It's been a long time since we have been to Hocking Hills; I mean it was before we had kids! My husband wanted to take the kids to Hocking Hills, so we drove down to Lancaster on a Sunday afternoon. Hocking Hills is about an hour's drive off of Route 33. We noticed that now they have a business loop off 33 so you don't have to go through the city of Lancaster. (you don't have to hit all of the city traffic lights!) I did forget all of the winding roads you have to go to get to Old Man's Cave.
Upon entry, there are bathrooms, a gift shop and place to order food! We went straight to the paths, and walked on the lower falls and Old Man's Cave paths. My kids thought it was such a "cool place". They enjoyed walking through the dark caves, climbing on some of the rocks, and throwing rocks in the water. A word of caution: I would not take kids under 3 to this place. There are a lot of steps to climb-my husband had to pick up my 3 year old several times to take her up many flights of steps. As you can see from the pictures, it is definitely worth the drive to go to Hocking Hills!
(There are so many other parts of the park that are worth seeing too! See the link below for lodging and other places to go in Hocking Hills!)
On one fine sunny Sunday afternoon, we decided to head to Lynd's Fruit Farm to pick some apples. When we got to the fields, we were instructed to only select the apples that had blue or yellow ribbons attached to the trees.-those were Jonathon or MacIntosh apples. We walked through the fields, selected our apples, and put them in our designated bag. (Get there early--pickins' are slim later in the day!) We got back into our van and then paid $10 for the apple bag as we exited the orchard. Then, we noticed the barrel rides across the street and the corn maze tower. Since it was a nice day, we decided to head on over! All kids went ran to the top of the "dirt hill" and liked viewing the activties from the hill. Then they ran down and we decided that my 3 year old would ride the barrel ride (cost is $2) and all of us would do the corn maze. (Corn Maze $8 for adults and $5 for kids) I have to say that my 3 year old LOVED the barrel ride--she was grinning from ear to ear. They drove around the lot and into the corn fields too! Next up the corn maze! We did not get a flag as we entered the corn maze (some people use the flag in case they get lost, then someone spots you from the tower and comes to help you get out of the maze if needed) Armed with our corn maze map, we started walking. This year's maze was based on the "The Wizard of Oz." There are seven different corn mazes and they are marked by different colored ribbons. Each ribbon represents the maze-i.e. pink ribbon was in the shape of a dog, blue/white ribbon was the star, etc.) When you were in ribbon color maze, you were to find the "etchings" in each of the mazes. (See pics for the examples) Once you found the etchings, you took your crayon and rubbed the etching in the box on your corn maze map. Periodically, the tower would shout out the names of the people who would found all 7 etchings. We only found 4 as the kids were getting restless. I think we spent about an hour in the corn maze. It was fun and it was great way to spend time with the family outdoors!
Josie's frozen yogurt when you enter the store.
Recently, there has been a trend of frozen self-serve yogurt places that has desended in the Polaris/Westerville area- Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt in Westerville and Josie's Frozen Yogurt in Westerville and Polaris.
(Read my review about Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt http://smacolumbus.weebly.com/7/post/2011/07/orange-leaf-frozen-yogurt-mona.html) There was a coupon in the local Paper Mint so I off I went with my 3 kids.
First , when we entered, there was no one there at 6 pm on a weeknight. My kids were struggling to find flavors that they liked-they chose vanilla and chocolate. I knew that they wouldn't like any flavor with "Stevia, antioxidants, or fat-free". After they selected their basic flavors, then they put on the toppings. The toppings, which are mostly healthy (nuts, and fruits) and a small section of the bad stuff. (oreos, sprinkles, chocolate syrup and m n'ms) As you can see from the picture, my kids chose some of the unhealthy toppings!
After that we weighed our yogurt (.45 an ounce, same price as Orange Leaf) and I used my coupon got 6 oz. for free. The total came to $10 for 3 cups of frozen yogurt. Then, we sat down and I sampled the frozen yogurt concotion that my kids had put together! I tasted the chocolate and vanilla frozen yogurt and I have to say that even with all of the toppings, the yogurt itself was not tasty! My 7 year old did not finish her yogurt and she has a sweet tooth! Bottom line: I don't think anyone in family will be returning anytime soon..
SMAC Not Approved!
For the past 3 years, we have gone to Kings Island. In the past 2 years, we would go during a weekday (less crowded!) and do the park/waterpark for the day. Afterward, we would spend the night at a hotel nearby. This year, since our summer was short, we were not able to go until Labor Day! I ordered the tickets online the morning we went-tickets at the gate are $50 for an adult! Parking is $12 at the gate, but I also ordered a parking pass online for $10 too! For four people (2 adults and 2 kids), and parking, the tickets came to $104!.
Before we went, I downloaded the Kings Island app on my smartphone. My husband also loaded the app since we probably going to be splitting up at times at the park-he was with the 7 and 9 year old on roller coaster rides and I was with my 3 year old toddler. The "friend finder" on the app didn't seem to work (we wound up texting one another instead). The only thing that did work was the parking finder--so you know exactly where your car is when it's time to go home! The app was also nice because it had a height requirement guide-it listed all of the rides in the park that you can ride by height! This was very helpful since my 7 year old is just 48 inches! My 7 year old rode the following roller coasters-Adventureland Express, The Racer, The Beast, The Vortex and Flight Deck. My 9 year old rode the Diamondback roller coaster for the first time and loved it! (you must be 54") They also rode The Crypt roller coaster which is underground but he said it was "really lame" and not worth the wait. Speaking of wait, most coaster rides on Labor Day were about an hour or less.
I took my 3 year old to the Planet Snoopy area and she rode most of the kiddie rides-Charlie Brown's wind up (swings), Linus' beetle bugs, bumper cars, two train rides, Snoopy vs. Red Baron plane ride, Peanuts off-road Rally cars and of course the carousel! (She also rode the Monster ride (looks like a spider) with my husband!) As you can see in the pictures below, my 7 year old was a good sport about going on some of these rides with my 3 year old. My 3 year old also enjoyed the Peanuts characters as well--first she cried and later she was okay with them.
Since the park was only open from 10-8pm, most of our time was spent waiting for rides so there was no waterpark this year! It wasn't going to happen anyway because it was only 65 degrees that day! On the train ride, I learned that they are going to get rid of the Boomerang Bay waterpark. Next year, it will be called Soak City with new waterslides, 2 wave pools and much more!
Plan for next year: go during the week again in summer, hit the main rides and then head on over to Soak City to cool off!