Archive for the 'Family Fun' Category

BB Riverboats Pirates Of The Ohio Cruise

A few weeks back I took my family on BB RiverboatsPirates of the Ohio Cruise on board the Belle of Cincinnati. The cruise on the Ohio River departs from Newport, Kentucky and lasts for one and a half hours.

Belle of Cincinnati

Belle of Cincinnati

All kids pick up their free pirate hat, eye patch, and treasure map before boarding.

Pirate Selfie

Pirate Selfie

The treasure map is filled out during the cruise using clues from the sightseeing tour. My kids are a little too young for this, but that didn’t stop me from participating in the fun.

Downtown View

Downtown View

During the cruise there are a variety of pirate games for the kids to participate in. There is a limbo, sword fighting, water pistol fight (followed by swabbing the deck), and then everyone gets to walk the plank to find treasure at the end.

Swab The Deck

Swab The Deck

This was our first time cruising with BB Riverboats but it will certainly not be the last.

Walk The Plank

Walk The Plank

The Pirates of the Ohio Cruise is offered Fridays (Memorial Day through Labor Day) from 3:00 – 4:30 PM. We had so much fun on this pirate cruise, we may end up doing it again before the summer is over.

Ripley’s Aquarium Of The Smokies

During our vacation a couple of weeks ago my wife and I made sure to balance things that we wanted to do with things that we knew the kids would enjoy. Fortunately we found something that all of us could easily enjoy, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg.

Trey

Trey

The aquarium has numerous exhibits from tropical rain forests, to ocean reefs, a massive shark lagoon, and an interactive penguin playhouse. The underwater tunnel for the shark lagoon features a 340-foot long glidepath, that allows you to move through the exhibit without moving your feet. Our three-year-old liked this so much we had to do it twice!

Paige

Paige

The kids also really enjoyed the discovery center with puzzles, touch tanks, and other interactive displays. We spent the better part of three hours here and we even rushed through some of the exhibits. For those with longer attention spans, you could easily spend the better part of a day at the aquarium, and you will likely want to as tickets can be a little on the high side, $27 for adults. Also the crowd seemed to build as our visit went on, so arrive early to avoid the rush.


Gatlinburg on Dwellable
Summer Time Is Lake Time

We’ve been spending a lot of time at the lake over the last couple of months. This winters very frigid temperatures left us with some busted pipes that needed to be replaced. Fortunately that work is mostly complete and we were able to actually enjoy the lake on our last visit a couple of weekends ago.

Jr. Lifeguard On Duty

Jr. Lifeguard On Duty

Paige's First Lake Swim

Paige’s First Lake Swim

Mother Son Kayak Trip

Mother Son Kayak Trip

Kings Island’s Banshee

After work this past Friday we met up with Kim’s dad and her brother Nick at Kings Island to get our season passes processed and ride a few rides. Even with our 7 PM arrival, we were able to squeeze in quite a few rides in just over a couple of hours time.

The new ride this year is called Banshee and it is a record breaking inverted coaster that reaches 68 miles per hour on nearly a mile of track. It also features seven inversions and a 150 foot drop. We were shocked to find just a fifteen minute wait! Nick and I took advantage of the situation and rode it twice, the second time from the front row. It is an amazing roller coaster and I will definitely ride it again this year.

WindSeeker

WindSeeker

After Banshee we took a quick ride on the Racer before heading over to WindSeeker for my first ever ride on the 300 foot tall swing ride. The view from the top is pretty impressive and the ride was actually a little more scary that I had anticipated, despite only moving at 30 miles per hour.

Character Carousel

Character Carousel

From there we headed straight for The Beast to make sure we got a ride in before the park closed. There really is nothing like riding The Beast at night. The way the track follows the contour of the wooden terrain and speeds through the tunnels is truly breathtaking.

Kim took the kids to Planet Snoopy while the rest of the were riding The Beast. We met up with them afterward and I was even able to squeeze in a last second ride with the kids on Trey’s favorite, the Woodstock Whirlybirds. He had already ridden it twice before, but he wanted a third ride with his dad. We may likely never see Kings Island as empty as it was on another Friday night this summer, so we had to do as much as we could before the fireworks capped off the night.

Washington Park Easter Egg Hunt

We had a very busy Easter weekend. Unfortunately I was stuck working nearly half of the time, but I still managed to sneak in some fun.

Music Hall

Music Hall

Saturday morning was the Easter Egg Hunt at Washington Park. This free event brought in a ton of families with kids of all ages.

Kenny Bunny

Kenny Bunny

My good friend Kenny is never one to shy away from a little added fun. Though the beard is probably better suited for Santa, he was happy to put on the bunny ears.

Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Egg Hunt

The egg hunt was a little chaotic but Trey still managed to come away with a few eggs.

Bunny Paige

Bunny Paige

I think the ears look much better on Paige, so thanks for sharing Kenny. She slept through the egg hunt but we saved a couple of eggs for her to discover in the playground. It’s always a good time down at Washington Park.

CoCo Key Water Resort

This past Friday night my wife and I took the kids to meet up with some of my in-laws for some indoor water park fun at Coco Key in Sharonville. The temperature outside was below freezing and there was plenty of snow on the group, so a warm indoor activity was just what we needed!

Parrot's Perch

Parrot’s Perch

I’ve only been to one other indoor water park, Fort Rapids outside of Columbus, but I have seen the inside of the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, and the size of CoCo Key is smaller than both. Basically there is a fairly large interactive play area in the middle of a lazy river. On the other side of the building is the zero-depth entry area with slides for the little ones. At the back of the building are four water slides with tubes that run outside. To round out the attractions are an indoor/outdoor hot tub and an activity pool with basketball hoops.

Dip-in

Dip-in

I did not visit the small children’s area, but my wife took our nine-month-old there and found the water to be much too cold. It didn’t help that the air temperature inside wasn’t as warm as I would have liked. One of the employees said that they are closed during the week, and since they just opened at 4pm the night of our visit, it would take some time for things to heat up. Despite what was said, we found the water to be much warmer in all other attractions. So we spent a good majority of the time either in the lazy river or the activity pool, but since life jackets are required for the latter (54″ and under) we didn’t stay there long.

I did find some time to spend with the older kids in our group and enjoyed the three water slides that were operating. One of the slides was boarded up and had no water flowing through it. The hot tub was also a nice feature but is restricted to those guests 16 and over. We all had free passes or discounted tickets through Groupon, which seem to be offered fairly regularly. I would have a hard time paying the standard daily rate of $25 per person, but there are even discounts offered on their website. We ended up spending the better part of four hours at the water park and would recommend it for a good winter activity.

Longest Trick-Or-Treat Yet

I hope everyone had a nice Halloween. The weather forecast for this year was not very good and some areas postponed trick-or-treat. It went on as scheduled in Cincinnati and it actually was pretty nice for the first hour. The second hour the winds picked up and the rain was definitely falling.

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Family Shot

Fortunately Trey only has the attention span for a few houses anyway. We made it to maybe half of the houses on our street, a dozen at best. My mom brought a variety of costumes for Trey to wear, but he refused to wear any of them. Luckily he was still able to choose from skeleton shirts, superman, batman, etc. Paige dressed as a ladybug for her first Halloween.

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Paige’s First Halloween

Our neighbors joined us for trick-or-treating as well as for a short time at house. Trey and their 18 month old daughter, Emeline, are quickly learning to be friends. Trey really enjoyed giving candy to her as well as passing it out to some of the other kids. We didn’t get very many kids at our house, so we have plenty of candy leftover.

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Passing Out Candy

Maybe next year we will finally get some decent weather so we can sit outside for the entire night.

Country Pumpkins

It’s officially pumpkin patch season! My family and a group of my in-laws all headed down to Country Pumpkins in Dry Ridge, KY a couple of weekends ago. We had a large group of well over 20 so we rented their facility out for a couple of hours after closing.

Stuff For Sale

Stuff For Sale

The cost was just $5 per person and included a hay ride along with exclusive access to a bonfire, corn maze, corn box, straw maze, picnic shelter, play area, and petting zoo.

Lots O' Pumpkins

Lots O’ Pumpkins

As you would expect a ton of pumpkins are for sale from the tiniest all the way up to the fifteen and twenty pounders! You can also take a hay ride out their pumpkin patch and pick your own.

Hay Ride

Hay Ride

Speaking of hay rides, our entire group was treated to a twenty-minute hay ride touring parts of the farm. We rode past the dairy barn and saw a bunch of dairy cows. We also saw some beef cows way out in the distance. The farm is fairly large at 250 acres.

Family Sized Corn Box

Family Sized Corn Box

Our kids favorite part of the entire trip were the corn boxes. They were already filled with a variety of sand toys and even pool noodles. I even spent a handful of minutes playing in the corn and paid for it dearly the next day. I always dismissed my corn allergy as it never affected my eating habits, but I guess I should definitely avoid the dusty corn boxes in the future.

More Corn Box

More Corn Box

We had a great time at Country Pumpkins and cannot wait for Halloween!

Last Summer Bandstand Bluegrass

Tonight is the last of this summer’s Bandstand Bluegrass nights at Washington Park. This has become one of my family’s favorite activities this summer and we definitely will not miss it tonight. Our friends The Turkeys are playing from 7-9 and as always Eli’s BBQ will be there with delicious pulled pork sandwiches. Look for us there with our bottomless stroller of kiddie gear.

Lots Of Gear

Lots Of Gear

Old West Festival

I took my family out to the Old West Festival on Saturday for a few hours. I first heard of this fest through Family Friendly Cincinnati, which is a great resource for things to do with the kids. The fest remains open weekends through October 6th.

Welcome Wagon

Welcome Wagon

We arrived just before noon and found that we weren’t the only ones with the idea for the day. Fortunately I had enough cash to skip the credit card line for entry payment, and we were inside the gates in no time. Admission is $12 for adults, children ages 6-12: $6, and children under 5 are free.

Ticket Line

Ticket Line

We were treated to a gunfight right away upon our entry. It reminded me a lot of the shootout we witnessed as part of our Great Train Robbery experience last year. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of the actors from the train ride were participating at the Old West Fest. Our two-year-old though it was too loud this time, so we moved along right away.

Gunfight

Gunfight

The town buildings are very cool to look at and each one has a real purpose inside. Some sell arts and crafts, while others serve as a saloon for drinks and food.

Old West Town

Old West Town

There were numerous activities for the young ones, including a sing along band performance, a really impressive magic show, panning for gold, and the always exciting play-set with slides and swings.  We were most entertained by the Pickled Brothers Circus, who we caught on our way out. The combination of fire eating, juggling, and sword swallowing was enjoyed by the whole family.

Native American Weekend

Native American Weekend

This past weekend was Native American weekend and we witnessed a drum circle performance. Each weekend has its own unique theme, so some specials acts and exhibits can be expected at other times.

Miniature Buggy

Miniature Buggy

We all had a good time at the festival, even though my wife and I thought it was a little expensive. Mainly the food and drinks were not as cheap as I was expecting, and there were a handful of children’s activities that all cost extra as well. I did see people bringing their own coolers with them, so that could be one way to cut down the cost, though I don’t see it mentioned specifically on their website. It is probably best for families with older children.