5 Fun Day Trip Destinations

Grande coffee, full tank, lengthy playlist, and empty bladders, its road trip time, baby!! There is something so welcoming, comforting, dare I say, relaxing, about taking a day trip with the kids. Planning is minimal, packing is slim, and the fact that you still get to come home to your own bed at the end of the day is very appealing. Here are 5 fun day trip destinations (in order to make the most of your trip note the, “while you are here you might want to check out”, at the bottom of each) that will have you enjoying the novelty and excitement of the day and sleeping like a baby in your own bed at night.

 

5 Fun Day Trip Destinations for Spring Break

 

1. Children of all ages will enjoy the Willy Wonka Experience at the South Bend Chocolate Company Factory Tour

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There are two factory tour options offered. Visitors who take the basic factory tour (free, 20 minutes) are treated to a history lesson of chocolate and its origins, as a guide leads guests through all of the factory processes, including panning, enrobing and more, including a test sample at the end. For those wishing to take the extended “Inside Scoop” tour/Go behind the scenes—where few have gone before, except those with golden tickets (run at the top of each hour, last 45 minutes or more depending on whom you meet and where you go! Expect chocolate surprises). For Wonka-wannabes only! You will dip a chocolate spoon and walk through the Chocolate Museum.

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And be sure to hit up the “almost perfect” area after your tour, this is where the chocolates that are slightly less than perfect are sold for a discount, like, pecan clusters (AKA turtles), mint-meltaways, chocolate covered tart cherries, etc.

Address: 3300 West Sample Street in South Bend, Indiana

Phone: 574-233-2577 to schedule a tour

Website: https://sbchocolate.com/tour/

Hours: Tours are at the top of every hour. Mon – Fri 9am-4pm & Sat 9am-2pm (Closed Sundays & major holidays).

Cost: the ‘Basic Factory Tour’ is FREE and the ‘Go Behind the Scenes’ tour is $5.00 adult/$2.00 children (11 & under)

While you’re in South Bend you might also want to check out:

  • The Studebaker Museum https://studebakermuseum.org/
  • St. Patrick’s County Park at, 50651 Laurel Rd, South Bend, IN 46637- with wooded trails, play equipment & picnic sitesspringbreak1803

 

 

2. This isn’t Just for the Kids! Fort Clarkston is a relaxing adult environment that just so happens to provide unique & fun activities for kids too!

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Finally a place that understands what moms’ really!! This is the #1 hot spot for children entertainment & adult relaxation combined!! Parents can enjoy free wi-fi, sipping on coffee or tea from the café, or just cozying up with a magazine or book with a tasty treat. You may not even notice your kids as they will be completely mesmerized by the astounding 2,400 square foot playstructure standing 3 levels tall and the 2 level bitty playstructure for the tots. Twisty, bullet and wavy slides will take the children from peaks to valleys, meanwhile the maze, bumper balls and rope climbs engage children of all ages. They also offer redemption games and arcades! Be sure to redeem your tickets at their ticket redemption desk for valuable prizes.

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Fort Clarkston offers a bar where moms can grab a glass of wine or beer and visit with other moms (or enjoy a little solitude), as well as feed the kiddo’s dinner/lunch at the café; it really is a mini vacation for moms!!

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Hours: Monday – Thursday 9am-8pm, Friday and Saturday 9am-9pm, & Sunday 9am-6pm

Address: 7127 Dixie Highway, Clarkston, MI

Phone: (248) 297-5453

Website: http://fortclarkston.com/

Hours: Monday – Thursday 9am-8pm, Friday and Saturday 9am-9pm, & Sunday 9am-6pm

Cost: Mon-Thurs. $10 for the entire day!!   Fri-Sun. $12 for the entire day!!   Parents are $5

While you’re in the area you might want to check out:

 

3. Airstream Factory Tour

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Ever wonder how an Airstream is made? See how they craft every piece of the Airstream Travel Trailers, and how they really do put every one of those rivets in by hand.

TOUR INFORMATION: The Airstream Factory Tour is held every Monday through Friday beginning at 2PM EST in the lobby of the Service Center (located on the north side of 274, next to the gas station). Cost is free. Please arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of time to check in. Late arrivals may not be permitted to join the tour. (Please note Friday tours are held after normal hours meaning you may not see the plant in full production. If you plan to attend around a holiday, please call in advance to verify our tour schedule).

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The tour lasts approximately 1.5-2 hours, requires a one-mile walk, and is divided into two parts. The first part highlights the building process of the travel trailers while the second part focuses on the touring coach process.

Hearing and eye protection is required and will be provided for you. They ask that you wear closed-toed shoes (no sandals or open toes). Reservations are not required except for groups of 10 or more or if you have any special needs requests.

Address: 419 W Pike St, Jackson Center, OH 45334

Phone: (937) 596-6111

Website: https://www.airstream.com/company/tours/

Hours: Monday through Friday beginning at 2PM EST

Cost: FREE

While you’re in the area you might want to check out:

The Bicycle Museum of America https://momonthegoinholytoledo.com/2017/07/17/the-bicycle-museum-of-america/

 

4. Merry-Go-Round Museum

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Enjoy a fun and relaxed atmosphere while you tour the Merry-Go-Round Museum and learn about the history and art of the carousel. The “oom pa pa” of the band organ, and the “painted ponies” on display will thrill and enchant you.

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Have your smiles ready as you relive your childhood excitement when you climb aboard the working “fully restored” Allan Herschell Carousel with the band organ playing. Watch carvers bring neglected carousel pieces back to their full beauty.

Address: 301 Jackson St Sandusky, OH 44870

Phone: (419) 626-6111

Website: http://www.merrygoroundmuseum.org/

Hours: Wed-Sat: 11am-4pm & Sundays 12pm-4pm

Cost: Adults: $6.00, Senior Citizens: $5.00, Children (4-14): $4.00, (under 4): FREE (The cost Includes 1 Ride Token)

While you’re in the area you might want to check out:

African Wildlife Safari http://www.africansafariwildlifepark.com/

The Maritime Museum https://www.sanduskymaritime.org/information

 

5. Great Lakes Science Center

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The Great Lakes Science Center invites visitors of all ages to “learn by doing” with their 400 hands-on exhibits. You’ll find permanent installations on technology, the environment, the body, and the Great Lakes themselves as well as interesting temporary shows and an adjacent OMNI-MAX theater—you can easily make a day of it!!

Address: 601 Erieside Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114

Phone: (216) 694-2000

Website: http://greatscience.com/about/who-we-are

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm & Sunday noon-5pm

Cost: Adult $16.95 and Youth (2-12)* $13.95 Theater tickets cost extra

While you are in the area you might want to check out:

https://momonthegoinholytoledo.com/2016/04/07/campbells-sweets-factory-tour/

Have a favorite road trip destination? Please share! We are always on the lookout for fun day trip destinations.

Ohio Presidents Tour: Grant’s Birthplace

Every summer we make a bucket list of places and things we would like to do. And this summer we decided to visit all the Ohio Presidential sites. Mind you, there are 8 Presidential sites in Ohio. Our First stop on our Ohio Presidential Tour is the birthplace of our 18th President, Ulysses S. Grant in Point Pleasant, Ohio.

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Ulysses S. Grant (April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885)

18th President of the United States (1869–77).

Commanding General of the United States Army (1864–69)

Birthplace: Point Pleasant, OH

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Our drive down to Grant’s birthplace was so scenic. The hills, though they seriously made this momma car sick (thank God for Dramamine), also provided such a magnificent view that we NW Ohio peeps don’t have the pleasure of relishing. As we pulled up to Grant’s birthplace home it reminded me of a little town you would see on a train board, complete with a church on a hill, whitewashed everything, etc. it was so cute and quaint.

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Our tour guide, Jim, greeted us at the door. Now, I will admit, going into this I think we were all kind of anticipating a boring, monotone, anticlimactic kinda tour, and what we received was the complete opposite. In fact Jim’s passion and enthusiasm for our 18th president became contagious, by the end of our tour the kids couldn’t wait to go to the next Presidential site.  

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Here are my Top Highlights from the Tour (I don’t want to give them all away….you need to have something to look forward to when you visit, wink wink).

Tour Highlights:

What’s in a name?– Ulysses S. Grant was actually born Hiram Ulysses Grant. He despised the name Hiram and never went by it; he always went by his middle name, Ulysses, or Lysse. So where did the S in Ulysses S. Grant come from? When congressman Thomas L. Hamer nominated him for Military Academy at West Point he assumed his name was Ulysses Simpson Grant due to the fact that he had always gone by Ulysses and back then the mothers maiden name was often used as the middle name. Grant tried to explain that it wasn’t his name but all the forms had it written already and since he hated the name Hiram it was the perfect opportunity to be rid of that name, which was probably a good thing since his initials had to be sewn onto everything at the Academy and having the initials H.U.G. would have probably resulted in a lot of harassment from the other guys. Note the chest at the foot of the bed, which is Grant’s actual chest that he took with him to the Academy (it did not photograph well thanks to the Plexiglas).

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Family Heirloom– The hutch below was a wedding present to Grant’s parents, talk about a piece of history, I am a sucker for all antiques! I was totally excited when Jim said we could touch the piece (they usually don’t let you touch anything…and yes, I am worse than the kids, lol!), though it looks smooth it was really rough, when you look at it upclose the craftsmanship was apparent….I am a history of furniture junky, so I found this piece to be quite fascinating.

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Did momma get that out with A-L-L (stain lifter!?)-There were a lot of period pieces in the one room house and a handful of actual pieces/items that belonged to the Grant family, including the nightgown hanging on the wall, which was Grant’s mother’s nightgown. We are talking about an almost 2 hundred year old nightgown. Anyone else dying to know how she laundered it? I have shirts in my drawer that don’t look that white!

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Next round is on Lincoln!-When McClellan got wind of Lincoln wishing to make Grant a three Star Lieutenant General, (only George Washington had risen to that rank in the U.S. Army before him), he protested by stating that Grant shouldn’t receive this ranking because he drank an excess of alcohol. To which Lincoln replied, “Find out what Grant drinks and send a barrel of it to each of my other generals!” Here is a copy of the letter from President Lincoln addressing Grant as Lieutenant General …..

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Isn’t it Romantic & Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb? – Grant died from throat cancer on July 23, 1885—four days after completing his memoirs (memoirs that he only wrote because he wanted to leave his wife with money…he had lost it all when he fell victim to a Ponzi scheme) On August 8, 1885, more than a million people attended his funeral procession, which was seven miles long and lasted five hours. Money was a concern with regard to his funeral arrangements; he could have been buried in Arlington Cemetery and it wouldn’t have cost anything but he refused because he wanted to be buried with his wife….I totally let out a vocal, and loud, AWWWW, when I heard this, how romantic! Speaking of romantic, she carried a lock of his hair for always in her locket.

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A public foundation was formed to fund a memorial & within two years, approximately 90,000 people from around the country and the world donated more than $600,000 to construct Grant’s tomb. (At the time, it was the largest public fundraising effort ever). Designed by architect John Duncan, Grant’s Tomb was completed in 12 years and remains the largest mausoleum in North America.

And there was so much more that we learned about Grant’s family, childhood, etc. in fact, I learned so many intriguing things about Grant that I now wish to read his Memoirs and I can honestly say that prior to visiting his birthplace I had little, to no interest, in doing so.

Souvenirs

Kiddos got their first stamp in their Ohio Historic Passports…..

Passport to Your Ohio History

Explore Ohio, a state rich with stories of Native American and African American culture, 19th-century life, ancient earthworks, presidential heritage, space travel and more. Enjoy your visits. Have fun while you learn. And don’t miss the chance to capture a memorable adventure that is uniquely yours!

Within your passport you’ll find helpful information about each Ohio History Connection site. As you visit, you can collect site stamps representing each location and answer challenging trivia questions.

Passports will be available at the Ohio History Center and many of our sites throughout Ohio.

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More Pics…..

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If you are looking for a place to eat nearby we recommend…(you can sit outside by the Ohio River)

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DEETS:

Phone: (513) 553-4911

Address: 1551 State Route 232, Point Pleasant, OH 45153

Website: https://www.ohiohistory.org/visit/museum-and-site-locator/us-grant-birthplace

Admission: Adult: $3.00, Senior: $2.00, Children 6-12: $1.50, OHC Member: Free, Children (Under 6): Free, School groups: $35/bus

Hours: Open April–October Wed – Sat: 9:30 a.m.–noon & 1 p.m.–5 p.m. Sun: 1 p.m.–5 p.m. (Will open by appointment during the off season).

Armstrong Air & Space Museum

It was a hot Tuesday afternoon in August. The in-laws had just picked up our youngest for her special day with grandma & grandpa. My sister happened to have the day off from work. We had a full tank of gas & ambitious attitudes; the stars were aligning for a fun filled, totally spur-of-the-moment ROAD TRIP!!

I am a bit of an adventure junky; I enjoy the thrill of the unknown, the enticement of the journey, and my sister is exactly the same way! So there was really no telling where we might end up. It is a good thing we don’t possess monetary wealth because we would have probably be boarding plane. Haha! Though, technically speaking the sky wasn’t our limit, space was our final destination!

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Our voyage destination, Wapakoneta! We grabbed food from Tropical Smoothie Café and ate on the road (the result was the stain my son is so desperately trying to hide in the pic below, haha!) and began our voyage down orange barrel expressway, better known as I-75.

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As we entered the Armstrong Air & Space Museum  we were greeted by a long hallway filled with images & info of all the Ohio astronauts, 25 in all. That is a lot of Astronauts from Ohio! One has to wonder, what is it about this state that makes so many people want to leave the planet? LOL!

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The hall of fame, so to speak, really perked up the kiddos attention, they were officially hooked and eager to tour the museum! First things first, after that smoothie we were all in dire need of a potty break!!

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This phrase is written on the bathroom wall when you walk into the woman’s room. Bahahaha!

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We has some fun washing our hands too! We hadn’t even made it beyond the restrooms and we were already having a great time. Haha!

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After emptying our bladders and having a good laugh we paid admission (kids 5 & under are FREE, kids 6-12 are $4, and adults are $8….which I thought was really reasonable especially for a family) and our space exploration education began!

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The kiddos learned about Sputnik, satellites & gravity, the first man in space…..

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I must admit, I feel a bit bad for Alan Shepard, he was the first man in space however he is not a household name. Nor is Alexei Leonov, who accomplished the first spacewalk.

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Then it got real! We learned ALL about the preparation for space and the scary fact that an emergency Earth landing might be a possibility. It was at this point that the prospect of being an Astronaut didn’t sound very enticing to our son….our daughter was still all for it! (I think she might be an adventure junky…no idea where she gets it from?)

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The attractions and exhibits weren’t just for the older kiddos, they remembered the tots too! They strategically placed tactile area for the little ones in locations where the big kids might linger a little longer. Like at the Gemini Docking Simulator….

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Kiddos got a kick out of learning about space food & seeing REAL moon rock!!

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We watched a brief movie on the moon landing & walk. Towards the end the movie terminology took an abrupt detour and caught some of us off guard. The narrator was speaking in scientific, technical terms throughout the documentary. Then they explained that once the Astronauts were back on Earth they had to be contained in a pod for some 16-19 days for fear of contagious “moon germs”. Everyone let out a giggle, Haha! Not a day has gone by since that the kids don’t reference moon germs at some point.

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After the movie I walked down the ramp a bit and heard a familiar voice from my childhood & then it all came back to me and my heart sunk a bit. There was a monitor with President Regan speaking about the tragedy that had just occurred to the Challenger.

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Suddenly I was six years old again and I could hear my mother sobbing as we watched the television screen. At the time I could not entirely comprehend the magnitude of the catastrophe. Now, as an adult, mother, and after being in total awe and wonder after touring the museum and having a better understanding of all the training and strenuous preparation that Astronauts undergo it is heartbreaking to think they did not get to reap the benefits of their hard work & they risked it ALL for simply the opportunity.

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Final stop, gift shop!

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No trip to the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum would be complete without Astronaut ice cream!!!

 

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The facilities are so clean! The fun continues outside!

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They offer a great picnic area outside with overhead shelter from rain/direct sun.

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You could easy make a day of space exploration and aerodynamic fun….pack a lunch, visit the Armstrong Air and Space Museum, enjoy lunch, and then head back on the highway to the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton!

We on the other hand had a bit of a tight schedule; we had to get home ASAP. So we hit Skyline (we don’t have any in Toledo so it really added something special to the road trip) for Coney’s to go! Yep, I said to go, lol! Can you say more stains? Haha!

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It was a stupendous day of air & space exploration education I was sad to see it end. Do you need some Space? What are you waiting for? 

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