Oh my! Where did the summer go? If your house is like mine, we are making piles of school supplies, trying to adjust sleep schedules and having all the last minute fun we can enjoy before school starts!

My son enjoying one of his final school-free days!

Zoombezi Bay is open daily until August 23rd, then only open on weekends through Labor Day. Their new rides are a blast and the wave pool is the closest we can find to a beach in Central Ohio!

Big Boa Falls at Zoombezi bay

COSI has a great exhibit this summer called Dinosaurs: Explore, Escape, Survive that will be “extinct” after Labor Day. Be sure to go see and experience this 10,000 sq ft exhibit of fossils, interactive displays and a prehistoric maze before it’s gone – and their annual two week shutdown in September.

If you need a break from your house and want great discounts on these attractions, visit the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau web site to find information on the “Kids Eat Free” promotion. Discounted admission tickets, a fantastic Dublin hotel and free kids meals from a number of local restaurants are included in the package.

Have you played golf with the family this summer? The Golf Club of Dublin offers special discounts to Dublin residents and their patio has a beautiful sunset view over the course.

Have a fun-filled last two weeks of Summer Vacation!

~Post by Katie.

Fall brings so many great things here in Dublin, Ohio … cool breezes, the brilliant palette of changing leaves, football fever, a bountiful harvest from owl-Ohio-Wildlife-Centerlocal farmers and, of course, school (again). Even though fall is my favorite season, the idea of “back-to-school” makes me a little sad. (Probably not-so-much for you parents of 3+ children, huh?) I guess it’s the idea of summer—and all the fun trips, vacations, activities, fun family free time coming to an end, in order to accommodate all those things that occupy our busy schedules during the year.

If your family is anything like mine, that means everyone is going in different directions most days. But I’ve come up with a mini-solution to this drifting-effect. About this time every year, I plan a couple of family getaway weekends for the fall/winter months and plug the dates into our “master” calendar. Everyone at my house knows these are non-negotiable dates. Attendance is required. These are usually “close to home” getaways involving  Ohio travel. We try to target some new city, attraction or park we’ve never visited—then look for deals.  My starting point is always the web site of the Ohio Division of Travel & Tourism: Discoverohio.com  Sometimes I search a word like “fall” or “history” for ideas. Sometimes I go right to the Travel Tools/Local Tourism Organizations (often the CVB web sites offer great hotel packages with discounted attraction tickets).

If I know I want to visit a certain city or area—I’ll call the CVB and ask them for suggestions. I KNOW these people are as passionate about travel as I am, so it’s a great way to learn about hidden gems. And I try to offer the same service for visitors calling the Dublin CVB for Dublin or Central Ohio getaway information.

Trust me. Schedule your fall/winter getaway in now–or time will slip away.  (It will be worth it just to hear them say, “This was SO COOL, Mom!”)   So, tell us … when & where was the last non-summer family getaway you planned?

-Post by Mary

SundaysAtSciotoLowResThe Sundays at Scioto Summer Concert Series started last Sunday night. I hate that I missed the New Orleans funk, performing jazz and R & B. Oh well … I’ll just try to attend as many of the other upcoming SAS concerts as I can.

These concerts feature outdoor entertainment from some of the best musicians in the Central Ohio area.  They are presented by the Dublin Arts Council and take place from 7-8:30 p.m. Sundays (through July 26) at the outdoor amphitheatre at scenic Scioto Park, 7377 Riverside Dr. in Dublin.  Best of all, they are free.  Upcoming concerts include:

-June 14    The Z-Sharp Big Band (Classic big band swing)
-June 21    The Conspiracy Band (Funk & R&B)
-June 28    The High Street Stompers Dixieland Band (Dixieland jazz)
-July 5       Brass Band of Columbus (British Brass Band)
– July 12    Arnett Howard (Creole, Cajun & Zydeco)
– July 19    The Bearded (Original old-time string and jug band)
– July 26    British Invasion (British pop/rock)

Bring a picnic (or purchase Jeni’s ice cream on site), lounge on the grass on blankets or chairs – and sit back and enjoy!!  Scioto Park (home of Dublin’s famous 12-ft. high Chief Leatherlips sculpture)  is located on Riverside Drive,  just north of Emerald Parkway, on the left.

-Post by Kay

I don’t know about you—but by the time Memorial Day rolls around every year, I’m thinking summer vacation. (I think it’s Zoombezi Bay ingrained in us from our elementary school years—like some kind of mid-year notch in our individual lifelines.)  And I LOVE to travel.  There is something about exploring a new place that is like spring cleaning for the soul.  Apparently, there are a lot of Americans who continue to share this passion … tough economy or not.  

According to the U.S. Travel Association’s recent summer leisure travel forecast, an estimated 54 percent of American households are planning a trip this June, July or August.  (That’s compared to 50 percent at this time last year.) That equates to an estimated 322 million domestic leisure per-person-trips. (I’m picturing millions of travel-warriors like me who will eat Mac & Cheese for a month before giving up our summer vacations!) Viva les vacances!!

Yes, we will be watching our travel budgets. Yes, we will be looking for deals. But—indications are that we expect to spend about the same amount on our vacations this year as we did last year.  Some of us may not be traveling as far. Some of us will stay closer to home. But that’s the great thing—there is SO MUCH TO DISCOVER right in your own state.

I’m a BIG fan of Ohio travel. My family is fond of hopping in the car, driving two hours and uncovering some awesome gems right here in the Buckeye state … like Amish country, Hocking Hills, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, King’s Island, Ikea and the Cincinnati Museum. (We LOVE the Omnimax(R) theatre there!)

If you’re looking for an economical family vacation idea—consider Dublin, Ohio.  I know. You’re thinking I sound like a commercial. But you don’t have to take my word. Just ask some of the people who have already booked a getaway here this summer. Sales for our popular Wild & Wet Summer Getaway Package are already slammin’ …. and it’s no wonder. It’s hard to beat the value–a choice of 8 hotels (with special rates); discounted tickets to the Columbus Zoo and Zoombezi Bay; free Bob Evan’s kid’s meal and free Graeter’s Ice Cream sundae for one low price.  Don’t believe me?  Go to the Wild & Wet Getaway page of our Web site, put in the dates of your trip and run the numbers for yourself.   But when you DO come to town, stop by our Visitor Center and say ‘hi!’   (I promise not to say, “I told you it was a great deal!”)

-Post by Mary

st-pats-girl3The green countdowns have begun. First, there’s the countdown to Dublin (Ohio’s) St. Paddy’s Day celebration … just 12 days away. (March 14.) No matter what the weather, it’s greener in Dublin … especially during the miles-long parade when hundreds of marching units, floats, clowns and other entries hit the streets of Historic Dublin. (In fact, one can usually find a little green ON the streets of Historic Dublin.) It’s a great, inexpensive day of family fun that offers a break from the winter blahs.

Additionally, we’re counting down the days to the 2009 Dublin Irish Festival! Named to the American Bus Association’s list of Top 100 Events in North America for 2009, the event is not to be missed. To get an idea of all that’s included in this three-day Irish celebration, visit the event’s NEW web site. Check out the list of great entertainment scheduled … and you’ll  begin to see why attending this needs to go on your “Bucket List.”

-Post by Mary