10 Family Friendly Things to do at Olentangy Indian Caverns

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Olentangy Indian Caverns provides a fun day out for families! With cave tours, mini golf, a petting zoo, gem mining, a large maze and more, kids will have fun and learn something, too!

Thanks to Olentangy Indian Caverns for hosting us!

You might only think of caverns and caves when planning a visit to Olentangy Indian Caverns in Delaware, Ohio, but descending into caves is not the only thing there is to do at this family friendly destination!

Gift shop at Olentangy Indian Caverns

If you have never been to Olentangy Indian Caverns, I think you will be surprised at all there is to do. The great part about it is that it’s not a package deal – your family can pick any one of these things to do on the property to customize your day according to your time and budget!

You’ll see throughout this blog post that I have used pictures from multiple visits (wow, kids grow fast!) Here are 10 things you can do at Olentangy Indian Caverns:

1. Cavern Tour

kids going down the steps into the caverns

Obviously, the first thing you’re going to think of is the Cavern tour. The caverns are naturally made tunnels and caves that were, at one time, used by Native Americans for hiding, meetings, shelter, etc. You can do a self-guided tour of the caverns or join in on a group tour with a live guide.

kids walking through the Olentangy Indian Caverns

Our guide was great, giving us the history, telling us stories and answering all of our questions! Cavern tours are $9.95 for those 13 years old and up and $6.95 for children age 3-12. Ages 2 and under are free.

a tour guide talking at Olentangy Indian Caverns

a kid pointing to a fossil in the caves

Finding a fossil!

There are a lot of steps to go up and down and the caverns are often wet. We had to hop over and through a couple of puddles on our journey. I was glad I had chosen to wear closed toed shoes for that reason. So keep your family’s footwear in mind when planning for the trip as things may be wet and/or slippery.

two boys going down the steps into Olentangy Indian Caverns

The youngest child on our tour was just under two and she had a great time, but if you have a non-walker I would recommend an on-body baby carrier of some sort. You can’t take a stroller in and I couldn’t imagine carrying an infant car seat, but many of you might be stronger than me . . . 😉

2. Richard F. Leitch Museum at Olentangy Indian Caverns

a man and boy inside the museum at Olentangy Indian Caverns

The entrance to the caverns is housed in a small museum where you can read about the history of the caverns and some of the famous and infamous things that happened there, and see the bones of an ox that fell down to its untimely death around 1818 (or 1821, depending on the story!). There are also arrowheads and lots of other artifacts related to the caverns.

bones inside the museum

3. Treasure Hunt Maze

The Treasure Hunt Maze at Olentangy Indian Caverns

When you purchase admission to the Treasure Hunt Maze you will receive 3 tokens. Explore the maze to find 3 treasure stops! You can use the tokens to get your three treasures and then work to find your way out!

boy inside the Treasure Hunt Maze

I can promise it is way harder than it looks! Admission is $5/person. 

two boys finding the treasure inside the Treasure Hunt Maze at Olentangy Indian Caverns in Delaware, Ohio

4. Mini Golf

Mini Golf course at Olentangy Indian Caverns in Ohio

The option of mini-golf is available on the property. There are 18 holes and the cost is just $3/person.

5. Gem Mining

Two boys gem mining at Olentangy Indian Caverns

After our cavern tour, we did some gem mining! This was another first for our boys and I was honestly surprised how much they loved this! (Though when I think about it, the act of digging through dirt, stones and water to find treasure sounds exactly like their idea of a good time! 😉 ) 

a boy mining for gems at Olentangy Indian Caverns

A bag of sand/stones/gems is provided and you use a strainer of sorts and a small stream of water to sift through the sand to find gemstones! There is a range of bag sizes available and prices range from $5.99 – $9.99/bag.

kids mining for gems at Olentangy Indian Caverns

6. Petting Zoo

outside the petting zoo at Olentangy Indian Caverns

There is a rather large petting zoo area on the property at Olentangy Indian Caverns! There are goats, cows, sheep and even deer who will happily eat out of your hand! If your kids are skittish (like mine) there is a fenced in area where the kids can stand inside and feed the animals from behind the fence.

a boy feeding a goat at the petting zoo at Olentangy Indian Caverns

After some shrieks, we started out here and then eventually ventured into the large open area. My kids were scared of the cows but loved the smaller goats. 

This could definitely be unique a stand-alone activity! The cost for a wristband to enter the petting zoo is $4 and a small bag of food can be purchased for $1, a large bag for $3.

 a man feeding a goat and a cow at Olentangy Indian Caverns in Delaware Ohio

 

a father and son feeding a goat at the petting zoo at Olentangy Indian Caverns

young boy looking at a goat at Olentangy Indian Caverns petting zoo.

 

inside the petting zoo at Olentangy Indian Caverns

There is also separate area for feeding and petting deer!

kid petting a deer inside the deer petting area at Olentangy Indian Caverns

boys looking for rabbits at Olentangy Indian Caverns

There are also rabbits and chickens on the farm. They are not for petting, but still fun to spot! 

7. Playground

wooden playground area with yellow slides

The playground at Olentangy Indian Caverns is a destination in itself, especially if you ask my boys! This is the one activity they wanted to come back to again and again! I had to peel them away from the playground to do the other activities!

wooden playground structures at Olentangy Indian Caverns

The play structure is quite large and includes a couple of climbing walls, tube slides, and a really great wooden train structure!

Olentangy Indian Caverns playground with train structure

8. Picnic Area

On the grounds there is a pavilion with picnic tables and covered areas. You can bring your own food here for a picnic lunch or reserve the shelter for a group event!

pavilion for picnics at Olentangy Indian Caverns

There are also many picnic tables scattered around the property for a rest or a snack!

picnic tables on the property

9. Gift Shop at Olentangy Indian Caverns

outside view of the gift shop at Olentangy Indian Caverns

Pick up souvenirs (and all your activity tickets) at the Gift Shop! There was a surprisingly large amount of merchandise from toys and t-shirts to souvenirs and jewelry!

inside view of the gift shop at Olentangy Indian Caverns

10. Have a Birthday Party or Group Event at Olentangy Indian Caverns

You can also have a birthday party or other group event here! The shelters are available for rental and for groups of 25 or more you can receive a discount on the price of the activities. See info here!

Know Before You Go:

  • 1779 Home Rd. Delaware, OH 43015, 740-548-7917
  • The Caverns are open from April 1st – October 31st, every day from 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM.
  • Guided tours are only available June through August. You may do a self-guided tour during the other times.

Looking for more to do when you’re in Delaware, Ohio? Check out: Exploring Delaware with Your Kids!

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Ohio Caves and Caverns at Olentangy Indian Caverns in Delaware, Ohio


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Exploring Ohio with Kids: Bellevue

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Bellevue, Ohio is a fun town to explore in the Lake Erie Region! With a great indoor play area, railroad museum and tasty barbecue there are a lot of fun things to do in Bellevue!

This post has kind of been a long time coming! We did this late last summer and it seemed too late to post it, so I’m sharing it with you now as an idea for a fun road trip this summer! Bellevue, Ohio is a small Lake Erie town about 2 hours from downtown Columbus.

We spent a week at Sandusky Bay and this is how we spent one of our days. It could be done in a one day road trip or you could spend the night somewhere near Sandusky and also visit the African Wildlife Safari Park!

Here are 3 fun things to do with kids in Bellevue, Ohio:

1. Jungle Junction

110 Cherry Blvd. Bellevue, OH 44811
Phone: 419-484-5532

Jungle Junction claims to be the largest indoor play structure in Ohio. I cannot verify this, but I will take their word for it! 🙂 This play area is designed for kids ages 12 and under and you must wear socks. I forgot socks and I was able to purchase a pair at the counter.

Jungle Junction play area in Bellevue, Ohio

Jungle Junction seating area

Around the periphery of the main play area is a toddler play area with animals to climb and slide on.

Jungle Junction toddler play area

Jungle Junction toddler play area

My kids had spent a lot of time in the toddler area until they gained the courage to enter the Tree Top Play area!

Jungle Junction Tree Top Play Area Bellevue, Ohio

Inside the Tree Top Play area there are lots of climbing structures, slides, tunnels, etc. There are also air cannons that shoot plastic balls all around the area. (If your kids are sensitive to this kind of thing, they do have a Sensory Day on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM where the air cannons cannot be used.) My oldest is sensitive to noise and it took him a while to get used to the noise and have the courage to go inside!

Jungle Junction Play area in Bellevue Ohio

ball launchers inside the play area in Jungle Junction

Admission is for the day, so you can come and go with a stamp on your hand. There is no charge for parents/caregivers and the price for children (as of May, 2017) is as follows:

  • Children 1 and under: $2
  • Ages 2-12: $6
  • Twilight Special – $4 (After 5:00 PM, Monday-Thursday)

2. Bone Boy’s BBQ – Bone Boy’s BBQ is now permanently closed. 

109 W. Main St., Bellevue, OH 44811
Phone: 419-483-7447

We’ve only eaten at one restaurant in Bellevue, but I can highly recommend this one if you like BBQ and it is kid friendly! I loved to see the meat being grilled right out back of the restaurant!

Bone Boys BBQ in Bellevue, Ohio

Inside Bone Boy's BBQ and Catering

A big bonus here is that kids under 5 eat free!

Kids Menu at Bone Boy's BBQ

Yum!

Plate of food at Bone Boy's Barbecue in Bellevue, Ohio

3. Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum

253 Southwest St., Bellevue, Ohio 44811
Phone: 419-483-2222

Wow. I took a lot of pictures here! There is SO MUCH to see! If you have kids that love trains, they will be in heaven at this museum! The museum is open every day from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Memorial Day through Labor Day, and on weekends during May, September and October.

Outside of Mad River Railroad Museum in Bellevue Ohio

You buy your tickets in the gift shop – and then try to tear the kids away from the play area so you can see the actual museum! 😉

Boys playing with trains in the gift shop at Mad River and NPK Railroad Museum

Inside the Mad River and NKP Railroad Museum

This museum is very hands on! It has an indoor and an outdoor area. You can walk through train cars, climb into the cabs and see historical artifacts.

boys posing for a pictures in Engineer outfits at the Railroad Museum in Bellevue Ohio

old railroad equipment at the Mad River NKP Railroad Museum

things to do in Bellevue: See a train car at the railroad museum

inside a train car at the NKP Railroad Museum

The outdoor portion of the museum is across the street and there are many trains to climb into. Many of the trains have displays for viewing inside.

Trains in the yard at the railroad museum in Bellevue, Ohio

boy looking at a model train at the museum

boy pressing the button to make the train go at the NKP Railroad Museum

the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum outdoor area

boy walking through the outdoor portion of the train museum

boy looking out the door of the train car

Admission (as of May, 2017) is as follows:

  • $10.00 Adults
  • $9.00 Senior (60+)
  • $5.00 Children (5-12)
  • Under 5 FREE

We played at Jungle Junction in the morning, had lunch and then headed over to the Railroad Museum for the afternoon. With kids under 5 (at the time), we didn’t even have to spend that much money! It was a full day, and as you can imagine, the boys looked like this on the way back to where we were staying:

boys asleep in the car after a long day of fun in Bellevue, Ohio

We love to spend time around Lake Erie! Do you have a favorite place to visit there?

Here are some other fun things our family has done in the Lake Erie area:

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Countdown to Spring: 20 Days to Celebrate in Columbus

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Countdown to Spring in Columbus with 20 special days!

This post contains affiliate links. See our disclosure.

We’re in the final stretch until Spring! Winter is the hardest season for me to get through. I thought if we could try to find something to celebrate every day until Spring, it might make this last month go a little bit faster! If you need an excuse for a treat or to try something different, there’s a “National Day” for that! Check them out:

March 1National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day – have a gourmet PB&J or PB&J Milk Shake at Krema Nut Company. Or celebrate with our favorite local peanut butter, Crazy Richards!

March 2Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’ Birthday! – attend the Read it, Make it, Eat it – The Cat in the Hat class at PARTY Like it’s Your Birthday! My kids’ favorite Dr. Seuss book is The Foot Book! We’ll have to get it out for a special read!

March 3

March 4 – this is the beginning of Return Borrowed Books Week (March 4-10). Time to head to the library and return those overdue books. (Or is that just me?) Here are some great libraries to try out:

 

 

 

March 5National Cheese Doodle Day – the inventor of the cheese doodle eventually sold his company to Borden who later relocated to Columbus (and has since closed). In his honor, eat a bag of cheese doodles!

March 6National Frozen Food Day – take it easy tonight and make a frozen pizza for dinner! Try Outsiders Pizza, a new frozen pizza brand that launched here in Columbus in December!

March 7National Pancake Day – On Tuesday, March 7th from 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM (some locations offering extended hours until 10:00 PM) you can celebrate National Pancake Day® at IHOP® and get a FREE short stack of Original Buttermilk Pancakes!

March 8National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day – get some inspiration and encouragement from local blogger, Sally at Real Mom Nutrition!

International Women’s Day

March 9National Meatball Day – add a meatball to your pasta for $2 on Warehouse Wednesday at Spaghetti Warehouse!

National Day of Unplugging – take a break from technology and play at one of these free indoor play areas!

March 10National Pack Your Lunch Day – order your kids’  lunches from Eat Pakd, available for delivery here in Columbus, and you’ll never have to chop, slice or portion out again!

National Procrastination Week – March 4-10, 2018 (First full week of March)

March 11National Johnny Appleseed Day – read the book A is for Appleseed, published by the Johnny Appleseed Museum, which is in Urbana, OH. Plan a visit when the museum is open on Tuesdays and Fridays! (Johnny Appleseed Day is also celebrated on Sept. 26, so take your pick! 😉 )

March 12National Girl Scout Day – celebrate by buying a box of Girl Scout Cookies – which are only available through March 26th! According to the Girl Scout website, it looks like you can buy them today at the Brewery District Kroger!

March 13National Napping Day – it’s the day after daylight savings, this one needs no explanation!

March 14National Learn about Butterflies Day – visit the Blooms and Butterflies Exhibit at Franklin Park Conservatory!

National Wildlife Week – March 14-18, 2018

March 15National Kick Butts Day – this day is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Here is a list of activities you can do to raise awareness about the effects of tobacco with your kids.

March 16National Artichoke Hearts Day – in my “research” for this post, I ran across this article about how to prepare artichokes 3 ways from Columbus Food Adventures!  And I didn’t think I was going to find anything related to Columbus for this one! 😉

March 17National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day – take a trip to German Village for a huge sandwich at Katzinger’s Delicatessen or check out their new(ish) location in North Market!

March 18National Sloppy Joe Day – make these Loaded Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes from Columbus blogger, Courtney at NeighborFood!

March 19National Chocolate Caramel Day – try the salted caramels at Winan’s Fine Chocolates!

March 20Spring Begins! Plus it’s International Day of Happiness – how can you argue with that?!

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ICYMI: 10 Life Hacks for Columbus Parents

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