6 Super Fun Things to do with Kids in Butler County, Ohio

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Just 90 minutes from Columbus, Butler County makes a surprisingly fun weekend trip for families! We spent Spring Break in Butler County and my kids LOVED it! What is there to do in Butler County, Ohio? Let me tell you. Here are 6 things to do with your kids that will keep the whole family entertained and having fun!

1. The WEB Extreme Entertainment

7172 Cincinnati Dayton Rd., West Chester, OH 45069

Arcade at The WEB

Full of indoor fun, The Web offers mini bowling, an arcade, indoor go carts, laser tag, glow putt, climbing wall, escape room and a full cafe and eating area. My kids had a blast at The Web! There is really something for every kid here! You can choose any combination of activities or purchase one of their Family Packages to do all of the attractions! On Mondays you can buy one attraction and get the second 50% off. Check the website for more daily specials!

Go Karts at The WEB

2. The Studio

118 Main St., Hamilton, OH 45013

Boy painting pottery at The Studio in Hamilton, OH

The Studio is the cutest paint your own pottery shop! My kids were way more into this than I expected! You can choose your own piece of pottery to paint and all paint supplies are included. There are stencils to choose from, paints with different effects and pieces to fit whatever your budget might be. Make sure to do this early in your trip so you have time for your pieces to be fired and finished before picking them up!

Boy painting pottery at The Studio in Hamilton, OH

3. EnterTRAINment Junction

7379 Squire Ct., West Chester, OH 45069

Boys at EnterTRAINment Junction

EnterTRAINment Junction is loads of fun for kids AND adults! My husband was just as much a fan of the two miles of model railroad as my kids (maybe more!). Check out the model train as it runs through the history of trains in the US, check out the model of Cincinnati’s Coney Island upstairs, play in the indoor play area that includes a small train ride, indoor climbing area and a space for toddlers and enjoy the A-Maze-N Funhouse! You can read my full blog post about EnterTRAINment Junction here.

play area at EnterTRAINment Junction

4. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum

1763 Hamilton Cleves Rd., Hamilton, OH 45013

Art Cart at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park offers a fun outdoor activity for all ages! The 300+ acre property is filled with a once private collection of sculptures and pieces of art! You can rent an Art Cart by the hour to make sure you see the more than 60 outdoor sculptures! Don’t miss the Ancient Sculpture Museum, open from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM daily. Children 5 and under are free to enter the park.

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

5. Jungle Jim’s International Market

5440 Dixie Hwy., Fairfield, OH 45014

Jungle Jim's

Whether your a foodie or not, Jungle Jim’s will entertain! With lots of interesting displays to spot within the store, kids will be entertained while you peruse aisles upon aisles of food finds from all over the world!

Jungle Jim's International Market

6. The Butler County Donut Trail

Butler County Donut Trail

You can’t go to Butler County without hitting up the Donut Trail! Butler County is home to the largest number of donut shops per capita in the Midwest! There are 12 stops on the trail and if you get your passport stamped at all of them you can earn a t-shirt! Pace yourself over your visit or make a couple trips this summer! Read Everything You Need to Know About the Butler County Donut Trail!

Butler County Donut Trail

Where to Eat:

While you’re visiting, you can’t go wrong with one of these local, family-friendly restaurants:

Bagger Dave’s

Bagger Dave's

Troy’s Cafe

Troy's Cafe

High St. CafeHigh St. Cafe

Jolly’s Drive In

Jolly's Drive In

Fratelli’s Pizzeria

Fratelli's Pizzeria

The Cone

The Cone

We had a great stay at Courtyard Hamilton! The hotel is right on the Great Miami River in Hamilton, OH! And as a complete coincidence, our hotel room was number 614!!

1 Riverfront Plaza, Hamilton, OH 45011

Courtyard Marriott

We did all of these things during a 3 night stay. Whether you stay a few nights or pick one or two of these things to make a day trip out of it, Butler County makes an easy road trip with kids for this summer!

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6 Super Fun Things to do with Kids in Butler County, Ohio

 


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Kid-Friendly Put-in-Bay: 11 Things to Do with Your Kids

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This post was written in partnership with Lake Erie Shores and Islands.

Is Put-in-Bay Kid Friendly?

I’ve received a few raised eyebrows when I say we took our kids to Put-in-Bay while on our vacation to Lake Erie in July. A lot of people think that Put-in-Bay is just a party island, but I’ll have you know that there is plenty of family-friendly fun to be had!

My husband and I have been to Put-in-Bay 3 times since we were married. Once just the two of us and twice with the kids. By trip three, experience (and some great input from Lake Erie Shores and Islands) had taught us a few things and trip three was probably the smoothest and most fun!

Getting To Put-in-Bay:

To get to Put-in-Bay, you must take a ferry from either Port Clinton or Catawba and there are two options, Miller Ferry and Jet Express.

We’re kind of partial to Miller Ferry – I don’t know, it must be the name! 😉 We’ve always taken Miller Ferry to the island probably because, besides the name, it’s also, by far, the cheapest.

Miller Boat Line Put in Bay

Taking the ferry is part of the experience, for the kids! Mine loved the boat ride and looked forward to it as part of our day! Miller Ferries run generally every half hour during the summer season. You can see the schedule here.

Getting Around Put-in-Bay:

When you get to the island you’ll probably want to take some form of transportation (besides walking) to get to downtown Put-in-Bay. Options include a taxi, golf cart, bikes or the Lime Kiln bus, which is what I would recommend if you don’t plan on driving a golf cart around all day! The bus is $2.50/person and children under 6 are free. This was also part of the fun for my kids since they don’t get to ride a school bus! You can board the bus at the top of the hill after exiting Miller Ferry. Cash only!

The Lime Kiln Bus will drop you off at The Depot in Downtown Put-in-Bay, and from there, most people travel around by foot or golf cart. Cars are allowed on the island, but golf carts, bicycles and feet are the most common methods of transportation. Downtown Put-in-Bay is full of restaurants, bars, shops and a few attractions, and, on our first two trips, this is the majority of what we saw.

Jill at Lake Erie Shores and Islands offered us passes for the Put-in-Bay Tour Train for this trip and this tour train is what made our third trip to the island the best! I cannot recommend it enough! A lot of the activities I’m going to list here are stops on the Put-in-Bay Tour Train and I will note those with an asterisk (*) next to the number.

Here are 11 things to do with the kids when you get to Put-in-Bay:

1. Put-in-Bay Tour Train

The best thing about the tour train is, maybe obviously, the transportation. You’re simply not going to be able to walk all of these places with kids, and with the tour train, you get an education along with your transportation!

We learned so much history about the island as well as what island life is like in the present day. We saw the school, the only 2 churches on the island and got a snippet into daily life as a Put-in-Bay resident. I compare this with our first two visits where we didn’t see much of the island and had no idea what other things there were to do there, and the difference is night and day.

put in bay island train

When you take the tour train, you pay for one loop. You can get off and back on at each of the 6 stops, but you can only go around once. So look at the map and make sure you don’t miss a stop because you will not be allowed to circle back around to it again. The trains run every 30 minutes so keep an eye on your watch while you’re enjoying your stop.

The Tour Train makes 6 stops including: Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center, Heinemann Winery & Crystal Cave, Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial & Visitor Center, The Doller House & Museum of Island Life, Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center and the Aquatic Vistors Center.

You can buy an Island Fun Pack which includes ferry tickets, the Tour Train, plus discounted admission to several island attractions! See all the details here.

2. DeRivera Park

DeRivera park is named for the founder of Put-in-Bay, Jose DeRivera. It’s a beautiful, shady area with lots of picnic tables and a large fountain.

Within the park is Will’s Playground which has two play structures, one for older and one for younger kids. This park is a great place to come back to throughout your day to rest and regroup. There are also public rooms and showers here.

*3. Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center

Perry’s Cave and Family Fun Center is all about family fun. Options for activities here include Perry’s Cave, Gemstone Mining, The Butterfly House at Put-in-Bay, War of 1812 Holes Miniature Golf, Gotcha Laser Tag, Fort aMAZE’n, Rock Climbing Wall, Antique Car Museum, gift shops and DanDee’s Snack Shack.

The Tour Train offers one general stop at Perry’s Cave and all of the activities are within a short walk of the drop off. I’m going to tell you about the two things we chose to do when we were here below . . .

4. Antique Car Museum

Housed in a large barn at Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center, the Antique Car Museum is free! There are rare Ford Model T’s and A’s, a popcorn truck, and other auto-related memorabilia!

5. Butterfly House

We chose to do the The Butterfly House at Put-in-Bay as our main activity at Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center. We all enjoyed the Butterfly House which was FULL of butterflies! The brochure says “hundreds of butterflies” and I believe them! Though no touching is allowed, it was not uncommon for butterflies to land on us and we were able to see them up close. In addition to walking among the butterflies, there is a large gift shop with educational gifts and lots of butterfly souvenirs.

*6. Aquatic Vistors Center

The AVC is operated by The Ohio State University in partnership with Ohio Department of Natural Resources. It was a fish hatchery that closed in 1988 and became an educational facility which includes the OSU Stone Laboratory, OSU’s island campus on Lake Erie!

If you take a walk through the center, you can learn about Ohio fishing, research projects and view the live fish in open tanks. There are some kids activities, a wall puzzle and coloring sheets. In the summer, the center hosts kids programs on Saturdays.

Kids under age 16 can go out onto the dock to fish for free! Though they didn’t catch anything and my husband nearly dropped his phone off the side, this was a highlight! 🙂

7. Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center

The Nature and Wildlife Center houses what was once a private collection of mounted wild animals, many from Alaska. In the back of the property, there is a frog pond and a nature trail that will take you in a complete circle.

8. Frosty Pizza

Frosty Pizza is an easy, family friendly stop for lunch or dinner. We got the Family Deal which included a large pizza, salad, breadsticks and 4 drinks for $30.

*9. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial

You can’t miss Perry’s Memorial from most of the island! The grounds and Visitor’s Center is open to the public but the observation deck is closed for repair in 2017.

10. PIB Candy Bar

The PIB Candy Bar is a fun stop for tons of candy options and ice cream!

11. Kimberly’s Carousel

Kimberly’s Carousel provides musical accompaniment to much of the downtown area and is lots of fun for kids and adults alike!

Are you surprised there are so many family-friendly things to see and do at Put-in-Bay? 🙂 All of these activities give you plenty of options to enjoy the island with your kids!

If you’re planning a trip to Lake Erie Shores and Islands, make sure to check out my post Exploring Ohio With Kids: Bellevue for another fun day trip in the area!

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Kid Friendly Put-in-Bay


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