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5 Fun Things to do with Kids in Bellefontaine, Ohio

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Just one hour from downtown Columbus, Bellefontaine, Ohio provides a fun, family-friendly way to spend the day!

Thanks to Logan County Visitors Bureau for partnering with us on this post.

I love discovering new (to me) towns that are easy day trips from Columbus! I am always happy to end up pleasantly surprised by the places we find within an hour’s drive! One of those happy discoveries happened this fall when we were invited by the Logan County Visitor’s Bureau to visit Bellefontaine, Ohio – just a tad less than an hour from downtown Columbus!

Downtown Bellefontaine, Ohio

My family spent the day exploring the area including mini golf, pizza, and, of course, coffee! 😉 Plus we found one of the most adorable and inspiring toy stores I have ever been in! Set aside a day for a trip from Columbus to Bellefontaine and enjoy what this cute town has to offer!

buildings in downtown Bellefontaine, Ohio

child in downtown Bellefontaine, Ohio

5 Family Friendly Things to do in Bellefontaine, Ohio:

1. Logan County History Center

  • 521 E Columbus Avenue, Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311, 937-593-7557

Our first stop in Bellefontaine was the Logan County History Center. Housed in an impressive mansion, the museum was filled with a surprising amount of displays and things to see!

Logan County Museum in Bellefontaine, Ohio

Honda opened in Marysville in 1979 and opened another plant in Logan County in 1997. The Logan County History Center, in conjunction with Honda, celebrated 40 years of Honda with an ongoing display of cars, car parts and history. The display includes donations from the International Friendship Center, an organization created to support families moving to Ohio from other countries to work with Honda. The display includes many Japanese items.

Transportation Museum in Bellefontaine, Ohio

The Logan County Transportation Museum was added in 2014 and includes examples of transportation throughout history from Conestoga to railroads to planes. My kids enjoyed seeing the many vehicles on display!

plane on display in the Transportation Museum in Bellefontaine, Ohio

The museum is filled with rooms that rotate displays. Some of the displays we enjoyed were communication devices through the years, the civil war and old toys! (And by old I mean the 80’s and 90’s haha). There really is a lot to see here! It would be a definite stop for kids who love vehicles!

child inside the Logan County History Center


2. The Fun Company

  • 136 S Main St., Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311, 937-599-2993 

Inside The Fun Company toy store in Bellefontaine, Ohio

I’m still thinking about how magical this toy store is. What an amazing hidden gem just outside of Columbus! I loved how The Fun Company had little nooks and crannies for playing and reading. 

two boys inside The Fun Company in Bellefontaine, Ohio

Toys were out on display for kids to test out. The colors and decor in the store made it absolutely dreamy. Can I move in? My kids loved it, I loved it, it was a highlight of the trip for sure!

reading area inside The Fun Company in Bellefontaine, Ohio

Books for sale at The Fun Company in Bellefontaine, Ohio


3. Six Hundred Downtown

  • 108 S Main St Bellefontaine, OH 43311, 937-599-6600 

Six Hundred Downtown, pizza restaurant in Bellefontaine, Ohio

We stopped for lunch at the restaurant Six Hundred Downtown. The restaurant is owned by Brittany Saxton who is a 5 time World Pizza Champion. I can’t say for sure what that is, but it sounds like major #goals! She has also competed on Guys Grocery Games on the Food Network!

pizza at six hundred downtown in Bellefontaine, Ohio

The name Six Hundred comes from the temperature at which you bake pizzas – 600 degrees. The atmosphere in the restaurant is classic and comforting. It was great for kids and it would also be great for a date night!

boy playing with dough at Six Hundred Downtown in Bellefontaine, Ohio

We had garlic knots as an appetizer and a pizza for our main course. The pizza was VERY good.  The restaurant offers a kid’s menu and some of the meals do include a drink. All kids meals are $4.50. The best part for my kids is that they bring pizza dough to the table for kids to play with while they wait!


4. Putt & Play Golf Center

  • 209 W Columbus Ave., Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311, 937-404-1330 

boys playing mini golf at Putt and Play in Bellefontaine, Ohio

In downtown Bellefontaine you will find a fun indoor activity center called Putt & Play Golf Center. Inside they have a golf simulator, a mini golf course, laser tag and a virtual reality booth. We chose to play a round of putt putt golf! Indoor mini golf courses are somewhat hard to find so this was a lot of fun on a cold day!

boy and dad playing mini golf in Bellefontaine, Ohio

This course was unique because of its train theme! The course was fun and not too challenging for the kids. My kids are still young enough to get frustrated by really complex mini golf courses, but this one was just right! 

trained theme mini golf at Putt and Play in Bellefontaine, Ohio

train themed mini golf at Putt and Play in Bellefontaine, Ohio

If you’re in the Northwest area of Columbus this might even work for a unique birthday party idea – especially if you’re having a train-themed party! There is a party room and Birthday Party Packages start at $12.99/person.


5. Sweet Aromas

  • 120 Court Ave., Bellefontaine, OH, 937-599-CAFE

kids at Sweet Aromas Coffee shop in downtown Bellefontaine, Ohio

We stumbled upon Sweet Aromas after we came out of the toy store! My husband and I got an afternoon pick-me-up in the form of caffeine! I’m always thrilled to find local coffee shops when we visit new cities. This one  had a large seating area, cute decor and fun gift items for sale! 

merchandise for sale at Sweet Aromas coffee shop in downtown Bellefontaine, ohio

Sweet Aromas, Six Hundred Downtown, Putt & Play and The Fun Company are all within walking distance in downtown Bellefontaine so any of these stops  would be great paired together!


6. Marie’s Candies

  • 311 Zanesfield Rd., West Liberty, OH 43357, 937-465-3061

Marie's Candies in West Liberty, Ohio

I’ve added a bonus stop to the list! It’s a bonus because it’s not in Bellefontaine so it requires and extra 10-15 minutes of driving to West Liberty, but it’s worth it! There are a lot of fun and unique candy items for sale here and everyone who comes into the store gets a free sample. They even let us sample other candies that were for sale behind the counter before we made our decisions!

inside Marie's Candies in West Liberty, Ohio

We picked up a Christmas gift, jelly beans for the boys and I got the most amazing maple cream candies! I’m thinking I need to drive back for some more ASAP!


Bottom line: Just an hour from Columbus, a day trip to Bellefontaine, Ohio with your kids will be filled with surprising finds, yummy treats and lots to explore! Put this one on your list!

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5 Fun Things to do with Kids in Bellefontaine, Ohio, Family Friendly Things to do in Bellefontaine, Ohio, Road Trip from Columbus, Ohio

 


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3 Fun Things to do with Kids in Yellow Springs, Ohio

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Just 45 minutes from Columbus, Yellow Springs, Ohio makes the perfect day trip with your family! There’s a little bit of something for everyone in the family: from food and shopping to animals and nature!

Yellow Springs gets a lot of attention every fall – and for good reason! In early September, the Tecumseh Land Trust blooms with sunflowers and our Instagram feeds bloom with pics! Pumpkins become available at Young’s Jersey Dairy and cooler weather brings hikers out of the woodwork to the local parks.

downtown Yellow Springs

It’s easy to spend a day or two with your family in Yellow Springs. My family spent nearly an entire day at Young’s Jersey Dairy alone! So pick one or all of these things and plan your time accordingly! You’ll get a breath of fresh air in Yellow Springs!

3 Fun Things to do with Your Kids in Yellow Springs, Ohio:

1. Young’s Jersey Dairy

  • 6880 Springfield-Xenia Rd., Yellow Springs, OH 45387

boy feeding goats at Young's Jersey Dairy

We were invited to visit Young’s Jersey Dairy this year and had a blast doing All. The. Activities! It would be easy to spend an entire day at Young’s Jersey Dairy but the great thing is that you can pick and choose your activities based on the time you have available! At the very least, stop in for an ice cream cone!

Ice cream at Young's Dairy

A lot of farm-related activities are only available during the fall, but Young’s Jersey Dairy is open in some shape or form throughout the whole year. Check the listing of hours for outdoor activities. Special events are scheduled throughout the year!

activities at Young's Jersey Dairy

Activities available include batting cages, a fast slide, Cowvin’s Kiddie Corral, Moovers and Shakers barrel ride, two beautiful mini golf courses, a petting zoo, and pick your own pumpkins (in September and October).

boys playing mini golf at Young's Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs Ohio

Young’s is a working dairy farm and the ice cream and cheese are made at the farm. There are two restaurants at the farm, The Golden Jersey Inn and The Dairy Store. The Golden Jersey Inn features home-style country meals with full table service. The Dairy Store offers sandwiches, bakery items and ice cream! Don’t miss the famous fried cheese curds! We loved the Italian-seasoned curds!

fried cheese curds at Young's Jersey Dairy

Activities can be purchased separately or you can purchase a Family Fun Pass with either 3 or 5 tabs allowing each member of your family to choose which activities they would like to do!

2. Downtown Yellow Springs

downtown Yellow Springs, Ohio

Yellow Springs is Ohio’s own “hippy town” – I don’t know if that’s official or if I’m just making up that designation, but you’ll find a lot of alternative and off-the-beaten path shopping and dining. When we visited recently, the downtown was overtaken by a protesters speaking out for animal rights.

boy standing against mural in Yellow Springs, Ohio

The age of your kids will probably determine how much exploring of the downtown area you are able to do! Yellow Springs has a small downtown area so it’s easy to walk the whole thing, even with kids or a stroller. Parking can be tricky so don’t be afraid to explore some of the side streets for parking.

Here are some of the highlights of our day in downtown Yellow Springs:

Super Fly Comics and Games

comic book store in Yellow Springs, Ohio

This was a fun shop for my boys! Lots to look at in terms of books, comic books, games, characters and toys!

Little Fairy Garden

little fairy garden shop in Yellow Springs, Ohio

This was a really cool store dedicated totally to building your own fairy garden. There is a super sweet room for parties and events!

Yellow Springs Toy Company

Yellow Springs Toy Company

Two rooms packed full of toys, games and books kept my kids entertained! Lots of unique toy and gift items here!

Urban Handmade

Yellow Springs Ohio

My husband and I enjoyed this store full of unique items made by local artists. 

The Corner Cone

The Cone Corner in Yellow Springs, Ohio

Is this even my blog if I don’t include somewhere we ate ice cream? The Corner Cone is a great walk up spot for ice cream and treats. One of the great things about it is the large patio/courtyard they have for seating! There is no indoor seating but the outdoor seating is plentiful!

Peach’s Grill

I offer this spot for meals with a little hesitation. It’s kid-friendly in terms of the atmosphere – it’s large inside, loud, and full of TV’s. But it’s more of a bar, so if that’s not your scene, then please read this as my disclaimer!

Sandwich from Peach's Grill in Yellow Springs, Ohio

There are just a few restaurants downtown. Haha Pizza next door smelled amazing but had a super long wait (even though it was 2:00 PM) so we went with Peach’s. We’ve also had brunch at Sunrise Cafe with a baby in tow several years ago. That is a nice option, too. Be prepared for a wait at most restaurants here on the weekends!

3. Glen Helen Nature Preserve

  • 405 Corry St., Yellow Springs, OH 45387

boy hiking in Glen Helen Nature Preserve, Yellow Springs, Ohio

Glen Helen Nature Preserve is a nonprofit organization associated with Antioch College. There are several things to do and see within the preserve and there a few main trails to hike! We happened to visit on a relatively cool day and had a good time hiking in the park! Glen Helen is not a state park, therefore there is a $5 charge to park at the Corry St. entrance if you are planning to hike.

Things to do within Glen Helen Nature Preserve:

Raptor Center

birds at Glen Helen Raptor Center

The Raptor Center was our first stop within the park! The center rehabilitates raptors (birds of prey not dinosaurs 😉 ) with the goal of releasing them into the wild. The center offers educational programs throughout the year and you can park at the center and walk the grounds to visit the birds that are housed there.

One note: you cannot park at the Raptor Center and proceed to hike in the park. To hike, you’ll need to park at the main entrance at 405 Corry St.

Trailside Museum

boy at the Trailside Museum at Glen Helen in Yellow Springs

The Trailside Museum has hands-on activities, displays and exhibits to help kids learn about nature and what to expect within the Nature Preserve. Public programs are offered there and you can pick up a map for the park! The museum is accessible through the main entrance on Corry St.

Vernet Ecological Center

Nature Shop at Glen Helen Nature Preserve

The Trailside Museum has a Nature Shop, restrooms and an auditorium. Nature-themed books, gifts and toys are available within the shop. This Center is accessible through the main entrance on Corry St.

Hiking

Hiking Path at Glen Helen Nature Reserve

We entered our hike at the main entrance and took the Inman Trail (which is pink on the map). Your hike here begins as a descent into the preserve. In this case, what goes down must eventually come up. Our goal was to hike to The Cascades and we made it without issue or complaint from the kids.

Pay close attention to the subtle turns and corners on the map. My only complaint is that there are no trail markers on the path. Even though the trails are named and intersections are numbered on the map, there are no signs or numbers within the park so you have to pay close attention to where you are on the map!

Boys at The Cascades at Glen Helen Nature Preserve, Yellow Springs

The Cascades made a nice turn around point for us, though there are many other points of interest within Glen Helen if you want to spend more time hiking!

Bonus: Tecumseh Land Trust

  • 4633 US-68, Yellow Springs, OH 45387

Sunflowers at Tecumseh Land Trust

I’m not including the Tecumseh Land Trust as a full blown item on the list because the sunflowers only bloom for about 2 weeks out of the year! The sunflowers typically bloom around the first week of September!

Boys in sunflowers at Tecumseh Land Trust

We visited Young’s Dairy and drove 1 mile down the road to check the field and there were no flowers in bloom. Exactly 3 weeks later we drove down to spend the day in Yellow Springs and the flowers were already dying. So we missed the peak but still managed a few fun photos!

What are your favorite things to do in Yellow Springs? Do you have a favorite restaurant that’s kid friendly?

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Exploring Ohio with Kids: Lakeside

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If you’re looking for a slow-paced and peaceful family vacation on the lake, make plans to visit Lakeside, Ohio, a perfectly picturesque town on Lake Erie where there is a little something for everyone in the family! 

Thanks to Lakeside Chautauqua for sponsoring this post.

How to Plan a Kid Friendly Trip to Lakeside, Ohio:

Boats lined up at Lakeside Ohio

When we were invited to visit Lakeside Chautauqua, I really had no idea what to expect. My family has vacationed several times on Lake Erie and we had driven by the entrance to Lakeside many times, but other than knowing that it cost money to get in, the rest of the details remained a mystery.

We met our Lakeside contact, Lizzie, at the entrance and she drove my family on a tour of the town on a golf cart. I have to admit I was shocked!! Lakeside was not at all what I had expected (for some reason I pictured a simple campground) and it blew away my expectations!

bikes parked in Lakeside, Ohio

As we drove through the quaint town filled with golf carts and kids on bicycles, I felt like we were at the seaside in New England. I felt like we were on the coast of California. I felt like we had stepped back in time to Mayberry. By the time our 48 hours in Lakeside ended, we were IN LOVE!

Where is Lakeside?

the shoreline in Lakeside, Ohio

You may hear Lakeside be referred to by a few names: Lakeside Chautauqua and Lakeside Marblehead being the two most frequent. Lakeside is located on the north side of the Marblehead Peninsula, not far from the Marblehead Lighthouse and the ferry to Put-In-Bay.

What is a Chautauqua?

A Chautauqua is a community that “provides spiritual, cultural, intellectual and recreational programs designed to nurture the mind, body and spirit.” Lakeside was originally formed by the Methodist Church in 1863, a pioneer of the Chautauqua Movement.

Lakeside continues to hold a robust schedule of speakers, services, performances and entertainment with spiritual and educational themes, though you do not need to be of a particular religion or denomination in order to visit and attendance at any of these events is 100% optional.

What is there to do at Lakeside?

Here’s where the fun begins! The fun at Lakeside doesn’t involve neon lights, beeping or flashing lights. It’s simple, classic. It’s the perfect place to take your kids to enjoy some “good old-fashioned fun” as they say. Here are some of the ways to play at Lakeside:

1. Miniature Golf

boy playing mini golf in lakeside ohio

Enjoy 18 holes of Mini Golf for just $3.50/person. Kids 5 and under are free. The course is shaded and the views from the green are stunning. 

2. Lakeside Beach

Lakeside beach in Ohio

The beach at Lakeside is small, but you can play (or lay) in the sand and swim in the lake and there are lifeguards on duty.

3. Kids Pool and Splash Pad

boys in kiddie pool at Lakeside Ohio

If the beach isn’t your kids’ thing – check out the kids pool and splash pad nearby! My kids loved this pool and could have floated around in it forever if we didn’t have dinner reservations!

boys playing in splash pad in Lakeside Ohio

4. Playgrounds

supervised playground at Lakeside Ohio

There are a couple of playground areas within Lakeside! There are 3 open playgrounds and the Grindley Playground which is a supervised playground. Yes, you read that right. You can check your kids (ages 4-7) in at this fenced in playground while you enjoy some kid-free time!

boys in sandbox at lakeside ohio

The large sandbox at Grindley Playground was a definite hit with my boys!

5. The Grindley Aquatic Wellness Campus Pool

pool at Lakeside, Ohio

This pool and wellness center is a recent addition to Lakeside. Exercise machines and classes are offered at the Wellness Center and the pool is amazing! With a zero entry and fountains at one end and twisty water slides at the other, this pool can be enjoyed by all. The pool does not get any deeper than 3.5 feet, which makes it pretty family-friendly.

boys standing next to pool at lakeside ohio

There are showers, changing rooms and lots of seating at this pool, but snacks are not sold. Make sure to bring your own if your kids are like mine and need a snack every 3.5 seconds.

6. Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile 

boy walking ohio's most beautiful mile, Lakeside

This was probably my favorite thing we did at Lakeside. When walking this shoreline path I could not help but think that Ohio is just severely underrated. I felt like I was plucked up and dropped down into a vacation paradise. It’s hard to be anything but happy in this environment!

ohio's most beautiful mile, Lakeside

7. Sports Activities 

boys playing basketball in Lakeside, Ohio

Throughout Lakeside you will find sand volleyball courts, basketball courts (they even had a hoop at kid level!), tennis courts and shuffleboard, just to name a few. Shuffleboard is apparently huge at Lakeside! Who knew?!

shuffleboard courts at Lakeside, Ohio

8. Ottawa County’s Only Movie Theater

Ottawa County's only movie theater

Orchestra Hall is the only movie theater in the whole county! Movies are shown twice a day during the summer and do require an additional ticket fee. Check the link for movies and times.

9. Shopping

lakeside ohio business district

The Business District is home to several cute shops and restaurants (more on restaurants later). We didn’t have time for a lot of shopping but there are a handful of cute shops where you can pick up your latest souvenir or hand crafted gift. We did make stop in The Fine Print, an adorable book store on Walnut Ave.

the fine print bookstore at Lakeside Ohio

Downtown is also home to the Lakeside Farmer’s Market which takes place from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM on Tuesday and Friday.

10. Walk the Dock

boys on the dock at Lakeside, Ohio

The dock is home to several of the aforementioned activists: the beach and the kids pool and splash pad, but it’s also a great spot to watch the sunset or take a walk! We made it just in time for the sunset!

boy watching the sun set at lakeside Ohio

Are there restaurants at Lakeside?

Yes! There are 8 brick and mortar restaurants to satisfy your cravings! At least 3 of those serve ice cream, so my family was in heaven! 

1. Bluebird Cafe

lakeside ohio bluebird cafe

A whole-foods cafe with smoothies. Also a great option for taking food to-go!

2. Hotel Lakeside Dining Room and Cafe

food at Hotel Lakeside

Probably the most “fancy” option in Lakeside, though I still wore shorts and a tank top. Great views from the dining room and the porch is awesome!

3. Lago Coastal Cafe

Total California vibes going on at the newest dining location in Lakeside. The fries are amazing and make sure to try one of the Lago Fizz specialty drinks!

boy holding up french fry at Lago Coastal Cafe in Lakeside, Ohio

4. Coffee & Cream

Coffee and Cream restaurant at Lakeside, Ohio

Get your caffeine fix here – as well as hand dipped ice cream and soft serve!

ice cream cone from Coffee and Cream, Lakeside Ohio

5. Ooh La La! Fine Food – Fine Art

sandwich at ooh la la fine food and fine art in Lakeside Ohio

This is a great lunch spot – go for the box option (for adults and kids) which includes chips, a cookie and a drink!

6. Sloopy’s Sports Cafe

boy eating pizza at Sloopy's Cafe in Lakeside, Ohio

Fellow Buckeyes will appreciate this OSU themed restaurant with a huge menu. We loved the pizza!

7. The Patio Restaurant

powdered donut from The Patio in Lakeside, Ohio

I got lots of messages on Instagram telling me to get the donuts from The Patio! Done. And yum. They also serve ice cream and food!

8. Whistle Stop Ice Cream

Whistle Stop is another ice cream option that also serves gourmet popcorn!

What kind of entertainment is scheduled at Lakeside?

Lakeside Chautauqua hosts an impressive list of nationally renowned speakers and performers! The night we left, comedian Brian Regan was performing and we were super bummed to miss him! These performances, held at Hoover Auditorium, are included in your Day Pass cost – which is a steal for most of the performances! Other well-known 2019 performers included Amy Grant, Wynonna, Three Dog Night, OSU Alumni Band and many more! Check out the list of upcoming entertainers.

Each summer there is also a Lecture Series, running from mid June through the end of August. Each week there is a new theme. 2019 themes included: “Guns, Kids and the Media,” “The Legacy of F. Scott Fitzgerald,” “Seeking Peace in a Multi-Faith World” and more. Lectures can be attended every day at 10:30 AM  Check out the current Lecture Series.

gazebo at Lakeside, Ohio

In addition to larger known acts you can enjoy performances from the Lakeside Symphony Orchestra, classes for all ages in music, art, nature, history and science, story times, movies and so much more! There is so much to take advantage of – it’s nearly impossible to list here! Make sure to check the Lakeside Programs web page before planning your visit!

Where can I stay at Lakeside?

front porch at Hotel Lakeside

The porch at Hotel Lakeside

Lakeside is home to two hotels: Hotel Lakeside and The Fountain Inn. My family was hosted at The Fountain Inn. Beyond hotels, there are private cottages for rent, inns, bed and breakfasts, and a campground. Take a look at the various accommodation options at Lakeside here. It should also be mentioned that you don’t need to spend the night to visit Lakeside, but you will still need to purchase a Day Pass.

The Fountain Inn at Lakeside, Ohio

hotel room at The Fountain Inn, Lakeside, Ohio

The Fountain Inn

How much does it cost to enter Lakeside?

golf carts and flowers at lakeside, Ohio

A Chautauqua Pass is required to enter the Lakeside community. A daily pass, which is valid from the time of purchase until 7:00 PM the next day, will give you access to the town, the pool and all evening shows at the Hoover Auditorium. There is an additional pass needed to park your car in one of the parking lots or to take your car into Lakeside.

A Daily Chautauqua Pass costs:

  • $24.50 for adults.
  • $16.25 for youth ages 13-24
  • Free for kids 12 and under and adults 90 and over!

Passes can be purchased online but make sure to allow up to 14 days for your pass to arrive in the mail. Alternatively, you can choose to have your pass held at Will Call or you can buy your pass when you arrive. (Friday and Saturday passes cost $30 if purchased the day of. Save money by buying them ahead of time or as part of a weekly pass.)

Lake Erie shoreline in Lakeside, Ohio

I can’t recommend this family-friendly getaway enough! We had a blast and we can’t wait to go back! My oldest son has even decided he wants to live at Lakeside! 😉 

Looking for more family-friendly Lake Erie Vacation Ideas? Try these:

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Exploring Ohio with Kids: Lakeside


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