Fort Ancient Earthworks & Museum

October 1, 2017 – This weekend, my friend and I decided to head down to the Fort Ancient Earthworks and Museum in Oregonia, Ohio to continue our exploration of ancient Ohio sites.

Fort Ancient is a bit different from the mounds in Licking County and Chillicothe.  This site is two large plateaus surrounded by earthen “walls”.  The walls are mounds of varying heights that seem to follow the contour of the flat hill top.  Two sections were joined together by a “causeway” to form a continuous space.  Inside the walls you’ll find several ditches as well as other mounds and earth works. Continue reading “Fort Ancient Earthworks & Museum”

Quick Stop: Indian Mill

On our way to a cross country meet, Google sent us down County Road 50 in Wyandot County.  Much to my delight, I saw an Ohio History Connection sign and literally stop in the middle of the road to check it out.  “What the heck? A historic mill?  Let’s check that out!!!!!”  Thankfully, my 13 year old was game!

We had stumbled upon the historic Indian Mill along the Sandusky River. This small site only takes a little bit of time to wander through, but was worth a stop. Continue reading “Quick Stop: Indian Mill”

AAA Great Vacations Expo – Finding Adventures

Yesterday we went to the AAA Great Vacations Expo.  I’m not sure how often this one comes around, I expect it’s an annual thing, but it was well worth the minimal cost and time.  If you have nothing to do today, it could be worth a trip.

We spent a couple of hours wandering around among the booths and picking up a bunch of information.  I probably collected more paper for the recycling bin than was necessary, but I was looking for ideas of things to do.  They had booths for everything from major travel companies and resorts to the county & city visitor’s bureaus for Ohio and the surrounding states.

The Metro Parks had a really nice exhibit with an animal scavenger hunt that my daughter (8) loved.  She got a small trinket out of the effort, which she was more than happy with.  She also made a horse out of a yard stick and a cut out horse head from Marmon Valley Farms’ exhibit. The Farm at Walnut Creek had a couple of live animals that you could see and touch. (They had one that said “Camel” that looked an awful lot like a llama to me, and a bird of some sort.

My son (11) was more interested in the booths setup by every professional sport team in the city.  We now have ticket and schedule info for the Columbus Crew, Columbus Clippers, the Blue Jackets, and the Ohio Machine (Lacrosse).

There were other kids activities through out the exhibits – COSI had a little “try this” thing, one county had a Flight Simulator that both kids enjoyed (it was very simple, but they thought it was fun), and there was lots of candy to pick up at different places.

They had a passport activity for the kids to do which they enjoyed but mildly irritated me.  The kids each received a passport and had to get it stamped at several locations (all of them were the major sponsors of the event).  They then turned this back in for “a chance to win a Disney Vacation for 4”.  They did have a lot of fun finding the places to get the stamps. However, depending on how you look at it, this has become a ‘teachable moment’ that I’ve had to deal with… “We probably won’t win.”… “They will call us if we do, but don’t expect that we will.”…. “I don’t know when they will call. But probably not until after Sunday, and they probably won’t call.”….”No, i don’t know when we will go if we win, but we probably won’t win.”..  The kids got nothing else out of the activity.  It would have been nice if they got some small thing for their efforts.  As much as I hate all that little crap, they were left with nothing other than the ability to annoy me with questions about when we will get to go to Disney.

All-in-all, we had a nice time and had fun.  My son even remarked on the way out, “Well, that was a lot more fun than I expected.”.  And, I have to agree.  Now.. off to read through the volumes of information I have and come up with some new adventures for us this year.

Things we learned:

  • I picked up a ton of paper, which got rather heavy by the end. I saw several people bring their own bags to carry all of this information.  Next time I’ll take a better bag that goes over my shoulder for lugging around our finds.
  • There were a few wineries that were offering tastings for a small fee (in Ohio, it’s illegal to give away alcohol for free) and one exhibit had a small bar setup. Bring a few dollars cash if you want to have a taste.
  • Warn the kids ahead of time about what a “contest” is and what “chance to win” means.
  • If you were ready to book a vacation, you could probably get a good deal here.

What we spent:

  • With a AAA membership, each adult was $6 ($9 if you don’t have a AAA membership).  The kids were both free (16 and under).
  • Parking was $7 which I found a bit ridiculous.  $5 wouldn’t have bothered me.
  • They did have food options, but we ate lunch before we went.
  • Grand total for us: $19 (two adults, two kids, parking)

* Grandma went with us and wore her pedometer.  By her calculation, we walked about a mile total.. not too bad.

Evening at the beach….

Mommy Points: 3

Some nights, after a long day of work and day camp, none of us have the energy to even think about dinner, let alone make it.  Our summer time go-to is often a picnic at the beach...Alum Creek Beach.

OK…it’s not the Ocean or even a nice idyllic lake somewhere.  It’s Alum Creek.  It’s a central Ohio reservoir.  But it works.

If you have sandwich supplies (and the energy) pack a picnic dinner.  If not, a good option is the ready-made food section at the grocery store. Fried Chicken, a salad or two, some pre-cut fruit, and a package of cookies was less than $20 at  Kroger with some left overs (throw a cooler in the car before you go).  We packed our water bottles.  Or, be really lazy and go through the drive-thru.

Head to the beach area at Alum Creek, off of Lewis Center road.  There are plenty of picnic tables to be had, especially on a weeknight.  After eating, take a walk along the beach. Or, bring suits with you and go for a swim.  At the end of the beach nearest the entrance there is a small playground that is a little crappy, but works.

If you tire of the beach but the kids aren’t worn out, drive further down Lewis Center Road to the Below Dam Rec Area.  There aren’t a lot of benches around the playground, so you might actually have to play with the kids or at least stand around and watch them.  There are a couple of awesome playgrounds and climbing structures; two shelters with lots of picnic tables; and the STAIRS.  The stairs take you up to the top of the dam.  You can see the beach you were just at from the top. There is also a bit of a walking path along the top.  Be careful, on a windy day you will get blown around.

Cost:
Beach is free, Pack a dinner to be cheap or buy something easy

Things to take:

  • Cooler if you have left overs after dinner
  • Swimming Gear if you are going to swim
  • If just walking, take a towel to dry off feet from the water
  • If you want to sit, a beach blanket will help (I keep a blanket in the car at all times, just in case)
  • Hand Sanitizer (there are restrooms at the beach, but they aren’t the nicest)

Kid Review:
One loved walking in the water, one didn’t like his feet getting ‘icky’ in the sand.  Overall both kids were really happy and had a great time.

Mommy Review:
Relaxing dinner with no cooking/clean-up; Fresh air and being active;  Close to home:  sold!  Worked out well for an evening get away.  I’m not sure I’d want to spend a full day here, but a few hours was great.

Walking in the water at the beach
Climbing at the Below Dam area