A museum visitor enjoying the T-38 Sit-in Cockpit in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

10 ideas for spring-break fun close to home

It’s spring break season!

If you’re enjoying a little sunshine in Florida right now, we’re jealous. 

If instead you’ve opted for that spring break staycation, here are 10 ideas for some fun kid-friendly excursions close to home while school is out. 

We promise these activities will offer fun, get the kids out of the house and maybe cut down the bickering just a little bit. Some are just for fun and others blend fun and education.

Happy spring break!

>> 12 museums you must visit in Dayton

Audri Lewis, left and Addison Lucas look for birds in the Meadwestvaco Treehouse area Boonschoft Museum of Discovery. JIM WITMER / STAFF
Photo: Jim Witmer

1. BOONSHOFT MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY

The fun: An indoor mini-zoo complete with entertaining river otters, meerkats, a bobcat and more; space and astronomy exhibits and a space theater; an interactive color wall perfect for dancing; water tables; climbing tower and slide; tidal pool for interacting with sea critters; a treehouse perfect for bird-watching; pretend play stations and a play space just for children 4 and younger. 

Current exhibitions: Dinosaur Discovery will show through April 14, 2019. Visitors will come eye-to-eye with an animatronic Triceratops or even the T-Rex skull.

Location: 2600 DeWeese Parkway, Dayton 

Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. (special exhibits 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Sunday noon-5 p.m. Closed on major holidays, including Easter. 

Prices: Children (3-17) $11.50, seniors (60+) $12.50, adults $14.50. Children under 3 and members are free. 

Info: Website or Facebook

>> What to expect at Boonshoft’s Dinosaur Discovery

>> PHOTOS: Sneak peek inside Boonshoft’s dinosaur exhibit

>> The best indoor play spaces near Dayton

Electric go-carts zip around the track at Scene75, a perfect destination for indoor family fun. TY GREENLEES/STAFF
Photo: Contributing Writer

2. SCENE 75

The fun: More than 140 arcade games, an inflatable play area complete with a 36-foot-high slide, mini-bowling, laser tag, indoor go-karts, spinning bumper cars, virtual reality arcade and black light mini golf. 

>> Scene 75 to add drop tower ride

Location: 6196 Poe Ave., Vandalia. 

Info: 937-619-3200 

Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed to the public Mondays and Tuesdays. Extended spring break hours the week of March 24-30 (10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday).

Prices: No admission charge. Priced per attraction. Preload gaming cards and swipe at each attraction. Attraction prices range from $2-$12 per person and arcade games range from $0.25 to $3 per game.  

Info: Website or Facebook

>> For the grown-ups: 7 bar and gaming arcades to visit in Dayton

A museum visitor enjoying the F-4D Phantom II Sit-in Cockpit in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

3. NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE

The fun: It’s no secret Dayton has a rich history in flight and aviation. And most kids are amazed by planes. Visit the Air Force Museum to see some impressive aircraft or check out flight simulators or 3D films. The National Museum of the United States Air Force features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles along with thousands of historical items and powerful sensory exhibits that bring history to life and connect the Wright brothers' legacy with today's technology.  

Location: 1100 Spaatz St., Wright-Patterson AFB 

Hours: Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Christmas Day, Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. 

Prices: Free admission and parking 

Info: Website or Facebook

>> Must-see planes at the Air Force Museum

Aullwood Farm was the place to be on Saturday, May 13, 2017, for the annual Farm Babies Fest. Visitors had the chance to ooh and aah over baby animals, plus get a taste for life on the farm at this annual event at 9101 Frederick Pike, Dayton.

4. AULLWOOD AUDOBON CENTER AND FARM 

The fun: Step back in time when you visit an 1880s barn with draft horses, cattle, sheep, goats and hogs. Surrounding pastures are home to cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys. See chickens in portable pens spring through fall. Outlying buildings and paddocks house turkeys, more chickens and an educational garden. Best for a warmer day. Aullwood consists of two major locations, Aullwood Nature Center and Aullwood Farm, connected by six miles of walking trails running through a 200-acre nature sanctuary. You can begin your visit at either site, then enjoy a scenic walk in the Nature Sanctuary along trails leading to the other location or take a quick car ride instead. Your payment at either location pays your admission to both. 

Location: The Nature Center is located at 1000 Aullwood Road, Dayton. The Farm is located at 9101 Frederick Pike in Dayton.

Hours: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Closed most holidays. 

Prices: Admission is $7 for adults (12 and over), $5 for children 3-11 and free for children under age 2. Members of Friends of Aullwood and National Audubon Society receive free admission with membership card. 

Info: Website or Facebook 

>> PHOTOS: ADORABLE farm babies!!

Brukner Nature Center: This place is a thrill for outdoorsy types. There is a combination of wildlife, Ohio history and trails for hiking, which makes this a great place to go exploring. Check out their events and programs – Bird Hikes and Family Discovery Days are held every month!
Photo: Jessica Herndon

5. BRUKNER NATURE CENTER

The fun: Brukner Nature Center operates the largest licensed wildlife rehabilitation unit in the Miami Valley. It also doubles as a great family-friendly destination to experience nature. Go take a nature walk with your family on easy-to-navigate trails that span 6 miles. Visit some 50 animals from birds, to owls to possums that can no longer survive in the wild housed in indoor and outdoor exhibits. Go birdwatching in a tree-top vista accessible from the interpretive building. Don’t miss the historical 1804 log house.  

Location: 5995 Horseshoe Bend Road, just outside of Troy  

Hours: The interpretive building is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 12:30-5 p.m. Trails are open from sunrise to sunset.  

Prices: $2.50 per person or $10 per family (parents and children under 18) for admission to the interpretive building. Cash or check only. Sunday admission is free. Admission free for BNC members.  

Info: Website or Facebook 

>> 4 reasons to visit Troy

A 36-foot-diameter Carousel of Innovation is the centerpiece Carillon Historical Park's new Heritage Center of Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship.

6. CARILLON HISTORICAL PARK

The fun: At Carillon, a 65-acre open air museum, learning is fun. Learn about Dayton’s role in history by strolling through the park’s 25 historical buildings and interacting with the hundreds of artifacts in the exhibits. See the original 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world’s first practical airplane, built by Wilbur and Orville Wright. Visit Dayton’s oldest building from 1796, Newcom’s Tavern. See the largest carillon in Ohio. Take a ride on the carousel of Dayton innovations or see some of Dayton’s innovators come to life in an interactive theater presentation (sort of like the Hall of Presidents at Disney). Hungry? Stop by the 1940s-style diner Culp’s Café (which opens for the season April 1). 

Location: 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton 

Hours: Monday to Saturday: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday: noon-5 p.m. 

Prices: $10 per adult (ages 18-59), $9 per senior, $7 per child (3 –17). Children under 3 and Dayton History members free. Carousel is $1 per ride for every person who rides.  

Info: Website or Facebook 

>> Carillon spotlighted in New York Times

Peek under a mushroom cap to see beautiful designs. Photo courtesy of the Dayton Art Institute

7. DAYTON ART INSTITUTE EXPERIENCENTER 

The fun: The museum’s interactive Lange Family Experiencenter is the perfect spot for the younger set to experience art. Find creative play stations including a puppet theater and problem-solving activities. Create your own work of art on easels. While you’re there, don’t miss a major work of art created with jelly beans. After you experience the Experiencecenter, stroll through the museum’s permanent collection. 

Location: 456 Belmonte Park North, Dayton 

Hours: Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday: noon – 5 p.m. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays and on major holidays. Leo Bistro restaurant is temporarily closed.

Prices: Suggested general admission to The Dayton Art Institute's permanent collection:  

- Adults: $8 

- Seniors (60+), Active Military & Groups: $5 

- College Students (18+ with ID): Free 

- Youth & Children (17 and under): Free 

- Members: Free 

- Some special exhibits carry a separate admission charge. 

Info: Website or Facebook 

>> Special exhibit: A history of American Art

At Children's Discovery Garden at Wegerzyn Garden Center, kids can play in sand and water, pick up a watering can and water the plants, and make music on drums and pipes and xylophones.
Photo: Contributed photo

8. WEGERZYN’S CHILDREN’S DISCOVERY GARDEN

The fun: On a warm, sunny day, Wegerzyn Gardens Metropark is a must-see. This child-friendly place to discover and experience gardening offers nature play for kids. Explore the sensory garden. Navigate a musical maze, water plants using an old-fashioned pump, build a home for gnomes and fairies, crawl through a cave and find fossils or design your own garden.  

Location: 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton  

Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Hours will extend April 1 through summer to 10 p.m.. This activity is weather contingent, so it’s best to call ahead at 937-277-6545 to confirm the Children’s Discovery Garden is open. 

Prices: Free admission 

Info: Website or Facebook 

>> The best spring hikes in Dayton

Rylee Sallee gets a brain freeze while having ice cream at Young's Jersey Dairy. Staff photo by Marshall Gorby

9. YOUNG’S JERSEY DAIRY

The fun: ICE CREAM! Oh, and there’s also a petting zoo with goats, cows and more, an 18-hole farm-themed mini-golf course, driving range, batting cages, three-lane slide. Did we mention the delicious homemade ice cream?? This destination is also best-suited for a warm day for maximum spring fun. 

Location: 6880 Springfield-Xenia Road, Yellow Springs 

Hours: Hours vary by attraction and seasonally. Click here for more info. 

Prices: No admission fee, but costs per activity. Wristband deals are available at The Dairy Store, Young’s Farmstead Cheese Marketplace, Udders & Putters or The Golden Jersey Inn. 

Info: Website or Facebook

>> Annual homemade ice cream pint sale starts this week

>> 5 things to do in Yellow Springs 

Photo: Kevin Winzeler

10. SKY ZONE TRAMPOLINE PARK 

The fun: No better way to bounce off some energy than this place. Bounce and flip on trampolines. Soar into a cushy foam pit or play a friendly game of dodgeball. 

Location: 976 Senate Drive, Washington Twp. 

Hours: Hours vary. Hourly capacity is limited to a specific number of jumpers, so to guarantee a jump time, buy your tickets online and fill out waiver. Special socks required. Spring break extended hours through March 31.

Waiver: Required and available here

Prices (include sky socks): 

- 30-minute jump: $13 

- 60-minute jump: $17 

- 90-minute jump: $21 

- 120-minute jump: $24 

Info: Website or Facebook

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