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Travel | With Kids

Kids Adventures: Camps & Classes

Kids can learn to sail in Sandusky, work toward their Junior Ranger badge or patch at Cuyahoga Valley National Park and more. 

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Sandusky Sailing Club
Kids learn how to sail during this instructional course that also helps them build their confidence.

Youngsters can get their sea legs on the waters of Sandusky Bay this summer. What started as a way to get community members engaged with the water turned into a five-day sailing program focusing on kids as young as age 7. 

“We were trying to figure out how to connect kids and families that have never experienced sailing or have been on the water to those resources,” explains Mike Fishbaugh, president of the Sandusky Junior Sailors. “In the last 10 years, we’ve had a lot of initiatives to get Sandusky kids on the water.”

Kids start with beginner courses where they learn the basics of sailing with a very hands-on approach. “Within the first day you’re on the water as a student,” says Fishbaugh. “Then we go into basic sailboat and nautical terms.” 

Children learn how to master basic skills, and each class holds around 15 students and several instructors. Along the way, class participants get the opportunity to try their hand at directing and navigating under the watchful eye of supervisors, who help them gain confidence in their abilities. 

“Kids love being on the water, but the connection is being able to do things on their own with less and less direction,” says Fishbaugh. “They start to master basic skills,  and then they’re able to sail a boat upwind or sail a boat downwind.” Classes offered throughout the summer. Registration required and is on a first-come-first-served basis. See website for dates and prices; 814 E. Water St., Sandusky 44870, 419/625-1963, sanduskysailingclub.com

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Wet & Wild • July 24–28
This five-day camp at The Dawes Arboretum in Newark teaches kids about a variety of water ecosystems by way of hands-on activities, from hunting for crawfish to canoeing. Day campers will explore a cypress swamp, a lake, a stream, a pond and wetlands on the arboretum’s grounds. “You have the heat of the summer and children gravitate to water,” says Sarah Mill, director of education at The Dawes Arboretum. Kids will learn about the science behind each ecosystem and, perhaps equally important, stay active over their summer vacation. “Camp is integral to kids having new opportunities — to them getting comfortable in nature to meeting new friends.” Visit website for pricing; 7770 Jacksontown Rd. SE, Newark 43056, 800/ 443-2937, dawesarb.org

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Fantastic Beasts Camp • July 14
After exploring Dayton’s Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark and learning about plants and animals, participants in this one-day camp for kids ages 7 to 10 will combine the natural world with their imaginations to design their own fantastic beast. “We will be looking at live animals, pelts, snakeskin and feathers,” says Betty Hoevel, education coordinator at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark. Campers will also explore plant and animal habitats, followed by an afternoon dedicated to the study of mythical fairies. “You’ve looked at all the reality … so now you go in to that part that you create in your own mind,” Hoevel says. The day concludes with campers drawing a fantastic beast, with the kids getting together at the end to decide who had the best creature. Visit website for pricing; 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton 45414, 937/275-7275, metroparks.org

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Junior Ranger Program

Cuyahoga Valley National Park invites kids ages 7 to 12 to earn a Junior Ranger badge or patch by completing educational programs. Topics range from “What’s the Buzz,” which covers the importance of pollinating insects, to “Leave it to the Beavers,” which delves into the life of the mammals that reside at the park’s appropriately named Beaver Marsh. “The purpose is to help children have a deeper learning connection with their national parks,” says Pamela Barnes, community engagement supervisor at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. “It’s not only that children are enjoying being in the park, but we really design programs where they’re learning.” Kids 4 to 6 can attend Junior Ranger, Jr. programs for the opportunity to earn a badge or patch. Check website for fees and program dates. nps.gov/cuva

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