January 2008 Issue
Lively indoor and outdoor destinations can brighten this cold, dark season.
There are two kinds of Ohioans — those who embrace the state’s cold, unpredictable winters and those who spend the season in hibernation, longing for spring. Fortunately, Ohio and neighboring states are home to many winter-weather getaways, suitable both for snow-lovers and those who prefer indoor amusements. From museums that stimulate the mind, to ski resorts, to indoor waterparks, we present a sampling of cures, guaranteed to bring out your inner adventurer.
Mini-vacations for the Family
Museums offer families the perfect combination of shelter, distraction, beauty and education for the cold winter months. Add the following museums to your list of rainy (or snowy) day activities.
Looking for a getaway that is close to home, relaxing and affordable? Look no further than Historic Sauder Village and the Sauder Heritage Inn. Instead of rushing around, put your feet up by the fire and bring generations of family together to enjoy a weekend at this cozy, comfortable retreat.
Sauder Village recreates rural American life in the 19th and early-20th centuries through family-friendly activities and demonstrations. Adjacent to the village, a recently renovated Sauder Heritage Inn provides an enjoyable, inclusive stay, with a new pool and waterfall, as well as a hot tub.
Kids will enjoy the game room, where they can play air hockey or ping pong, among other games. And guests of all ages will love the Great Oak Tree, a 35-foot indoor tree replica that serves as the centerpiece for the resort.
Try the fresh cinnamon rolls made in the local bakery, which are part of the inn’s daily deluxe breakfast. Get in touch with history by strolling the local quilt and candy shops, or visiting the Sauder Museum, which details centuries of Americana.
Each year, 200,000 guests enjoy the comfort food of the Barn Restaurant, the local favorite that’s within walking distance of the Inn. Regardless of how you spend your time, Sauder Village is sure to be the perfect blend of soothing relaxation and historical education that your family has been craving this winter.
22611 St. Rte. 2, Archbold, 419/ 445-9709. www.saudervillage.org
. The village exhibits are closed for winter, but the Inn is open year-round.
Columbus Museum of Art
The Columbus Museum of Art is known for its first-rate collection of late 19th- and early-20th-century American and European modern art, along with a comprehensive regional collection. But did you know that it’s a great place to take youngsters in the winter months? The museum offers an escape from the outdoors and programming that will bring out the inner artist in any child.
Wednesdays from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., the museum hosts WOW Art!, a class for families with kids ages 4 and 5 that allows them to explore art together through play, movement, music, gallery games and art-making. Registration is required; cost is $20 a month for members and $30 a month for nonmembers.
Saturday mornings, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the museum hosts 1st Saturdays for families with children ages 3–8. This drop-in program celebrates an artist, current exhibition or art concept and includes a hands-on art project, game or performance. No registration is required and 1st Saturdays are free with museum admission.
If your child is 6 or older, stick around on Saturday afternoons (from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.) for Doodles, another drop-in program that takes families on tours through the museum and culminates with art projects in the Nationwide Studio. This month, the project will be colorful Shrinky-Dink magnets inspired by glass artist Dale Chihuly. No registration is required and Doodles is free with museum admission.
480 E. Broad St., Columbus, 614/221-6801. www.columbusmuseum.org
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Sports fans will love the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, an 80,000-square-foot salute to America’s gridiron tradition. The Hall of Fame celebrates the past and present glory of American football, from its earliest legends to those making history today.
Displays, complete with football memorabilia, chronicle the last century of the game and lead into “Pro Football Today,” a look at recent record-breakers and football greats.
Football fans of all ages will enjoy the Gameday Stadium Theater, a widescreen rotating theater experience that places viewers right alongside players, following them from training camp all the way to the Super Bowl.
Think you’re good enough for the NFL? Find out in the Interactive Exhibit Area, with multimedia games and challenges that test whether you can keep up with the pros.
Finally, don’t forget about the Hall of Fame Gallery, where inductees are honored with bronze statues. Guests can see photos and videos of the players with new interactive touch-screen technology in the gallery.
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
This year, more than 1 million people will visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, the world’s largest military aviation museum.
With more than 400 aerospace vehicles and thousands of historical Air Force items, visitors can easily spend hours immersed in military history. See the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki during World War II, or John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One.
For kids, dioramas and exhibits stress the historical significance of each aircraft or item, and no kid can resist seeing an F-117 Stealth Fighter or B-2 Stealth Bomber up close.
The Air Force Museum is also Ohio’s largest free tourist attraction, spanning more than 17 acres at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Every third Saturday of the month, the museum hosts Family Day, an opportunity for kids to learn through hands-on activities.
Embracing the Snow
Do you crave being outdoors, no matter what the temperature? Ohio and its neighboring states offer no shortage of outdoor adventures, along with intriguing places to take a break from the cold.
Winter is a busy, fun-filled time in Butler County in southwest Ohio, with destination shopping and ice activities galore.
Take advantage of the state-of-the-art Goggin Ice Center (www.ice.muohio.edu
), a $34.8 million facility that is home to the No. 1 ranked Miami University men’s hockey team. Goggin offers lessons and family ice-skating.
If you’d rather marvel at the beauty of ice rather than skate on it, you won’t want to miss Hamilton’s sixth IceFest (www.icefest.org
), Feb. 1–2 at the Butler County Courthouse Square. The theme is “Animal Kingdom in Ice,” and visitors can view ice sculptures of all sizes under technicolor lights. There will be ice-carving competitions, demonstrations and more than 200 blocks (40 tons) of ice on display. IceFest is a free, family-oriented celebration.
For the foodie in the family, a trip to Jungle Jim’s International Market (www.junglejims.com
) is in order. Located in Fairfield, Jungle Jim’s features six acres of food, including groceries from more than 72 countries, exotic spices, 1,000 hot sauces, 1,600 cheeses, 1 1/2 acres of fresh produce and more under one roof. Singing characters and theatrical décor will entertain the kids while parents indulge their culinary cravings.
Finally, the much-anticipated opening of Ohio’s first IKEA store takes place in March, in West Chester. The store will feature 344,000 square feet of contemporary home furnishing items, room settings, model homes, a supervised children’s play area, a restaurant that serves Swedish specialties and more.
West Virginia Snow Trails
Sometimes it’s nice to cross the state border to West Virginia for a change of scenery. If you venture to the Mountain State this winter, you will not be disappointed by the outdoor adventures that beckon visitors. Situated in the Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia is a great ski destination. A number of resorts offer thrills in the form of downhill skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, cross-country skiing and airboarding.
From bunny hills to double black diamond slopes, the downhill skiing is great for the whole family at Canaan Valley Resort, Snowshoe Mountain, Timberline Four Seasons Resort, Oglebay Resort and Winterplace Resort. Each resort is able to make its own snow, so skiing conditions are ideal no matter how much snow Mother Nature provides.
Thrill-seekers can snowboard at Winterplace, Timberline or Snowshoe, go snow tubing at Canaan Valley or Snowshoe, and participate in the latest winter craze — airboarding, a thrilling twist on sledding — at Canaan Valley.
For less daring family members, winter festivals, horse-drawn sleigh rides and ice skating are sure to delight.
The Resort at Glade Springs
Located in the mountains of West Virginia, The Resort at Glade Springs offers simultaneously relaxing and exciting winter vacations, with multiple choices in affordable, upscale lodging. After a day of skiing, visitors can indulge in a massage or visit the sauna at The Spa at Glade Springs. A bowling alley, movie theater and indoor pool provide entertainment for all.
The resort is offering a special promotion this winter: Stay & Ski Free. Stay at the resort for one night (Sunday through Thursday, excluding holidays, and ski free at Winterplace Ski Resort any day Monday through Friday. Winterplace features 90 acres of snow and 27 trails, along with the largest snowtubing park in West Virginia. Professional-quality ski lessons are available as well.
Also on site: Small Talk, an eatery with a wood-burning fireplace; Bunkers Sports Bar, which has individual flat-screen TVs at each table; and upscale dining at Glades’ Grill.
If winter’s lack of sunlight sends shivers down your spine, consider the following tropical retreats.
Just off I-71, with convenient access from Cleveland, Columbus and Akron, is Comfort Inn Splash Harbor. Located in historic Bellville, this waterpark is the ideal destination for wintertime thrill seekers.
Ride the 49-foot water slide, splash around in the pool or escape to the hot tubs for endless aquatic fun. Kids will love the dumping buckets and spraying palm trees, and can challenge each other to a game of water basketball on one of the many hoops that line the side of the main pool area. Once they dry off, they can shift to the hotel’s game room for even more fun.
For younger guests, a 6-to-8-inch kiddy pool means everyone can get in on the action. Because of the centralized layout of the waterpark, parents can keep an eye on their kids at all times.
For parents, an adults-only hot tub allows some escape from the general revelry of the main pool area.
For families, special packages are available that include pizza, game room tokens, passes to the waterpark and a fabulous breakfast.
855 Comfort Plaza Dr., Bellville, 419/886-4000. www.qualityinnbellville.com/comfort
“Beyond Expectations” is the motto for Kalahari Resort and indoor waterpark, an African-themed luxury retreat in Sandusky. At an immense 173,000 square feet, the waterpark is the largest in the country. And with a slew of shops, restaurants, children’s activities and a video arcade, Kalahari offers something for every member of the family.
A wave pool, indoor surfing, water slides and indoor and outdoor hot tubs, indoor miniature golfing, and a full-service spa are just a sampling of the popular attractions at Kalahari.
Family and group bungalows are located throughout the waterpark and serve as central meeting grounds and relaxation spaces for those looking for a break from the water. And of course, hotel rooms contain all the amenities mom, dad and the kids could want: a flat-screen plasma TV, an iPod docking station, a refrigerator, safe, lounge chairs and a table.
With luxurious hotel rooms, live animals, authentic African decor and music, as well as an activities coordinator who ensures that there is plenty for the whole family to do on a daily basis, Kalahari provides an exotic escape from the winter doldrums.
What Cedar Point is to amusement parks, Castaway Bay is to indoor waterparks. This 237–room resort transports visitors to the Caribbean, with five stories of palm trees, tiki huts and water-based attractions.
Kids will love seeing Snoopy and the other Peanuts characters, who routinely visit the hotel. For older guests, a 520-foot water coaster, 100,000-gallon wave pool or one of the 11 water slides are sure to delight.
Also contained within the waterpark is Creature Cove, which has floating rafts and turtles and water basketball hoops. The Lookout Lagoon Family Funhouse has more than 100 water elements, including a 1,000-gallon dumping bucket, which soaks adventuresome guests every two minutes.
After drying off, kids are sure to stay busy in the resort’s state-of-the-art, 6,000-square-foot video arcade.
Castaway Bay prides itself on its children’s activities, to which an entire planning staff is dedicated. Two facilities within the resort host these daily activities, which can include Peanuts characters meet-and-greets, T-shirt making, movie nights and crafts projects.
With three restaurants, a spa, retail shops and a fitness center, Castaway Bay keeps the entire family stay busy.
2001 Cleveland Rd., Sandusky, 419/627-2106. www.castawaybay.com
. CoCo Key Water Resort at Cherry Valley Lodge
It may be cold outside, but it’s always 84 degrees and sunny at CoCo Key Water Resort at Cherry Valley Lodge, in Newark.
Inspired by the climate and culture of tropical Key West, CoCo Key is a 50,000-square-foot waterpark with signature attractions such as Parrot’s Perch Play Structure (for younger children), Coconut Grove Adventure River (a tube ride through the water island), four thrilling waterslides and a Dip-In Theater that shows videos in the water. The Wet Rooster Bar offers pool partyers tropical drinks.
Brightly colored cabanas, palm trees, thatched roofs and “CoCo,” the resort’s cheerful parrot mascot, add to the ambiance.
Out of the water, the Key Quest Arcade features virtual adventures for youngsters, while nearby, at the Banyan Leaf Spa, grown-ups can enjoy a day of pampering and therapeutic treatments.