Things To Do With Kids in Lake Erie & Northern Ohio


It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Things To Do With Kids post. I had a bit of a dry spell with submissions, but today I’m excited to share with you some great things to do with kids in Lake Erie and Northern Ohio. Longtime faithful blog reader and commenter, Lee Ann, volunteered to share her insider information on this gorgeous area. I’ll let her take it from here!

Things To Do With Kids in Lake Erie & Northern Ohio

Does your family enjoy water, animals, amusement parks, and/or history? If so, then you will enjoy everything the Sandusky, Ohio, area has to offer! The area located on Lake Erie, between Cleveland and Toledo, has many things for families. There are several small towns that make up this area, all within a 30 minute drive or less from Sandusky. Some of these places are open for the summer season and have admission fees.

Sandusky is located on Lake Erie and is home to Cedar Point, the “roller coaster capital”. Here you will find roller coasters as well as merry-go-rounds, kiddie rides, water rides and a train. There is live entertainment and an evening laser light show. There is also a beach. Soak City (waterpark) and Challenge Park are other places to visit at Cedar Point with separate admission fees.

Cedar Point, across from Sandusky Bay
Cedar Point, across from Sandusky Bay

If amusement parks aren’t your family’s thing, you can choose from two indoor waterparks.

Kalahari has an African theme where you can get your picture taken with a baby tiger and other African animals.

Kalahari Indoor and Outdoor Waterparks and Outdoor Adventure Park

Great Wolf Lodge has a wilderness theme and was the first indoor waterpark in Ohio.

In addition to their waterparks, both places have several restaurants, arcades, and family-oriented activities so you won’t need to leave the resort.

Downtown Sandusky offers a park with a playground, picnic shelter and great views of Lake Erie and the islands. Fishing is permitted with a license. You can ride an indoor merry-go-round and watch carvers work on a project at The Merry-Go-Round Museum in downtown Sandusky.

Merry-Go-Round Museum
Merry-Go-Round Museum

After a busy day, make your way to the local dairy for ice cream! Toft’s Dairy and Ice Cream Parlor offers homemade delicious frozen treats and call ahead tours.

Lagoon Deer Park is a petting zoo with animals from around the world. You can walk through the animals as you feed them.

Lake Erie Islands
Kelleys Island is a small island where you can see the 20,000 year old glacier grooves left in limestone by a giant ice sheet. South Bass Island (Put in Bay) is home to Perry’s Cave, a butterfly house, parks and miniature golf. You can take an elevator to the top of Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial (built to honor those who fought during the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812) and see Michigan and Ontario, Canada. The islands can be accessed by ferry (you can take your car), private boat, or airplane. Bicycles and golf carts can be rented for traveling around each island, if needed.

Sandusky Bay overlooking Lake Erie Islands
Sandusky Bay overlooking Lake Erie Islands

Milan, OH
Visit the Birthplace of Thomas Edison in Milan, Ohio, about a 15 minute drive south of Sandusky, to see where Edison lived for his first seven years and see many of his inventions. Take a short walk to the Milan Museum Complex (7 buildings) and learn about the history of this historic town and see an antique doll collection and other toys of the time.

The Birthplace of Thomas Edison
The Birthplace of Thomas Edison

Fremont, OH
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center is in Fremont, a short drive from Sandusky. Hayes was governor of Ohio and the 19th U.S. president. On the grounds are the presidential library, museum, and family estate.

Marblehead, OH
The Marblehead Lighthouse and the Keeper’s House are open for tours. There is a small charge to climb the lighthouse.

If your kids are train lovers, they will love Train-O-Rama. This indoor facility has Ohio’s largest operating multi-gauge model railroad display.

Port Clinton, OH
Port Clinton is a short drive from Marblehead along the Lake Erie. Here you can visit African Safari Wildlife Park. Drive through the animals and feed them right from your car!

Monsoon Lagoon is an outdoor water park with go carts, bumper boats, and miniature golf.

Bellevue, OH 
Bellevue is south of Lake Erie where you can visit Seneca Caverns, one of the area’s largest underground caverns.

Mad River and NKP Railroad Museum is another train lover’s fun. Go inside train cars filled with lanterns, uniforms, locks, and other items from railroading.

Historic Lyme Village depicts life in the area during the 19th century. There are several buildings to visit including a one-room school and a house used as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Toledo is an hour drive to the west, and Cleveland is an hour to the east so a day trip can be taken to either city.  Both have children’s museums and fabulous zoos (Toledo Zoo was voted one of the Top 10 zoos in the U.S.).

Plan a visit to Lake Erie and enjoy Sandusky and its neighboring communities. There is so much to explore!

Lee Ann Rasey lives in Milan, Ohio, with her husband and two daughters. She is a teacher at the elementary school in town. Her family enjoys traveling to new places.

For more family travel, see all of my Things To Do With Kids posts.


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