the Maumee River that opened in September in downtown Toledo, awaits its first summer. Try renting a kayak there or at another park, Farnsworth in Waterville.

If you want to stay off the water, the park system offers 120 miles of trails for hiking and biking. Oak Openings, a 5,000-acre preserve in Swanton, is a popular spot for bird-watching.

Admission and parking: free

Information: 419-407-9700,


Imagination Station
1 Discovery Way, Toledo (Lucas County)

Hands-on fun awaits at the science center. A newly opened exhibit, “Dinosaurs Around the World,” features 13 full-scale dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus rex and velociraptor. Young paleontologists can try some of the techniques scientists use in the field, such as rubbing out a two-dimensional fossil imprint or uncovering fossils from shale.

Admission: $9 to $11, free for children 2 and younger; parking: lots nearby

Information: 419-244-2674,


Toledo Museum of Art
2445 Monroe St., Toledo (Lucas County)

Families can get in touch with their artistic side with a stroll through the museum. Exhibits include “Framing Fame: 19th- and 20th-century Celebrity Photography” through June 4, and “The Berlin Painter and His World,” an exhibit of ancient Athenian vase-painting by anonymous artist the Berlin Painter, July 7 through Oct. 1.

Inspired by the exhibits, children can visit the Family Center, located in the education wing of the museum, where they can make their own works of art in line with the theme of the day.

Admission: free; parking: $7

Information: 419-255-8000,


Fifth Third Field
406 Washington St., Toledo (Lucas County)

Root, root, root for the Mud Hens at their hometown field. A new series — Hensville Live! — will cap Friday and Saturday games with music and fireworks from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

And parents can sign up their little ones for Muddy & Spike’s Kids Club, where children can run the bases and snag autographs from the players at Sunday games.

Catch the Clippers there June 30 through July 3, July 13-16 and Aug. 21-24. Upcoming home series include June 5-8 vs. Indianapolis and June 16-18 vs. Durham

Admission: $12 to $15 on non-fireworks nights, $15 to 17 on fireworks nights; parking lots nearby

Information: 419-725-4367,



Northwest Ohio: Other attractions

A sampling of additional seasonal activities, compiled by Mike Pearson of The Blade.



Great Wolf Lodge

* Description: Kid-friendly activities, including face painting, pool parties and Jammie Jamboree, add to the appeal of Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky. The morning “Yoga Tails” program invites young guests to share a story using yoga positions before the indoor water park even opens for the day.

* Location: 4600 Milan Road, Sandusky (Erie County)

* Hours: indoor water park opens at 10 a.m. daily

* Admission: passes exclusive to resort guests; call or check website for details

* Parking: free

* Information: 1-800-641-9653,


Maui Sands Resort and Indoor Water Park

* Description: The park calls to mind a Hawaiian vacation. Guests can zip down slides, relax on a lazy river or splash their way through the “MakaMaka Treehouse.”

* Location: 5513 Milan Road, Sandusky (Erie County)

* Hours: indoor water park open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

* Admission: free admission for resort guests; day passes $14.99 to $24.99, free for children 3 and younger

* Parking: free

* Information: 1-855-214-4563, 419-621-7357,


The Watering Hole at Monsoon Lagoon

* Description: go-karts, bumper boats, miniature golf, arcade games and, of course, a water park, are among the attractions at Monsoon Lagoon. Try them all or just a few. New this year: Wednesday movie nights, featuring swimming, movie, pizza, popcorn and soft drinks.

* Location: 1530 S. Danbury Road, Port Clinton (Ottawa County)

* Hours: daily, indoor water park hours vary; call or visit website for details

* Admission: $35 for day pass covering all attractions

* Parking: free

* Information: 419-732-6671,



Centennial Terrace and Quarry

* Take in an outdoor concert at Sylvania’s Centennial Terrace, where promoters are bringing in national names such as Rob Zombie and Tesla this summer. You can also snag tickets to the family-oriented “Star-Spangled Celebration” on July 3 or take a swim at the quarry.

* Location: 5773 Centennial Road, Sylvania (Lucas County)

* Performances: Brothers Osborne (June 30), Rob Zombie (July 9), Get the Led Out (tribute band July 15), Eddie & the Edsels (Aug. 5), Tesla (Aug. 9), Hunter Hayes (Aug. 25)

* Hours: concert and event schedule available online; quarry swimming facility open noon to 7 p.m. daily

* Admission: ticket prices vary; quarry admission is $6, with discount memberships available online

* Parking: $5 per car for concerts

* Information: 419-885-7106,


Country Concert

* Description: Annual three-day outdoor country music festival and camping and featuring some of country music’s biggest names on three stages, boasting six jumbo screens. . Coolers and lawn chairs welcome.

* Location: Hickory Hills Lake, 7103 State Route 66, Fort Loramie (Shelby County)

* Dates: July 6-8

* Performances include: Blake Shelton, Justin Moore, Charlie Daniels Band, Jon Pardi, the Oak Ridge Boys (July 6); Jake Owen, Chase Rice, Old Dominion, Cam (July 7); Florida Georgia Line, Brett Eldredge, Montgomery Gentry, Dan + Shay, Chris Lane (July 8); check website for a complete schedule

* Parking: daytime parking available on-site for $6 and overnight for $11; camping permits/passes available as well

* Tickets: single-day, multiple day options, plus camping available; 937-295-3000,



Armstrong Air and Space Museum

* Description: The museum pays tribute to Wapakoneta’s best-known resident. Neil Armstrong and his home state’s aeronautical history are explored through interactive exhibits, simulators and more.

* Location: 500 Apollo Drive, Wapakoneta (Auglaize County)

* Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays

* Admission: $4 to $8, free for children 5 and younger

* Parking: free

* Information: 419-738-8811,



Marathon Classic

* Description: Golf fans aren’t the only ones who will enjoy the Marathon Classic, which has been played in Sylvania since 1984. An expanded “Kids Zone” this year will bring in daily activities from partners such as Imagination Station, the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium and more.

* Location: Highland Meadows Golf Club, 7455 Erie St., Sylvania (Lucas County)

* Dates: July 17-23, with hours varying daily; call or check online for details

* Admission: $15, Monday through Friday; $20 Saturday and Sunday; free for those 17 and younger with paid adult

* Parking: $5 in parking lot at intersections of Brint and Centennial roads; shuttles transport to site

* Information: 419-531-3277, 


Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

* Description: You don’t have to go out of state to experience the excitement of the Indy 500. The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is hosting the Honda Indy 200 in July. The Vintage Grand Prix will take place June 23-25; and the Mid-Ohio Challenge, of NASCAR’s Xfinity Series, follows in August.

* Location: 7721 Steam Corners Road, Lexington (Morrow County)

* Hours: event schedule available online

* Admission: ticket prices vary depending on event; free for children 12 and younger

* Parking: free

* Information: 419-884-4000, 



Toledo Zoo and Aquarium

* Description: New faces at the zoo include a koala, who’s the first to call Toledo home since 2002, and a giraffe born in April. Check out the latter, Kipenzi, at the Tower Ridge Giraffe Experience.

* Location: 2 Hippo Way, Toledo (Erie County)

* Hours: opens at 10 a.m. daily, closing hours vary

* Admission: $16 to $19free for children 2 and younger

* Parking: $7 for nonmembers, free for members

* Information: 419-385-5721,