Summer has arrived and we are off and running – or actually more likely driving. While we still will continue to read and do a little review each day as part of our routine, summers for us include more outings and exploring of things within a couple of hours drive from our house. Since we like to be out of our house and seeing other places and things, we decided that maybe other people feel that way too. Below are the types of places we like to frequent during the summer months.

  1. Zoo – Cincinnati is known for their zoo. It is beautiful and we visit it year round. We definitely visit more during the summer and we visit other zoos. Indianapolis, Columbus and Louisville zoos can all be considered a day trip for us. We like to share the love.
  2. Aquarium – Fish are mesmerizing! We love to look closely at the patterns and colors. My “I can’t sit still” boys will sit at a single fish tank and stare at the different fish for substantial amounts of time, like even an hour or so.
  3. Parks – We explore all the parks! The parks that are closest to our house are reserved for days where our time is short or it is so hot we’re not sure we will want to stay very long, but more often than not in the summer, you are going to find us somewhere across town, downtown or in another town all together. We like to explore new places so this kind of trip is right up our alley.
  4. Hiking Paths – Even with the cicada invasion of 2021, we are out and hiking. We hike at nature preserves, parks and little known public spaces. Though we prefer to head out to see something specific – waterfall, pond, giant meadow, old building or train track – we will hike just for the sake of hiking.
  5. Lakes and Ponds – Boating, fishing, animal observing, swimming, etc. These smaller bodies of water provide the opportunity for super amounts of fun.
  6. Observatories – I’m a bed time stickler during the school year. During the summer, not so much. Because of this, we can do things that only be done after dark.
  7. Local Factories / Specialty Shops / Ballparks – Most factories, specialty shops and ballparks will offer tours to small groups. Grab another family or two and set up an opportunity to see behind the scenes. Bonus – these opportunities are often free and frequently come with a surprise at the end.
  8. Creeks – Going creeking is a pastime from my childhood that my children also embrace. Let’s get wet and muddy and see what we can find.
  9. Farmer’s Markets – You never know who you will meet and what you will find. I usually give everyone a few dollars so they can buy something for us to try at dinner that night or a night coming soon (in case the foods don’t really go together).
  10. Bowling Alley – Rainy days happen so we have the option of the bowling alley thanks to Kids Bowl Free. Never heard of it? It is a wonderful summer program that allows kids to bowl free daily at a bowling alley of your choice. Check it out here.
  11. Museums and Smaller Attractions – We aren’t fans of crowds. We prefer to find the smaller kinds of places. The Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum, the Kentucky Horse Park, the Conservatory, the Museum of Appalachia, etc. Find the small ones. These are often the best ones.

While this isn’t a complete list, these are the ones we frequent most often. Where do you head to in the summer?

No matter where you choose to go, keep it smart. Keep it simple.