WORTH THE DRIVE: Day trip ideas sure to entertain the entire family

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

Luckily, we’ve rounded up a diverse set of day trip ideas – from museums to interactive art exhibits and ziplining – sure to impress and entertain the entire family for at least long enough for you to catch your breath.

“Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes” exhibit at COSI



When: Nov. 26 through May 30, 2022. Currently, COSI is open from Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: COSI, 333 W. Broad St., Columbus

Cost: Admission into the exhibit is $15 per person and $13 for COSI members.

More info: www.cosi.org

Currently on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes” features more than 300 original artifacts like iconic costumes, props and original art that tell the story about Marvel and its most influential characters, such as Captain America, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange. Many of these items have never been on display. The exhibit will tell the story of the Marvel Universe through comics, film and other media.

Guests who visit the exhibit at COSI will enjoy immersive set pieces, interactive installations and other visual displays accompanied by music made by composer Lorne Balfe. The immersive experience will take visitors through the mysterious mirror dimension of Doctor Strange and into Tony Stark’s lab to test the capabilities of the Iron Man armor. After traveling through different realms within the Marvel Universe, visitors can pose next to life-size representations of Black Panther, Spider-Man and other characters.

Along with spotlighting the most popular aspects of the Marvel Universe, the exhibition also aims to show how the stories crafted by Marvel have drawn inspiration from popular culture and historical events in addition to addressing issues like gender, race and mental illness.

Immersive Van Gogh experiences in Columbus and Indianapolis

Take the kids to one of the latest art museum trends — an immersive walkthrough of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings. The Lume Indianapolis and Immersive Van Gogh in Columbus will offer their own versions of this trend this fall and winter.

The Lume Indianapolis, 4000 Michigan Road, created by Grande Experiences. Timed tickets are available Tuesday through Sunday and are $25 for adults, $17 for youth (6-17) and free for children 5 and under. The Van Gogh galleries close one and a half hours after the last ticket time. For more info: discovernewfields.org

Immersive Van Gogh, Columbus, runs from Oct. 28-Jan 2 and is designed by the team behind the “Van Gogh Starry Night” experience at Paris’ L’Atelier des Lumières seen in the Netflix show “Emily in Paris.” It will be located at Lighthouse ArtSpace Columbus at 940 Polaris Parkway. Tickets are $40 and $55. For info: columbusvangogh.com

“The Science Behind Pixar” at Cincinnati Museum Center

When: Open now through April 24, 2022

Where: Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati

Cost: Tickets are $19.50 for adults, $15.50 for children and seniors, $13.50 for CMC Member adults and $9.50 for CMC Member children.

More info: cincymuseum.org/pixar

“The Science Behind Pixar” takes a look at Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley, Edna Mode, WALL•E and more in an interactive exhibition that showcases the boundless limits of STEM, imagination and curiosity.

Through eight interactive areas, “The Science Behind Pixar” empowers guests to imagine the STEM concepts behind Pixar’s films by illuminating eight of the steps in the filmmaking process – modeling, rigging, surfaces, sets and cameras, animation, simulation, lighting and rendering. The exhibition delivers an unparalleled view of the production pipeline used by Pixar’s artists and computer scientists, featuring more than 50 interactive elements.

Winter at The Wilds

When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. from November through April by reservation only

Where: The Wilds, 14000 International Rd., Cumberland

Cost: General admission is $125; Wilds member admission is $100; lodge guest admission is $60.

More info: Website

Guests who reserve a winter safari at The Wilds, a safari park and conservation center located east of Columbus, are in for a rare treat. The Winter at The Wilds Tour will take guests behind the scenes to see animals such as giraffes and rhinos in their winter housing. Guests will not go through the pastures as they would during a tour in the warmer months, but can spend an extended amount of time in each barn to meet and greet the animals in their winter enclosures. There are also opportunities to discuss the history of each animal with a member of The Wilds’ Animal Management team.

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Credit: Grahm S. Jones

Credit: Grahm S. Jones

When: Nov. 19 through Jan. 2; Sunday through Thursday from 5 pm. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: 4850 W. Powell Road, Powell

Cost: To be announced.

More info: Website | Facebook

The Columbus Zoo is back with its annual holiday tradition — the Wildlights, a holiday lights display that covers the entire zoo with over three million LED lights.

The festivities follow regular zoo hours, which begin at 10 a.m.

Along with the lights display, guests have the opportunity to enjoy a number of other holiday-related sights such as the Polar Bear Express, camel rides and visits with Santa and zoo animals.

Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Credit: Andy Spessard

Credit: Andy Spessard

When: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Conservatory Aglow runs from Nov. 20 through Jan. 9 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Where: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus

Cost: Daily admission is $19 per adult or teen, $16 per senior 60 years of age and older and $12 for children between the ages of three and 12.

More info: www.fpconservatory.org

Visitors to the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus this holiday season will have a sweet surprise in store. From Nov. 20 through Jan. 9, the conservatory will debut holiday displays created by thousands of lights. Visitor favorites, like the musical light show and Gingerbread House, will remain while new displays, like the reimagined Topiary Collection, will be brand new to all.

Aside from holiday lights displays, the kids will enjoy the Paul Busse Garden Railway, open through Jan. 9. The garden railway consists of nine G-scale model trains that travel across 1,000 feet of track, exploring botanical landscapes themed after the Wild West, fairytales, European villages and animal habitats.

Through Nov. 28, the conservatory will show the exhibit “Resilience in Nature: We Are the Roses that Grew from the Concrete.” The exhibit exclusively displays the work of Black artists in central Ohio and strives to “connect people with nature while strengthening the community.”

Glow Tubing in Mansfield

Credit: Nate Wolleson

Credit: Nate Wolleson

When: No definitive dates have been announced, though the season ranges from approximately late December to late February.

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

Cost: Ticket prices have yet to be announced. Tickets can be purchased during the second week of November.

More info: Website

Yes, you heard correctly: Snow glow tubing. And it’s within driving distance of Dayton! It’s all at Mansfield’s Snow Trails in scenic Possum Run Valley. An array of colorful LED lights line 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.

The Gorge Underground

Credit: The Gorge Underground Facebook

Credit: The Gorge Underground Facebook

When: Open daily from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: 2478 Glencarin Rd., Rogers, Kentucky

Cost: Prices vary per tour.

More info: gorgeunderground.com

The Gorge Underground, located in the Red River Gorge in Rogers, Kentucky, 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, approximately a three-hour drive from Dayton.

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.

“A Christmas Story” House and Museum

When: Normal hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

Where: 3159 W. 11th St., Cleveland

Cost: General Admission is $15; children three to 12 are $11; seniors (60+) are $14, and children two and under can get in for free. Admission includes admittance to both the house and museum.

More info: www.achristmasstoryhouse.com

Even if you’re not a fan of Christmas movies, it’s likely that you have at least watched “A Christmas Story” at least once in your lifetime (to help jog your memory, it contains a very famous scene in which one of the young boys gets his tongue stuck to an icy flagpole).

Though the movie takes place in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana, many of the scenes involving Ralphie Parker and his family were filmed at a historic home in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland.

Fans of “A Christmas Story” can now pay a visit to the home where all of the holiday action took place, still decorated to reflect the 1940s era of the movie. In fact, each room nearly or exactly mirrors the setting laid out in the movie (complete with a leg lamp in the front window).

Directly across the street from the historic house is “A Christmas Story” Museum, featuring original props, costumes, memorabilia and hundreds of never-before-seen photographs from the filming of the movie. While you’re there, be sure to check out the toys from Higbee’s window, Randy’s snowsuit, the chalkboard from Miss Shields’ classroom and the family car.

Louisville Mega Cavern

When: Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: 1841 Taylor Ave., Louisville, Kentucky

Cost: Prices vary per activity.

More info: louisvillemegacavern.com

Travel underground to experience a number of adventures, like ziplining, tram tours, 90-minute walking tours and an aerial ropes challenge course.

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