With the snow beginning to melt and the promise of warmer weather bright on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about spring break.
Maybe you usually pile the kids in the car and head to Florida, or maybe you like to go north to Michigan for the week. Whatever your usual plans, many local residents are looking for more wallet-friendly, close-to-home alternatives this year.
Luckily, the Tristate is brimming with family fun opportunities just a short drive away. From local museums to laser tag, you can find a great spring getaway for you and your family, and one that won’t be spoiled by that unpredictable spring weather.
CoCo Key Water Resort
At the CoCo Key Water Resort, it’s always 84 degrees and sunny. Get away to the tropical islands without leaving the Tristate when you visit the more than 50,000 square feet of indoor water park fun.
In March and April, the indoor water resort is offering a three-day Splash & Swim Getaway, with packages starting at $279. The offer includes a room for two nights, four water park passes, and additional perks such as arcade cards and meal vouchers.
Crowne Plaza Cincinnati North, 11320 Chester Road, Sharonville. (513) 552-6255 or www.cocokeywaterresort.com.
Lazer Kraze is a fun way to let off some steam and learn leadership skills at the same time.
During spring break, kids can participate in a two- or three-day camp (the length is still to be decided) that’s centered around team activities. Kids take turns as team captains and play laser tag in a variety of game formats.
Lazer Kraze to GO! is another option. You can rent Lazer Kraze’s portable laser tag system, which includes 14 tactical laser tag rifles, starting at $250 an hour.
3187 Western Row, Maineville. (513) 339-1030 or www.lazerkraze.com. 1335 Donaldson Road, Erlanger. (859) 371-5729 or www.lazerkraze.com.
Cincinnati Museum Center
The Museum Center has plenty of events planned that are sure to interest kids (and adults) of all ages.
On March 20 and 21 at the Museum of Natural History & Science, participate in a real dissection of a dogfish shark. At the Duke Energy Children’s Museum on April 24, the Cultural Centre of India performs the country’s traditional dances. On April 30 at the Cincinnati History Museum, plant a virtual tree for Arbor Day and collect tracings of tree leaves in the history forest.
1301 Western Ave., West End. (513) 287-7000 or www.cincymuseum.org.
Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge is getting into the spring spirit by offering guests a “Spring Break Blast” special from March 19 to April 10. The deal will include passes to Great Wolf’s indoor water park beginning at 1 p.m. on the day of check-in and lasting the entire day of check-out. (For rate information, visit Great Wolf’s web site at www.greatwolf.com/mason.)
During March and April, Great Wolf will also offer plenty of extra activities for family fun, including Beach Bingo, springtime crafts and movie nights. Families can also head to the lodge on Easter weekend for an Easter egg hunt, duck race and Easter bunny meet and greet.
2501 Great Wolf Drive, Mason. (513) 459-8885 or www.greatwolf.com/mason.
Taft Museum of Art
At the Taft Museum, the focus is on the family. On March 6, the museum’s Families Create series heads to the Weston Art Gallery, where kids ages 5 through 12 can explore the CANstruction exhibit and design their own soup can labels.
On March 28, the Cincinnati Boychoir presents its annual concert series in a special performance inspired by the masterworks of Dickenson and Rembrandt.
316 Pike St., downtown. (513) 241-0343 or www.taftmuseum.org.
Cincinnati Art Museum
To coincide with its new exhibit, Starburst, which looks at the progression of color photography in America, the museum is featuring two family-friendly events in April.
The first is “Family First Saturday: Film Fest” on April 3, where families can explore examples of color photography and meet and learn from visiting artists. The second is “Culture Kids: Say Cheese” on April 9, which targets kids ages 2 through 5 and introduces them to art through story time, tours and hands-on activities.
953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams. (513) 639-2995 or www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org.
While the aquarium always offers plenty of interactive activities, such as touching a shark or meeting penguins, the month of April is extra special. That’s when the popular Sweet Pea — one of the only shark rays on display in the world — celebrates her birthday. (She’ll be 5 this year.)
The birthday celebration will feature special dive shows, an underwater birthday cake and special feedings. Visitors can even sing “Happy Birthday” to her or sign a giant birthday card.
1 Aquarium Way, Newport. (859) 261-7444 or www.newportaquarium.com
Cincinnati Observatory Center
Since 1873, Cincinnati has been studying the stars from the Observatory on Mount Adams. The first and biggest telescope of its kind was imported from Germany in 1842 by Ormsby McKnight Mitchel — an amazing figure in local history who was a friend to presidents, a graduate of West Point, a stirring speaker and a Civil War general.
The historic observatory still operates with two telescopes: the original, and a more recent (1904) model. Free lectures and star viewing through the revolving observatory are offered on most Thursday and Friday evenings. The Observatory is also open for public stargazing one Saturday night per month at the Mount Lookout landmark.
3489 Observatory Place, Cincinnati. (513) 321-5186 or www.cincinnatiobservatory.org.