Ohio Spring Break on a Budget
For families sticking around Ohio this spring break, you have dozens of options to keep the family busy and remain budget-conscious at the same time. In fact, you can easily to combine a few of my staycation ideas for a week of diverse fun.
You can spend part of your spring break at a Morning Coffee and Wildlife Watch, on a Nature Bike Ride or exploring Swamp Things in one of the many scheduled MetroParks programs. Ohio is rich in MetroParks systems that offer hiking and bike trails as well as guided naturalist programs. Central Ohio MetroParks in Columbus, Cleveland MetroParks, MetroParks of Toledo and Five Rivers MetroParks in Dayton are just a few of the Metroparks systems that offer ongoing courses and activities as well as self-guided opportunities. These are great resources for staycation adventures and most programs are free.
Cincinnati Museum Center
The Cincinnati Museum Center is an impressive complex of museums that feature everything from earth sciences to history and archaeology. The center offers changing exhibits as well as mainstays that cater to every age group. You might even book an overnight to enjoy several days at the museum and explore what Cincinnati has to offer.
Search for hidden treasure as you set out on a Geocaching adventure with your family. Ohio has an impressive network of geocaches all around the state. You can stay in one area or hit a new area each day to see who finds the most geocaches. It is easy to get started at Geocaching.com where you can register and find the coordinates for geocaches throughout the state.
Ohio Bird Sanctuary
Explore more than 90 acres of trails at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary in Mansfield. On the grounds you can enjoy live bird displays, walk through a songbird aviary and see how birds are rehabilitated in the bird care clinic. Admission is free.
Cherry Valley Lodge
Still itching for the beach? Not to worry, Cherry Valley Lodge in Newark invites you to Coco Key Water Resort. You can enjoy indoor water fun in their 50,000-square-foot aquatic playground. The best part is, you can purchase walk-in day passes from $19 - $25.
Paintball or Laser Tag
How about a family laser-tag challenge? There are so many laser tag facilities in Ohio that it is easy to challenge another family to a fun and active battle.
Become a junior ranger
The National Park Service gives kids a chance to become a Junior Ranger and help spread the word about protecting some of our best natural resources. By completing a few activities, your kids receive a badge to become an official junior ranger. You can also start a passport book to encourage visiting other national parks (Passport to National Parks). Most National Parks offer the program. Just stop by a Ranger Station for more information.
Malabar Farm is one of the most unique Ohio State Parks due to the history and number of activities available throughout the year. Located in Pleasant Valley, Malabar Farm still raises chickens, goats and beef cattle. There are interactive family activities almost every weekend including the Maple Syrup Festival which takes place several weekends in March.
Take a tour
There are literally hundreds of free factory tours throughout the state and probably a few in your own back yard. Factory tours are fun for the family as you see behind the scenes of manufacturing for everything from ice cream to whistles. A few of my favorite tours include the American Whistle Corporation in Columbus, the Guggisberg Cheese Factory in Millersburg and Harry London Chocolates in North Canton.