When you talk about going to the shore, very few people think of Ohio’s Sandusky. With 22 miles of lakeside shoreline, this mid-western city has enough outdoor and indoor activities to entertain even your picky preschooler. Whether you are just visiting or are in Sandusky to stay, keeping kids busy is a snap between the city’s Lake Erie attractions, cultural hot spots and activities.
If you are looking for a “shore” bet that will “shorely” turn into a favorite for your little one, take a trip to Sandusky’s lakeside and bay. The Shoreline Park (411 E. Water St., Sandusky, Ohio) not only has scenic views of the bay — kids can enjoy watching the freighter boats — but also features a playground and picnic tables. Other shore options include a picnic trip to one of Lake Erie’s islands such as Kelley’s Island or South Bass Island.
Visiting Sandusky without a trip to Cedar Point (cedarpoint.com) is like going to Orlando and missing Disney. While it isn’t a year-round attraction, during the summer season Cedar Point is hopping with activities galore — even for tiny tots. Kids can take a ride on the Bumper Boats, the Dune Buggies or the awesome auto Hot Rods. If your little one is a nut for Peanuts, she can get jumping on the Snoopy Bounce or blast off in Snoopy’s Space Race. Water-loving kids can spend a hot summer day in the park’s Soak City Choo Choo Lagoon, Toddler River or interactive Tadpole Town.
Who doesn’t like a good twirl on a carousel? If you and your little one do, try Sandusky’s Merry-Go-Round Museum (merrygoroundmuseum.org). Visit a menagerie of carousel creatures that dates back to the 1800s. As an added bonus, kids under 4 are free. Another Sandusky museum option is the Maritime Museum (sanduskymaritime.org). With a family rate that includes your immediate members (that means all of the kids too), your little learner can spend the day discovering area shipwrecks, the wetlands and the pirates of Lake Erie (surprisingly, they did exist).
Get a jump start on reading and take your toddler or preschooler to a day of fun at the Sandusky Library (see Resources). Not only is the library totally free, but it has much more than just books to offer. While cuddling up with your little one and reading books makes most moms and kids quite content, the library has programs that will help your child to learn about reading, socialize with other kids and even get her energy out (yes, in the library). Tiny Tots and Toddler Storytime is obviously a book reading program, but also has a gross motor component for busy 2-year-olds who can’t sit still. Preschoolers can enjoy a slightly longer storytime that features time to talk and play with the other children in the group.