Well Mommas, we’ve made it to the finishing kick of the school year. The last mile. The last leg. The last of the nightly reading log signatures… every minute COMPLETELY honest, of course. The last of the nightly scramble to find jeans without holes, shorts that pass fingertips, and some semblance of a semi-healthy looking lunch to throw in the lunchboxes. The end of the year award ceremonies and field days are nigh, and with that comes the big Mom question: “So, what are ya’ll doing this summer?!” What that really means is, “What on earth are you going to do to keep your kids restrained… ahem… busy this summer that’s cheap, fun and creates beautiful, photo worthy moments for Shutterfly books that I’ll never get around to making create and enjoy for years to come!
My family is new to the area South of the Ohio River, so rather than scratching my head, I went straight to the experts: The Moms of Boone County! So if you’re looking for some adventure across the bridge where you can Wander Around Where the Wifi is Weak, as they say, here’s what I’ve learned…
For Nature Lovers:
Big Bone Lick State Park – This state park has beautiful green space, easy ‘hiking’, and get this: Bison! That’s right, real live bison, that can be viewed up close and personal… depending on where the bison happen to be camped out when you arrive. There’s a discovery trail where you can learn about the ice age, a museum & visitor center, geocaching, and even camping if that’s your thing! Check out their website for times, information and activities.
Boone County Central Park – A park that seems to have it all. There’s a Butterfly Garden, fenced in play area, tennis courts, and an interactive learning trail. However, the most unique thing about Central Park in my humble opinion is the Arboretum, which covers 121 acres and has an easily walkable trail that weaves over 2 miles; or you may even want to bike it as it’s paved. Your sports lovers may want to bring along a baseball or soccer ball to use at one of the many sports fields you’ll pass, but if you’re a horticulturalist (or even if you struggle to keep a potted plant alive) you’ll enjoy the nearly 4,000 living plants and trees. If you want to keep track of what you’re seeing, be sure to pick up a map from one of the info kiosks.
For Lifelong Learners:
The Dinsmore Homestead – Can I just say how much I love going to Dinsmore in Burlington? Their slogan is, “Where History Lives,” and it couldn’t be more true as the house and grounds stand frozen in time and meticulously preserved from life in the mid 1850’s. You can spend nearly an entire day here between the house tour, hiking up to the Dinsmore family graveyard, checking out the outhouses, kitchen, carriages, gift shop, and then exploring a 1.83 mile hike through the Dinsmore Woods State Nature Preserve. If you have older children, be sure to log on to the website with them before you visit to learn about the family that lived there! They’ll be fascinated by all the people who lived and died right there in the Dinsmore home. Prices and times for house tours are also available on the website.
The Town of Rabbit Hash- Rabbit Hash has a completely “American” feel to it and embodies the the simple life and community feel of the Ohio Valley. At the heart of Rabbit Hash stands a revived General Store; a truly unique place and a destination in and of itself! The General Store first opened in 1831 and astoundingly has continuously operated ever since. Until just last winter, the original store building stood as Northern Kentucky’s oldest landmark along the banks of the Ohio River; however, the store was destroyed by an electrical fire in February of 2016. Fortunately, the community rallied with fundraisers and support, knowing that after surviving the Civil War, many floods and a century plus some odd decades, it simply had to be rebuilt with the same types of materials, same crooked floors and lots of love! Today, you can walk right into history with a visit to the General Store, kick back on the front porch, explore the other historic buildings and shops, possibly hear live music if you visit on a weekend, watch riverboats pass by or even book a night at the Inn in town! The Town of Rabbit Hash has a rich political heritage… they’ve literally left it to the dogs! The current mayor, Brynneth Pawltro, a 3 year old pit bull was voted in earlier this year. She just might be sniffing around!
Jane’s Saddlebag- Located in Union, Kentucky, Jane’s Saddlebag is a fun, historic, hands-on experience for the whole family. Open Fridays and weekend days, you can check out the petting zoo, explore the themed Kids Village (don’t get stuck in jail!), shop at the General Store or “Whine” Shoppe, let your kiddos burn some energy at the Kids Playland, visit the Historic Smokehouse, eat at the onsite restaurant or even relax on a hayride! And, don’t forget to check out the replica flatboat! Call or check the website before you go for ticket prices for the playland, petting zoo and hayride.
For Just Some Great Fun:
CVG Aircraft Viewing Area- Your spirits will be lifted and your heart will want to take-off with the incredible views of CVG’s airfield right off of Donaldson Road, east of the airport. You may be inclined to pack a lunch or snack to eat at the provided picnic tables and let your kids’ imaginations reach new heights in the small play area! Time will fly while you’re having fun!
Anderson Ferry- Don’t let the fact that the Anderson Ferry has been crossing back and forth from Ohio to Kentucky for 200 years stop you from taking a ride! These aren’t the original ferries used 2 centuries years ago! You can drive your car right onto the ferry or simply walk on and enjoy the view and breeze from the Ohio River. Once you dock, if you’re coming from the Cincinnati side and find yourself in Kentucky, you could make a right on River Road and drive to Giles Conrad Park and enjoy a walk or bike ride right along the river. Once you’re worn out (and your kids are still hopping), plop down on a bench while the kids play on the playground! Your kids will most likely spot a barge or two floating along the river. And, you may want an extra pair of shoes per kiddo if they discover the spots where you can walk down to the riverbank and dip your hands (or if they’re quick…. toes) in.
There are countless other places that ya’ll may want to check out that I didn’t highlight, but each is completely worth your time:
- The Florence Family Aquatic Center & Union Pool
- The Baker Hunt Art and Cultural Center in Covington (tons of kids programs!)
- The absolutely amazing libraries in Boone, Campbell and Kenton Counties (my favorite kids’ section is the Boone County Main Libary)
- The Planetarium in Campbell County (CCSD Planetarium)
- Florence Freedom Baseball
- The Creation Museum
- The Gap Clearance Outlet in Hebron
- The Galerie Candy Clearance Center in Hebron
♦ Be sure to check out their websites or call prior to visiting for additional information.
…Let the Adventure Begin!