Awesome Summer Day Trips From Columbus

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With the kids out of school you might find yourself scrambling for ways to keep them entertained and also to have some family fun at the same time.  Summer can also be a busy time and sometimes it can be hard to find the time or budget for a full-fledged family vacation.  That’s why I love taking mini vacations – a weekend or even just a day to take time out with your family to explore something new.  Even just a day out of the ordinary can leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed.

We have compiled a list of our favorite, family-friendly day trips from Columbus – all within a 2-hour drive from downtown.  Many of these are in close proximity to each other and can be combined to make a full day of fun! {Be sure to use the links to check days, times and pricing before you go.}

Day Trips from Columbus

The Wilds – Cumberland

Highlights: Experience a safari tour at this non-profit wildlife park and conservation center.  Tours include open-air safari, wildside tour, fishing safari, horseback safari, sunset safari and more!

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour 35 minutes

Hours: Open Daily May – September, 10am – 4pm

Cost: Open-Air Safari – $30, Free for Wilds members (other tours offered). Receive 50% off an Open-Air Safari with a Columbus Zoo membership.

More Information: The Wilds Website

Day Trips From Columbus - The Wilds

Little Buckeye Children’s Museum – Mansfield

Highlights: Hands-on kids museum for ages 2-10

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour

Hours: Varies by day

Cost: Ages 2 and up –  $8

More Information: Little Buckeye Museum Website

road tripOhio Bird Sanctuary – Mansfield

Highlights: Sanctuary with 30 different species of birds, 90-acre preserve with hiking trails

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour 5 minutes

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am- 4pm, Sunday noon – 4pm

Cost: For bird display – Adult $3, Child  $1; visitor’s center, play area and hiking trails are FREE

More Information:  Ohio Bird Sanctuary Website

AnimalsOhio Caverns – West Liberty

Highlights: Largest caverns in the state filled with filled with crystal stalactites, stalagmites and other amazing formations.

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour

Hours: May 1 – September 30, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Last tour starts at 5 p.m.)

Cost: Adult – $17-29, Kids 5-12 – $9-$15, Kids 4 and under are FREE

More Information: Ohio Caverns Website

Day Trips From Columbus - Ohio Caverns

Markin Farms Zipline Adventures – West Liberty

Highlights: 90-acre farm with zip lines and rope course.  There is also a Junior Zipline for ages 2-6.

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: Approx 1 hour 5 minutes

Hours: Open daily throughout the summer,  9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Cost: Zipline Canopy Tour – $59 (Week Day), $65 (Weekend)

More Information: Markin Farms Zipline Adventures Website

Day Trips From Columbus - Markin Farms Ziplining

National Museum of the US Air Force  – Dayton

Highlights: Over 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles on display plus exhibits that illustrate military aviation history plus flight simulator and 3D theater

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour 10 minutes

Hours: Open daily throughout the summer,  9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Cost: Admission to the museum is FREE.

More Information: National Museum of the US Air Force Website  and Ohio Road Trips

Dayton Air Force MuseumEntertrainment Junction – Dayton

Highlights: The World’s Largest Indoor Model Train display, Children’s Interactive Play Area, American Railroading Museum, Rides

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour 40 minutes

Hours: Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm, Sunday 12pm – 6pm

Cost: Adult – $13.95, Senior (65+) $11.95, Children  (3-12) $9.95, 2 and under are FREE. Rides have an additional charge.

More Information: Entertrainment Junction Website

Young’s Jersey Dairy – Yellow Springs

Highlights: Ice cream, mini golf, giant slide, kiddie corral

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus:  50 minutes

Hours: Summer Hours (May 27th to Aug 14th)Sun-Thur 7am-11pm, Fri & Sat 7am-Midnight

Cost: Varies by activity; Family Fun Wristband for $14.95 or $20.95

More Information: Young’s Jersey Dairy Website  and A Day Trip To Yellow Springs

day trips from ColumbusVelvet Ice Cream Factory Tour – Utica

Highlights: Petting zoo, ice cream, mini golf, rides, food

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus:  1 hour 5 minutes

Hours: Weekdays 11am to 3pm (May 1st – October 31st)

Cost: FREE

More Information: Velvet Ice Cream Factory Website and Ohio Road Trips

day tripsThe Farm at Walnut Creek – Sugarcreek

Highlights: Working farm with exotic animals and horse-drawn wagon ride

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus:  1 hr 55 min

Cost: Adult $11.75, Children (3 – 12) $8.75, Seniors $8.75 (not including wagon ride)

More Information: The Farms at Walnut Creek Website

Hocking Hills State Park – Logan

Highlights: Hiking, mountain biking, camping

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour 10 minutes

Hours: Trails close at dusk in summer

Cost: FREE

More Information: Hocking Hills State Park Website  and Hocking Hills Hiking

Day Trips From Columbus - Hocking Hills

King’s Island – Mason

Highlights: Amusement park with rides for children and adults, water park, shows

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour 20 minutes

Hours: Varies by day

Cost: Adults – $49.99, Junior/Senior (under 48″ tall or 62 years and older) – $39.99; Multi-day tickets, passes and other discounts often available; Parking – $15.00

More Information: King’s Island Website

Newport Aquarium – Newport, KY

Highlights: Fish, penguins, rays, sharks and more! World of the Octopus, touch pool and shark bridge.

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour 40 minutes

Hours: Varies by day

Cost: Ages 13 and up –  $24.99, Ages 2-12 – $17.99 {On certain days and times from now until July 8, one kid gets in free with a paying full-priced adult when purchased online. Find out more: One Kid Free at Newport Aquarium 

More Information: Newport Aquarium Website

 

Check out these guides for even more great day trip ideas:

A Day Trip To Lancaster

6 Ohio Road Trips

A Day Trip To Yellow Springs

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Katie is a travel obsessed stay at home mom. She grew up in Central Ohio, but moved to New York City after high school to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology to pursue her dream of being a fashion designer. Thankfully, dreams can change. After working in the fashion industry she realized it wasn't what she was looking for. So, she moved back to Columbus to be near family. While in New York, Katie met and married her husband, Jason. Katie is now mom to 4 year old Ellie. She and her husband love to travel... a lot. Her love of travel combined with her desire to stop her brain from turning to mommy mush inspired her to start her blog, www.zenlifeandtravel.com. This platform lets her share her own travels as well as tips about her hobby, "travel hacking", aka how to use points and miles to travel for (almost) free! While traveling, Katie and her husband love to explore cities by foot which is great since she has a mild obsession with her daily number of Fitbit steps! She also recently got her open water scuba diving certification so destinations near water are high on her list of travel musts! Katie loves palm trees, yoga, fat cats and is a sucker for anything lined in leopard print. She believes that leggings are pants and purple is the best color. Her ultimate goal is to live a simple, happy life...and to travel as much as possible! In addition to her blog, you can find Katie on Instagram (@zenlifeandtravel) and (@zencolumbus) Twitter (@zen_life_travel) and Pinterest (@zenlifetravel).