10 family-friendly ways to break cabin fever and enjoy winter across Dayton area

Credit: Michael Gonnella

Credit: Michael Gonnella

A cozy winter evening in can get old by the time March rolls around. With spring just out of reach, staying cooped up in the house gets more and more challenging.

Winter still has a month to go, but that doesn’t mean your plans have to freeze. The Dayton area is full of gems to thaw your spirit and get you back to enjoying the rest of the winter season.

Here are 10 ways to crack cabin fever for the whole family.

1. Escape the cold and build community in a local café

Coffee shops are a perfect catch-all for pastry lovers, first-daters, restless remote workers, coffee connoisseurs and families alike. Dayton is home to many locally-owned cafés and roasteries, all with their own charms.

Pettibone Coffee, located at 215 Woodman Drive in Riverside, breaks the cozy café mold to offer guests an open-concept space to enjoy their coffee and build community. The design of Pettibone also gives guests peek at the entire coffee roasting process. The shop sells breakfast and light lunch items to enjoy alongside Pettibone’s specialty coffees and teas. Occasionally, Pettibone hosts live music and art by local artists that guest can enjoy while sipping and staying awhile.

Dayton also is home to cat café, Gem City Catfé, and Miamisburg has Monocle Comics & Coffee for comic book lovers. Whatever your interests are, there’s probably a coffee shop experience here in Dayton to stir up your day.

2. Explore all the Dayton Metro Library has to offer

Local libraries are at the center of education, culture and creativity for communities and are often a hidden gem. Dayton Metro Library is a wonderful space for all ages to let the imagination run wild while diving into a good book, viewing seasonal exhibits and taking part in community events.

With 15 branches sprinkled across Montgomery County, there are endless books to read and exhibits to see. Beginning March 13, visitors of the main branch on East Third Street in Dayton can explore the history and science behind skin color through the Skin Color Project exhibit created by eighth graders at the Dayton Regional STEM School. The branches host storytime for toddlers, babies and preschoolers; art classes; coding classes; various club meetings; crafting sessions; a silent book club for introverts and so much more.

Check out the events calendar for all branches of the Dayton Metro Library at https://daytonmetrolibrary.evanced.info/signup/list?df=list&nd=120.

3. Check out the National Museum of the United States Air Force

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is a Dayton staple, attracting over a million visitors a year to the nation’s largest military museum.

The rich history of aviation in Ohio is on display and can be a hit with history buffs and children alike. With free admission and open seven days of the week, the museum might capture several of your wintery afternoons. After all, there are dozens of exhibits with over 350 aerospace vehicles missiles on display and thousands of artifacts to see.

For $10, guests can experience air combat in the museum’s interactive flight simulator or watch an aerospace-themed movie at the Air Force Museum Theatre.

Located at 1100 Spaatz St. in Dayton, the museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information can be found at https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Hours-and-Admission/.

4. Take a self-care day and create a terrarium at Now and Zen DIY Studio

Summon spring to the Miami Valley by creating your own terrarium at Now and Zen DIY Studio on 121 E Third St. in downtown Dayton.

Along with take-home do-it-yourself terrarium kits for purchase, the whole family can stop by the shop during walk-in hours Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to build their own terrariums together. There is a $10 makers fee per person, and each piece is priced by the specific vessels, plants and embellishments chosen. Now and Zen even has kits for kids to create and enjoy their own terrariums. Reservations are recommended and can be made at https://www.shopnowandzen.com/terrarium-bar.

The terrarium bar also hosts workshops for guests to create living wall art, sand art and other plant art sessions monthly. The living wall art workshop will be March 12 at 4:30 p.m. and open for online registration at https://www.shopnowandzen.com/open-workshop.

5. Do high tea at Communitea

Perfect for a girls day out or a whole family affair, Communitea, located at 100 Watervliet Ave. in Dayton, offers a high tea experience that will “take you back to a simpler time when life wasn’t so hectic.”

The tea room is decorated with vintage décor and furniture, and guests are encouraged to dress the part with tea hats provided by the shop. Just as the name suggests, Communitea can be a space to bond with the family or get to know new friends over finger sandwiches, homemade scones and specialty teas.

The tea room is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and seven days a week for private event and high tea reservations, which can be made by calling 937-476-7434.

6. Catch a family-friendly show at a local theatre

After a long winter of watching movies on the couch, try breaking your cabin fever with a live show. The Dayton area has many live theatre experiences, from the Schuster Center to the Victoria Theatre. The Victoria Theatre will entertain younger children March 10 and 11 with “Discovery: The Adventures Of Harold And The Purple Crayon,” and the Broadway national tour of “Anastasia” will make a run at the Schuster from March 21-26 courtesy of Dayton Live.

Town Hall Theatre, located at 27 N Main St. in Centerville, offers a more intimate theatre experience. The whole family can enjoy performances of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” on the main stage from March 3-19. Tickets bought in advance online for adults are $15, seniors and students are $13 and children 12 and under are $10. Tickets can be purchased at https://brushfire.com/washingtontwp/2022-2023-season/535518.



7. D20

Board and card games can be perfect for bringing the family together while putting screens away. D20: A Bar With Characters, located at 2144 E. Whipp Rd. in Dayton, touts an entire wall with hundreds of board and card games. Grab some friends and a table and let the games begin!

D20 has a large selection of beer, a game-themed rotating cocktail menu and a kid-friendly mocktail menu. Bar snacks are offered, but guests can order from their favorite eatery and bring food to D20 or have it delivered.

The bar also has monthly group gaming events like Ultimate Werewolf, which will be held March 24, and “Nerd Trivia” on March 16. More information about D20 can be found on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/D20Bar.

D20 is open Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 1 a.m. and Sundays from noon to 11 p.m.

Credit: Michael Gonnella

Credit: Michael Gonnella

8. 2nd Street Market

Tucked in a historical downtown Dayton freight house at 600 E. Second St. is 2nd Street Market, home to over 40 local vendors. The market is open year-round on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The weekend market provides a spot for shoppers to buy fresh produce from local growers, enjoy lunch at the market and buy artisan goods.

Several of the market’s vendors operate year-round, including Homefull, Irvin Honey, Carroll Creek Farms and Dayton Microgreens. Cuisines from Thai food to donuts are available at the market as well. Three new vendors are coming in March: Poppets Coffee & Tea, Gunash Mediterranean Cuisine and The Dayton Barbecue Company. The market even has a coookie and candy shop called Cabin Fever Confections that might just help you break your cabin fever.

Check out a full list of market vendors at https://www.metroparks.org/places-to-go/2nd-street-market/.

9. Explore the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, located at 2600 Deweese Pkwy in Dayton, will get you out of the house and transport you through time and space through its exhibits.

Boonshoft is a natural history museum, science center, children’s museum, planetarium, observatory and zoo all wrapped up in one learning adventure for the entire family. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission for children ages 3-17 are $11.50, adults are $14.50, seniors over 60 are $12.50 and children under 3 get in for free.

The museum also offers daily pop-up programming, which can be found at https://boonshoft.org/.



10. Hike through the Five Rivers MetroParks

If the winter weather doesn’t scare you off from enjoying the outdoors, hiking trails throughout the Miami Valley can be a great way to get out of the house and get some exercise for the entire family.

Explore the trails at these Five Rivers MetroParks:

-Twin Creek MetroPark | 9688 Eby Rd., Germantown

-Englewood MetroPark | 4361 W National Rd., Dayton

-Sugarcreek MetroPark | 4178 Conference Rd., Bellbrook

-Carriage Hill MetroPark | Visitors center 7800 Shull Rd., Huber Heights

Credit: Jordan Hart

Credit: Jordan Hart

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