Lake Erie Shores & Islands® is one of the nation’s hot spots for indoor waterparks and features the country’s largest. But that’s just whetting the appetite for family fun both indoors and outdoors too.
If you’re looking to escape the cold, stick with the insiders and be sure to nab the new 3M Family Pass to the Merry-Go-Round Museum, Maritime Museum and Milan Historical Museum. But don’t stop there. Visit Ghostly Manor, enjoy a little star gazing at the planetarium, play laser tag or paint pottery together. If history piques your interest, don’t miss the birthplace of one of the world’s greatest inventors and the nation’s first Presidential library and museum.
If Ohio’s great white north means seizing the day and embracing the cold, then Lake Erie Shores & Islands has more in store for this winter than ever before! Sawmill Creek Resort is pulling out all the stops to transform itself into a winter wonderland offering ice skating, cross-country skiing, tubing, snow shoeing and plenty of hot cocoa, as long as the winter weather cooperates. But if you really want a picturesque setting to freeze a family memory, go to the Arctic Ice Festival and Ice-A-Fair to Remember.
Whatever you choose to do to beat the winter blahs, whether it turns you inside or out, or both, Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands® has become a perfect winter escape for families near and far.
Now, about that new 3M Museum Pass. The entire family gains admission to three popular museums for a total of only $45. Sandusky’s Merry-Go-Round Museum offers trips to childhood no matter your age. At the center of the museum is a 1939 Allan Herschell carousel – fully operational. The exhibits feature rare carousel animals prized for their artistry. Take the tour and enjoy chatting with and learning from actual carvers as they build and restore carousel animals. Then, get your sea legs over to the Maritime Museum of Sandusky where shipwrecks and boat building are shared with interactive displays and activities for all ages. The Milan Historical Museum is usually closed in February but is opening to be a part of this special package deal. It consists of a multi-building campus featuring a blacksmith shop, general store and carriage shed. Explore the history of canals and shipbuilding, see old-time toys and a renowned glass collection.
Not part of the 3M Museum Pass, but equally entertaining and educational, next door is the birthplace of Thomas Edison. Step inside and see the world that shaped him at an impressionable age and see displays of some of his accomplishments. Another stop is Hayes Presidential Center where you enter through the original gates from the White House. During the winter, the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Museum and Library remain open. If you are there February 18-20, they’ll be offering sleigh rides, weather permitting.
Weather is always permitting at indoor waterparks! Come, catch a wave. That’s right, surfing in Ohio – in February. Choose from a variety of options to best suit your family. Take your pick from Kalahari Resorts, Great Wolf Lodge, Rain Water Park, and Castaway Bay. Spend the night to enjoy all there is to offer or get a day pass at selected waterparks.
Cedar Point’s Castaway Bay has a tropical Caribbean theme. This island-like paradise features an eye-popping, five-story structure with a vaulted wood ceiling that covers a natural setting of palm trees, huts and inland lagoons. At Quality Inn & Suites Rain Water Park the forecast is “always fun.” How can it not be with a 50-foot tower leading guests to two giant waterslides, each plunging more than 250 feet? Great Wolf Lodge’s oasis is always 84 degrees. It features jaw-dropping waterslides, interactive games, nightly fireside story time in the grand lobby and cabin-inspired suites. Kalahari is an authentic African-themed resort with more than 160,000 square feet of watery fun. New this winter are 4,100 square foot, two story Entertainment Villas, which feature five bedrooms, nine flat screen televisions, living room with fireplace, rec room with pool table, fully equipped kitchen, hot tub and a whole lot more.
If thrills are what you seek, look no further than Ghostly Manor Thrill Center. It’s one of America’s best haunts and it’s open all year. There’s a scare at every turn as you wander through the old mansion. While you’re there, hop into the XD 3D Theater for some hair-raising fun, complete with wind effects. If that’s too extreme – no worries – this complex also has a slow lane. Slap on roller skates, rollerblades or scooters and wheel around Skateworld. And if the snow outside has you longing for the greens, try the Wizard’s Journey 3-D Blacklight Interactive Miniature Golf for a change of pace.
Insiders will also enjoy Ohio’s largest operating multi-gauge model railroad display at Train-O-Rama or gazing at the stars for about an hour at Sidney Frohman Planetarium. A couple of other family-fun options include Lazer Runner Laser Tag where laser tag is enjoyed in a futuristic maze with fog, music and black lighting. If you just want to relax, try your hand at painting pottery at Pottery Pizzazz.
With all of that indoor activity, you may be bursting with cabin-fever and long to feel that crisp northern Ohio air fill your lungs. If you decide to take the family out, Lake Erie Shores & Islands has much to offer there too.
Welcome to Sawmill Creek Resort where it’s one-stop shopping for snow shoeing, sledding, cross-country skiing and ice-skating. All of these activities and more are available daily, weather permitting, whether you’re lodging there or not. It’s part of their Snow Fest so slap on some skates and take an old-fashioned spin around the frozen pond, laughing all the way. You may bring your own skates or rent. When it’s time to warm up, step inside for hot cocoa and other treats. If you want to burn calories, grab a trail map and enjoy cross-country skiing across the scenic landscape. You must bring your own skis but snowshoes are available for rent if you want to explore the elements that way.
Perhaps the greatest visuals of winter beauty are when artistry and ice become one.
Sandusky Arctic Ice Festival is February 4-5. Located at the Maritime Museum of Sandusky, Erie County Senior Center and the Sandusky Sailing Club, the scene is a buzz with carvers turning out masterpieces in ice. Visitors are entertained by the live action as a block of ice turns into something wonderful right before their eyes. But other offerings are special as well. These include educational opportunities in ice harvesting, ice fishing, diving demonstrations and ice boat races. In addition, there’s a soup cook-off and Underground Railroad trolley tours. Also on February 4th, there’s an Ice-A-Fair to Remember in Vermilion. Here too, ice sculptors are at work displaying their creations throughout downtown. And the kids can meet Frosty the Snowman.
Turn your February inside out with hot family fun at Lake Erie Shores & Islands®. Details about the 3M Pass, hours and fees for any of the aforementioned attractions and activities are available at www.SHORESandISLANDS.com or by calling 419-625-2984.
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