I’ve been meaning to write this for some time now. It’s long overdue. But every time I escape into the computer room, open my laptop, my fingers barely graze the keys, and a silent alarm must sound altering the children that I’m about to give something else my undivided attention. For they all seemed to beacon before I can even type a word, “Mom, I need help submitting….”, “Mom, my screen froze!”, “Mom, I can’t type on my work in Google Docs”. It’s a miracle they aren’t banging on the door right now. I am currently hiding out in the bathroom, on the floor, with my laptop, fan on, so hopefully I’ll have a few uninterrupted minutes…I took this idea from the “Dad Handbook” ;), lol! So needless to say, this letter has been on my heart for some time, and it embarrasses me that I haven’t sent this sooner. I don’t know if you know this or not, but you’re such an important and significant part of my life. They say that life isn’t measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away and though, an eloquent idea, I’d add that it isn’t just the big moment in life that matters, but the everyday that embrace life’s imperfections. Looking back on my lifetime thus far most of my life’s imperfections, serious contemplations, and happy memories either took place with you or you helped me get through them, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this time to express just how much you’ve played a role in those moments.Read more
April showers bring May flowers and lots of fun family-friendly festivities in Toledo!! The weather is getting warmer, days are getting longer, and everything is blooming!! It is officially that time of year when everything comes back to life, including your family’s social life. Though, let’s be honest, May should come with a warning, before you know it its summer, and then you blink and school is already starting back…so don’t blink!! Don’t delay; call up your playgroup peeps, neighborhood friends, family, etc. coordinate schedules and get these awesome festivities on the calendar today!
Here is a list of 10 Kid Approved Things to Look Forward to this May in Toledo:
1-Butterfly House at Wheeler Farm
This is one of my Favorites!! Between the classical music playing, watching the delicate fluttering of the gorgeous butterflies, and the general warm embrace of the atmosphere my blood pressure lowers instantly….and kiddos absolutely adore visiting. They look forward to every May 1st because that’s the day the Butterfly House Opens!!! FYI-the land is gorgeous and there is a picnic table available so pack lunches and make an afternoon of it!!
“The Butterfly House contains over 1,000 butterflies with many different species from North & South America and Asia. The facility was built with the idea of developing beautiful gardens in a controlled environment to exhibit butterflies to the general public. An opportunity to learn about the life cycle of the butterfly and how to promote a healthy environment for these special insects will be provided as well. The average life span of the butterfly is 2 to 3 weeks, so each week we introduce new species. Throughout the season we will have over 100 different species, so multiple visits can be rewarding. Our experienced staff are available to answer your questions. We hope you enjoy your visit.” — Duke Wheeler
Hours: May – August: Monday – Saturday: 10am – 4pm and Sunday: 12pm – 4pm
Phone Number: 419.877.2733
Address: 11455 Obee Road in Whitehouse, Ohio
Admission: Adults (12-64)$10, Seniors (65+) $9, Kids (4-11) $8, and 3 & Under are Free
2-Book Your Sandpiper Cruise!
The Sandpiper is a 100-passenger cruise vessel located on the Maumee River. The boat is available for private and public rides from May through October. There are a variety of cruise options throughout the summer but our favorite is FRIDAY NIGHT FAMILY CRUISE Bring the whole family for a fun 2-hour cruise on the Maumee and enjoy the dusk views of Downtown Toledo, area wildlife, and stately homes. Bring a picnic or order Marco’s Pizza to be delivered to the boat before departure: (419) 698-1511, (don’t forget to let them know you’ll be on The Sandpiper! Note: All public cruises are BYOB)
Hours: Varies (May-October) ***Family Night Family Cruise is May 25th***
Phone Number: (419) 537-1212
Address: The Sandpiper is docked at Water Street and Jefferson Avenue in Downtown Toledo. GPS directions to the dock: 1 Jefferson Avenue Toledo, Ohio (Street and lot parking is available nearby).
Admission: Friday Family Cruise-Adults $19 / $11 Ages under 12.
3-Col. James M. Schoonmaker (May-October) at The National Maumee of The Great Lakes
“The Schoonmaker was unsurpassed in both size and elegance. On her maiden trip, she carried 12,650 net tons of coal from Toledo, Ohio to Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The ship held the title of “Queen of the Lakes” as the largest ship operating on the Great Lakes until April 14, 1914”. And you and your kiddos can step aboard!! Tour this magnificent ship and get awesome, pics aboard (I may have dressed my kiddos in sailor suit inspired outfits and taken pics-still my favorites!) and of the Toledo Skyline! FYI-This one is totally worth the membership!!
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Sunday: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Phone: (419) 214-5000
Address: 1701 Front Street Toledo, Ohio 43605
Admission: Adult – Museum and Schoonmaker – $15.00 Senior (65+), AAA, Military – Museum and Schoonmaker – $14.00 Youth (6-17) – Museum and Schoonmaker – $12.00 & Children 5 and under – Free
4-Aerial Adventure Course at the Toledo Zoo (This one is for the older kiddos 12+)
This Aerial Adventure has a menu of options sure to meet everyone’s quest for adventure!! I know it met mine (I rented a GoPro to commemorate my adventure last summer-that’s me in the video!!) My two favorites-Challenge: Test your stamina as you traverse across the Africa exhibit. Tackle a series of obstacles designed to challenge guests both mentally and physically, including rope bridges, swinging log crossings, horizontal climbing walls and much more. And, Zip line: In this exhilarating and unique experience, guests will start off 80 feet above the Africa exhibit and coast over 760 feet across giraffe, watusi cattle, wildebeest and more. Click on Website link below to read about the Sky Bridge, Flight line, Quick Jump, & package options.
Hours: The Zoo opens daily at 10 am. Last admission is at 4 pm with Zoo closing at 5 pm.
Phone: Tel: 419-385-5721
Address: Toledo Zoo 2 Hippo Way, Toledo, OH 43609
Admission: Varies depending on what is selected from the menu & if you are a member or non-member (starting at $25)
5-Indian Creek Zoo
Indian Creek Zoo is a unique place that offers camel rides and up-close viewing of exotic animals such as Zebras, Camels, Emus, Wallabies, Donkeys, Coatimundi, Alligators and Peacocks and many more! My kiddos have an absolute blast each time they visit!
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10am-5pm & Sundays 12pm-5pm
Address: 2744 Consear Road, in Lambertville Michigan (between Secor & Douglas) just 3 miles north of Toledo
Admission: Child (17 and under) $9, Adult $12, Senior $10, Children 2 and Under FREE
6-Mud Hens Games!!!
Take me out to the ball game. Take me out to 5/3rd Field. Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks. I don’t care if I never get back. Let me root, root, root for the Mud Hens…and get my pic with Muddy and Madonna!! Get your tickets now and enjoy a fun filled family friendly America pastime.
Hours: Varies see home schedule on website
Address: 406 Washington St, Toledo, OH 43604
Admission: Tickets starting at just $13
7-Kids Bowl FREE
Registered Kids Receive 2 FREE GAMES Of Bowling Each Day Of The KBF Program All Summer Long, Valued At Over $500 Per Child!
“Select bowling centers and schools around the country are participating in the first ever Kids Bowl Free program. This program is designed by bowling centers to give back to the community and provide a safe, secure, and fun way for kids to spend time this summer.
Children whose age does not exceed a limit by a participating bowling center are eligible to register for 2 free games each day of the KBF program, all summer long, courtesy of the participating bowling centers along with the schools and organizations”.
Offered in Maumee, Rossford, & Bowling Green (click website for exact locations & to sign up today!)
8-Outdoor Expo at Metroparks
May 18th 10am-4pm @ Side Cut (Silver Lake Area)
“Outdoor adventure comes in all shapes and sizes. At the Expo you have the opportunity to try on adventure activities to see what fits. Try archery, tree climbing, kayaking, canoeing, biking and much more. The expo has something for all ages from the seasoned enthusiast to the beginner. They’ll have music, food trucks and outdoor industry exhibitors. May is Bike Month, at the expo you’ll meet area biking clubs and business’ and learn about Metroparks biking programs and trails”.
Hours: May 18th 10am-4pm
Phone: (419) 407-9700
Address: 1025 W River Rd, Maumee, OH 43537….Side Cut Metropark, Silver Lake Area
9-Kayaking the Maumee River Water Trails
The trail stretches 107-miles from Maumee Bay (Lake Erie) to the Ohio-Indiana border, and can be accessed at 39 locations.
The trail connects five Metroparks (Bend View, Farnsworth, Middlegrounds, Providence, and Side Cut), three state parks (Independence Dam, Mary Jane Thurston, and Maumee Bay), three wildlife areas (Meyerholtz, North Turkeyfoot, and Van Tassel), as well as 15 other publicly owned parks.
Website for all the details: https://mpdta.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=b00a542678124619aa19cdffda4cd499
10-Schools Out for Summer!!!
Goodbye school days and hello pool days, summer camps, & road trips!!!
Is your family looking forward to something this May that didn’t make the list? Please feel free to share…
Canal Experience, where education and fun collide! As a mom I am always on the lookout for events and activities that are educational. Meanwhile, the kiddos hunger for fun. The Canal Experience at Providence Metropark in Grand Rapids, Ohio is jammed pack full of educational fun! It is literally a floating history lesson!
UPDATE: You can go aboard the docked boat, The Volunteer for FREE but the actual experience is not available at this time (as of, 6-18-2021)
We arrived at Providence Metropark and enjoyed the modern amenities (plumbing, flushing toilets, running fresh water, etc.) and then made our way across the bridge where we were taken back to the year 1876. The flux capacitor could not have done a more superior job! As we strolled up to purchase our ticket for The Volunteer, the mule-drawn canal boat, the attendant was dressed in 1876 period costume with a long prairie dress, apron, bonnet,…the works!
Before boarding The Volunteer, we received some background information on the time period from one of the crew members who was also dressed in a period costume circa 1870s. As we boarded the canal boat we were officially submersed in 1876, just as Marty McFly was asked about his “life preserver” I feared I might be questioned about my pants! Lol! The canal crew stayed 100% in character, it was fascinating!!
We learned so much about canal life while aboard the 60 foot replica of a “state-packet” boat. First and foremost the pace of life back then was extremely slow compared to our modern day Wi-Fi speeds and instant gratification addictions. The two-mule team pulled The Volunteer at a whopping 4 MPH. I must admit there was something inviting, comforting, and even enjoyable about slowing down our speed and soaking in a glimpse of what life was like back in the 1870s.
The children enjoyed learning about canal life particularly the fascinating amenities like the “thunder bucket”, meals of Muskrat, and how one would sleep aboard the boat, but by far their favorite part of our 1 hour tour, the restored lock. Lock #44 is one of the last functioning 19th century limestone locks!! It was fascinating watching the crew spring to action to open and close the lock. To be able to literally view and feel The Volunteer, being lifted 4 feet and then lowered was amazing. And to think, these 19th century canal boats carrying passengers and freight from Toledo to Cincinnati were where it all began, was the modern day means for transporting materials for commerce back then…that is until those “metal monstrosities” (railroads/trains) which eventually replaced the 4MPH canal boats.
We were sad to see our canal boat experience end but super excited to pet the mules that towed the boat on the tow path and to tour the Ludwig Mill!
The Isaac Ludwig Mill is an authentic, functioning, turn-of-the-century grist and flourmill. It has a turbine-powered, functioning sawmill. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The staff/ volunteers manning the mill were also in period costumes and did a remarkable job illustrating how the antique milling equipment operates. The gentleman expressed the process so fluently that even my kindergartner was fascinated. We were able to witness the mechanics involved with the process of milling used in the 1800’s and there was products produced at the mill available for purchase. Kiddos can’t wait to go back and see artisan demonstrate crafts like tinsmithing, candlemaking, blacksmithing, etc.
Plan your trip today….go back to the future!!
Address: 13801 S River Rd, Grand Rapids, OH 43522
Website: For Boat & Mill Schedule Click on link https://metroparkstoledo.com/features-and-rentals/canal-experience/
Hours: Vary (see website)
Admission: $7 adults, $6 seniors (60 and over) and Metroparks members, $4 children (3 to 12); ages two and under free.
Farnsworth is located at 8505 S River Rd, Waterville, OH 43566.
Treasures you’ll find at Farnsworth Metropark:
The Interurban Bridge
The Interurban Bridge was once the largest earth filled, concrete reinforced bridge in the entire world, though the bridge is in ruins it is quite a sight to behold.
The Roche de Bout (also spelled Roche de Boeuf)
The Roche de Bout is one of the only significant rock outcroppings in the Northwest Region of Ohio and serves as a support for the bridge. The rock was an important landmark to Indians centuries ago, who met on the rock for meetings, including one before the famous 1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers. As long as the water level is somewhat low, you can easily wade out to the rock.
The 100-mile Bowling Green Fault line, the only fault line in the entire Great Lakes Region & it runs through the park. If the water is low enough you actually are able to see it.
Towpath Trail is 2.5 miles and Easy (Stroller and ADA accessible).
The trail parallels the Maumee River the whole way, passing by several islands on the river owned by the Ohio Division of Wildlife. (Unfortunately, there’s no way of getting to the islands).
However the Kayak Concession is open and you can rent a Kayak and Kayak around the islands.
Price: (Credit card payments only) Single Kayak, $10 per hour Tandem Kayak, $15 per hour Downriver kayak trip, Farnsworth to Side Cut Metropark, including transportation back to Farnsworth, $20 per person. E-bike rental, $10 per hour
Hours: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Fishing & Camping & Picnic Areas
The playground (closest parking lot is the Boat Launch entrance to the park on 8801 S. River Road (US24), ) is AWESOME!
It includes; a turtle, a Great Blue Heron, a buckeye leaf, and even the Bowling Green Fault Line are depicted in the sculptures. Not only can children enjoy playing outside in the park, but they can learn about it at the same time.
And there is a really nice, new, shelter adjacent (and restrooms too) that is available to rent along with a charcoal and gas grill (locked)…it would make the perfect spot for a family reunion, birthday gathering, etc. Kids could play on the playground, older kiddos/adults could take turns kayaking, have a cookout, walk the towpath, and enjoy the natural beauty that is Ohio!
Hours: 7am-dark everyday
Address: 8505 S River Road (US 24) Waterville, OH 43566
Ranger Phone: (419) 779-6052
My mom treated us to tea yesterday at the Stranleigh Manor. The children were so excited. They sat out their clothes the day before. Our little man so desperately wanted to look handsome. He asked me if I could get him the coat and tie that men wear at weddings. He wanted a tuxedo for tea. He is so sweet; he told me he wanted to be a handsome gentleman so badly. In fact he asked that I call him Mr. and Sir during tea, lol! Thankfully I was able to convince him that his white button down shirt and tie were dressy enough. And that shorts were a must since the temperature that day was in the 90s.
As we walked to tea it was so much fun to see what all the ladies were wearing, some were even adorned with creative headdresses (hats, headbands, bows, etc).
Once there we received a number and we waited in the front room.
Since they only take reservations for half the seating when we called all reservations were full so we had to take a number and wait. And wait we did. After waiting half an hour the children, my sister, and I walked around the gardens for a little while to kill time.
After two hours our number was finally called. Boy was it worth the wait. There are three rooms designated for tea and since we had a larger party we were fortunate enough to be seated in the same room as the musical entertainment. Which just so happened to include one of the children’s preschool teacher, it was so awesome!
The petite sandwiches and desserts were delicious. They even had PB & J for the tiniest tea goers.
And our daughters got a kick out of the fact that there was one seat free at our table and they designated it for their Brave doll.
We had such a wonderful time and our little gentleman was so endearing. He even offered to eat any food us ladies might be unable to finish. While my sister and I were served hot tea, my mom iced tea, the children opted for punch and I just couldn’t resist this picture of them sporting their punch mustaches…
The next tea is September 7th and the theme is dress like your favorite I love Lucy episode. For reservations call 419-344-4765
Have you ever had tea with your children? Some of the best tea parties are the impromptu ones, right? With random attendants like Barbie, Big Bird, or whatever stuffed animal your child favors that day…who have you had tea with lately?