I have four children with very unique personalities and interests. Often, we visit a place and a couple love it and the other two aren't as into it. The Mississsippi Children's Museum, however, really did have something for everyone. There was a giant scrabble board for older kids, a quiet reading nook for those who needed a little bit of quiet, and several climbing structures that explored different facets of the Mississippi Economy: forestry, drilling, medical, history, and even a section dedicated to home life. The outdoor area had an edible garden and plenty of materials for free building. We only had a few hours as we were driving through, but could have easily stayed all day!
I ate at Del Monte Café with my kids (7 and 3) and extended family. We all really enjoyed our meal.
It started with the server/host bringing a basket of toys and goldfish to keep the kids occupied while we ordered and waited for our food. Genius!
The food was great americana style breakfast. The kids smiley pancake was huge and came with one piece of bacon and fruit for the eyes, ears, and nose. My family enjoyed the 2+2+2 and the granola float as well.
It's in a cute location in the Railroad Historic Area with lots of parking available in the parking lot across the street.
We will be back!
We went last year and the Santa was great and super easy to get pictures with him. Loved that I didnt have to stand in line and my kids had more than just a few minutes with Santa. I highly recommend that when they do again this year, sign up to reserve your space early!
My family visited Summer's Farm on Opening Day 2016. I love visiting fall festivals early in the season; the corn mazes are in great shape, the crowds are less and all the staff are as friendly as can be.
My kids, ages 6 and 7, have a real love for corn mazes, especially ones with stations to find and mysteries to solve.
I enjoy letting them get lost and take turns making the call on which direction we turn next. The maze at Summer's Farm is great; Marylanders will love the Baltimore Orioles theme. Our family liked that it was easy to feel a bit lost,but not too difficult to get going in the right direction again -- perfect.
There was a mystery to solve and Orioles trivia questions to guide you through the maze.
The smaller maze is prefect for little ones. There's a cute story, space to run through the corn, and only direction to go so that no one gets lost.
Places to Play - Elementary School Age
We loved the zip lines, mini golf, hay bales to climb on, and jumping pillow. Yes, the kids will get worn out here.
Places to Play - Little Ones
There are farm animals to feed, small play structures to climb, balls to bounce on, a couple of slides, parent-child swings, and more. Important to note: There is a rest area for moms with babies and toddlers with changing tables and a rocker.
The Parent Perspective
Having temporarily relocated from California to Maryland about two years ago, I've made it a point to really enjoy all things fall as much as possible while we live in the DC area. (Because fall in California simply isn't the same.) We've gone to at least 5 or 6 different fall festivals in the two years that we've been here and each has something different to offer. The kids have fun no matter where we go, but as a parent, I most appreciate the festivals that are well-organized. Summer's Farm has a great layout, fun activities for kids of all ages, and manages the crowds remarkably well.
The layout of the festival is very open. Providing there aren't crowds in the way, you can easily see from one activity to the next. So, you could easily let older kids shoot hoops while watching your tots on some nearby play equipment.
Even if you're not going to purchase a pumpkin, do not miss the pumpkin patch. There are some humongous pumpkins out there - perfect for family photo ops.
As this was our first pumpkin patch visit of the season, we did select pumpkins. I was impressed by the variety of sizes and types of pumpkins available out in the patch.
I highly recommend Summer's Farm because it is such an easy place for the whole family to have a lot of fun.
Disclosure: My family received complimentary tickets to opening weekend at the fall festival. All opinions are my own.
Having lived in Washington DC and New York City, my family has rather high standards when it comes to zoos, and this one was a surprisingly great find.
Because of our late arrival in the state on our roadtrip, this review is based on only a two-and-a-half-hour visit to the zoo, but a family could easily spend an entire day enjoying all of the exhibits and special experiences.
The Columbus Zoo is enormous! The attraction spans 582 acres, 140 of which are developed as exhibits and public spaces. The zoo is organized by six geographic regions: Asia Quest, North America and Polar Frontier, The Shores, Australia and the Islands, African Forest and Heart of Africa.
It's home to more than 10,000 animals representing over 575 species -- 40 of which are endangered and 33 that are threatened animal species.
During our visit, we took a quick shuttle from the entry village to the 43-acre Heart of Africa, where we first spent time with the lion pride exhibit. The lions live behind a see-through enclosure that allows them to lounge in close view of zoo-goers while enjoying a replica of their natural environment. My kids were thrilled to safely see the lions that close.
A highlight of the Heart of Africa area is the special exhibit in tribute to Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the zoo and the celebrity zookeeper responsible for its considerable reputation. There are many photos of Jack and his family, a replica of his camp (in Africa) surrounded by monkeys, and quotes by him all over the area. The kids thought it was funny how there were also photos of Hanna with his fellow animal-lover, Betty White.
In addition to the lions and monkeys, we stopped to see the dromedary camel, gazelles, zebra, etc. Unfortunately the camel rides were not available when we were there, but we were able to ride the train in the North America area.
Over in North America, we also spent a good bit of time checking out the petting zoo area. The kids helped groom goats, and they were occupied for a quite a while getting to know the different animals and the volunteers minding the area. It was actually hard to keep going from the petting area, because my kids got to touch and brush so many animals and also talk to folks who knew a lot about animals.
Ultimately we had an amazing time walking around the various areas of the zoo, and some of other favorite animal exhibits include the Polar Frontier (we love baby polar bear Nora, and we're sad she has to go!), the Humboldt Penguin and Caribbean Flamingo in the Shores and Aquarium, and the many snakes in the Reptile Habitat.
If you're looking for a fabulous all-day or half-day outing in Central Ohio, definitely check out the Columbus Zoo.
Disclosure: This review is based on a complimentary visit to The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. I received no other compensation.