Fun day trips for the entire family around the holidays

Museums, glow tubing among entertaining experiences.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Between the colder weather preventing certain outdoor escapades and holiday-related breaks over the next few months, the kids are likely to at least experience a few fits of boredom.

This news outlet has created a roundup of a diverse set of day trip ideas — from museums to a chocolate factory and glow tubing — sure to impress and entertain the entire family for at least long enough for you to catch your breath.

WinterFaire at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

When: Through Feb. 11, 2024. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays

Where: 3000 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis

Cost: Cost varies by day. The museum suggests buying online to save up to 20% by buying tickets two weeks in advance. The museum also offers free and discounted days throughout the year.

More info:

WinterFaire is a magical indoor world featuring a festive, carnival-like atmosphere, fun-filled games, lovable critters and hands-on activities. Play, laugh and make lifelong memories together in this one-of-a-kind indoor winter experience.

The animals of WinterFaire have used the frozen fountain’s magical water to turn the beloved slide in the Sunburst Atrium into the icy WinterSlide! The “snow” on either side will light up as you race toward the bottom. The slide is open through Jan. 7, 2024.

Face-painting is also available for an additional fee.

Holiday Junction at the Cincinnati Museum Center

When: Through Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays. Closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Christmas Day

Where: 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati

Cost: $10. Children younger than 2 are free

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The Duke Energy Holiday Trains, celebrating their 77th season, have been a Cincinnati holiday staple since 1946. Track-level views reveal intricate details of the display featuring over 300 rail cars and 60 locomotives. You can also visit Santa on the mezzanine in the Ruthven Gallery.

Also returning this year is the OMNIMAX film “Rocky Mountain Express,” allowing an impressive experience wrapped in the rugged beauty of the Canadian Rockies aboard a historic steam locomotive.

Credit: The Gorge Underground Facebook

Credit: The Gorge Underground Facebook

The Gorge Underground

When: 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily

Where: 2478 Glencarin Road, Rogers, Ky.

Cost: Prices vary per tour

More info:

The Gorge Underground, located in the Red River Gorge in Rogers, Ky., is offering guests a chance to paddle through a cavernous former mine. The flooded limestone mine has been abandoned for nearly a century.

The Red River Gorge is located in Daniel Boone National Forest in east central Kentucky.

To fully grasp the natural beauty of the abandoned mine, the Gorge Underground offers a number of different tours on boats, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, allowing guests to explore the gorge either on their own or with a guide. There are also deluxe tours where patrons can rent see-through kayaks.

Anthony-Thomas Candy Factory Tour

When: Group tours are conducted between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Large group tours are conducted at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Mondays and Fridays. Call 614-272-9221 to schedule either type of tour.

Where: Anthony-Thomas Candy Factory, 1777 Arlingate Lane, Columbus

Cost: $4 for those 18 and older. $2 for those between ages 2-17.

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What kid wouldn’t want to get to tour a real-life chocolate factory? In about an hour, tour groups can experience candy-making from start to finish in a 154,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art candy factory. Walk along a comfortable, glass-enclosed suspended “Cat-Walk” and observe nine lines producing 30,000 pounds of chocolates per shift.

Experienced tour guides explain each process step-by-step from the kitchens to the final packaging. View interesting sights such as huge copper kettles where the centers of some of the candies are created and unique silver-wrapped pipes that carry liquid chocolate throughout the factory. The tour finishes in a 2,500 square-foot retail shoppe. Best of all, everyone will leave with a free sample.

North Pole Express from the Lebanon Mason & Monroe Railroad

When: Now through the end of December

Where: 16 E. South St., Lebanon

Cost: $30 for coach class and $40 for deluxe class

More info:

The North Pole Express, operated by the LM&M Railroad, is a magical event where everyone can experience the wonder of the holiday season as they journey down the train tracks of Warren County.

Passengers spend time with Santa and his elves on the 1 hour and 15 minute festive train ride. Train cars are decorated with holiday lights and decorations. All children will receive a souvenir bell and holiday cookie. Hot chocolate will be available for purchase at the station.

Coach class features traditional bench-style seating reminiscent of 1930s-era commuter travel. All cars have heat. Deluxe class features a climate-controlled interior with comfortable, individualized seating and additional leg room.

Credit: Nate Wolleson

Credit: Nate Wolleson

Glow tubing in Mansfield

When: Jan. 4 through February 2024

Where: Snow Trails, 3100 Possum Run Rd., Mansfield

Cost: Ticket prices are $32 for two hours of tubing

More info:

Yes, you heard correctly. Snow glow tubing is within driving distance. It’s all at Mansfield’s Snow Trails in scenic Possum Run Valley. An array of colorful LED lights lines the park for all to enjoy. After hitting the slopes, guests can enjoy live entertainment or grab a bite to eat or a drink at one of the many eateries in the ski lodge on-premises. Online reservations are required.



Tobogganing at The Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation

When: Dec. 21-30: Noon to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; Dec 31-Jan. 2, 2024: Noon to 5 p.m. Dec 31, Noon to 9 p.m. Jan. 1-2; Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024: Noon to 5 p.m.

Where: 16200 Valley Parkway, Strongsville

Cost: $15 for those 12 and older. $13 for children 11 and younger

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Toboggans used to be reserved for transporting goods until someone figured out that riding on one to the bottom of an icy, snowy hill was a thrilling adventure. The whole family can travel to Strongsville to experience riding down an ice chute.

All riders must be 42 inches or taller and must wear gloves or mittens that cover fingertips in order to ride the chutes. Food will be available for purchase, but families can pack food and beverages at picnic tables. There will also be a wood-burning outdoor fireplace on the back patio to keep people warm.

Newport Aquarium

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. Closed Christmas Day.

Where: 1 Aquarium Way, Newport, Ky.

Cost: 1-day general admission is $22.99-$39.99. There are memberships and extra packages that can be purchased.

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Discover thousands of animals patrons can meet on their visit to Newport Aquarium. The collection is constantly evolving to bring fascinating new creatures and new friends to make including sharks, alligators, eels, fish and penguins.

There are numerous exhibits that children and parents will love including the shark bridge, shark touch, stingray touch, Coral Reef Tunnel, and the Penguin Palooza. Currently, Scuba Santa is swimming with his underwater friends through Sunday, Dec. 24.

Credit: Skip Peterson

Credit: Skip Peterson

Armstrong Air & Space Museum

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Closed for construction Jan. 2-12, 2024.

Where: 500 Apollo Dr., Wapakoneta

Cost: $12 for adults. $11 for seniors. $7.50 for children ages 6-12. Free for kids 5 and younger

More info:

The Armstrong Air & Space Museum is in Wapakoneta, where Neil Armstrong was born. The museum shares the story of Armstrong, all Ohioans who have attempted to defy gravity, the Space Race, and current space exploration.

The museum itself is designed to resemble a futuristic moon base. It is most beautiful when viewed at dusk. The museum features many one-of-a-kind artifacts including the Gemini VIII spacecraft, Armstrong’s Gemini and Apollo spacesuits, and an Apollo 11 moon rock. The museum is also home to two full-size aircraft, both of which were flown by Armstrong.

Ohio Caverns

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. Closed Christmas Day.

Where: 2210 E. Ohio 245, West Liberty

Cost: $24 for adults. $12 for children ages 5-12. There is also a combo tour for $36 for adults and $18 for children ages 5-12. Free for children 4 and younger.

More info:

Ohio Caverns is often recognized as “America’s most colorful caverns.” The caverns are the largest in the state, with over 2 miles of surveyed passageways ranging in depth from 30 feet to 103 feet. In the winter, one tour is offered, showing guests highlights of the caverns.

Ohio Caverns is an all-weather attraction and is open all year. Each tour is guided and is an easy walk through the cavern. All tours take approximately one hour. The temperature remains a constant 54 degrees throughout the year. The tours are educational and provide the public with an opportunity to see the wonderful world of underground beauty.

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