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Spring Break: An Inexpensive Staycation in the Cincinnati Area

Adventure may hurt you but monotony will kill you.
— Ghaniya Dewi Arassyi

Day 1: Big Bone Lick State Park

This is a park that we have been to before. My kids don’t go there often because they like to play on the playgrounds, and well, I’ll admit, this park isn’t well known for spectacular playgrounds. It does have a bison heard, camping, a beautiful lake (which was closed this day, but I often take photos there), and hiking trails. I’d heard a rumor that there was a new, baby bison and I really wanted to see it. We were lucky that a class was visiting on a field trip and a park employee enticed the herd up near the fence to feed. We got to see the baby and then watch as she and her mother walked into the woods. Emmalynn loved seeing the baby, Guthrie just enjoys being outdoors and running, and Rooney slept in a carrier strapped to me the whole time. If you’re looking for a unique, outdoor experience (and free), than I highly recommend this. Rabbit Hash (which I frequent for photos) is also in the area and I recommend visiting that afterwards.

Day 2: Summit Park & Aglamesis Bros Ice Cream

I was so impressed with Summit Park. We had never been as it is about 45 minutes from our house, but I really wanted to try new things in the area for Spring Break and have the kids experience new places. Emmalynn was a little bummed that we weren’t going out of town like many of her classmates, but we just went to Disney World this past fall so, a staycation was in order.

When you first pull up to Summit Park (at least the entrance I took), you can see the looming tower. The kids were so excited to go up the elevator to the observation deck. It is a really cool view. It was so windy up there that we didn’t stay long, because Rooney was getting upset. After we got off the elevator, it was a short walk to the playground. It was so neat. There were hills that the kids could use as slides. There was a big climbing structure in the middle and a see saw that had actual seats. The kids loved it. I’ll admit, as a parent it was a little stressful. We went around 11:00 in the morning, on a school day (it was not Spring Break in that area) and the place was packed. It was hard to keep up with Emmalynn, Guthrie, and try and shield Rooney from the sun because I inevitably forgot sunscreen and a hat (we’ve just come out of hibernation, don’t judge me).

After the park, we went to Aglamesis Bros Ice Cream. It’s a cute little parlor. It was small inside, so lugging the car seat around was a pain (Rooney was sound asleep or I wouldn’t have even brought that in). Emmalynn had the kids’ scoop with sprinkles in a bowl because she doesn’t like to get messy, Guthrie had a kids’ cone with sprinkles because he doesn’t mind the mess, and I had a brownie sundae. It was delicious! I highly recommend this place.

Day 3: Camp Ernst Lake

Camp Ernst Lake is close to our house. Emmalynn has therapy on Wednesday mornings and I knew that I wasn’t going to want to drag all three kids to that, the store to get diapers, and then drive far to do something. We decided to get some duck feed from Tractor Supply because I’ve heard bread isn’t safe. We saw all of the cute baby chicks there, picked up some Happy Meals from McDonalds and drove to the lake. We ate our lunch on the grass and then fed the geese (all of the ducks were on the other side of the lake). After that, we went home and played outside for the rest of the day.

While we love Camp Ernst Lake, it’s not really a place that I would recommend making a special trip for. We live very close to it, and it is convenient for us, but it’s small and there isn’t much else to do right there.

Day 4: Sugar n Spice

Alex works up in Cincinnati, and while we don’t meet him for lunch often, the kids really wanted to go visit him. He works in a very industrial part of the city and there isn’t much around there food wise (except McDonald’s and fast food), so the night before I looked up places in the area so that we could try something new. I came across a place called Sugar ‘n Spice. They serve breakfast all day. It’s one of those eclectic restaurants that locals love. The food was great. The kids love it because there’s so much to see inside, and you get a little rubber duck when you leave. I highly recommend it if you live in the area or are visiting.

When we got home the kids wanted to go swimming. We set the pool up, but it was chilly. Guthrie braved getting inside, but never submerged his whole body. Emmalynn wasn’t going to do that at all.

Day 5: Putt Putt

I’ll admit, by Friday, my kids were losing their minds. They were in bad moods and this adventure was more like a nightmare. Alex loves putt putt, so we tried it, but yeah…. it was rough. Guthrie wanted to run in ahead of us all, Emmalynn struggled to hit the ball on the first try and immediately announced she was awful at it (even though she did get a hole in one), Alex wanted to keep score, and I was ready to call it quits by hole two. We made it through the whole course though. 🙄

Day 6: West Fork Park

We actually went to West Fork Park for the first time last year. It isn’t real close to us, so we don’t frequent it, but if we lived closer we would. It is so neat. There is a little kid area, a colorful maze, a big play structure, a disk swing, a zip line, swings, hills to slide on, tunnels, and a short running track. There’s so much to do. It is really popular and on nice days, it gets crowded (especially the parking lot). It was so chaotic that I didn’t get my camera out for this (so no photos, but look it up).

Day 7: Easter bunny

My mother in law is a children’s librarian at a local library. We try to make it to some of the events that they host throughout the year. My brother in law has been the Easter bunny for their Easter event for the past few years. It’s pretty funny. We aren’t really the type to make our kids sit with the Easter bunny or Santa, but they know it’s Uncle Mark, so we go. Also, it was Rooney’s first year so we had to.

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Nicole TewesComment