Family Fun at Put-in-Bay
Did you know that there are many family friendly things to do at Put-in-Bay? We recently planned a weekend getaway to Sandusky and spent one of the days at Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island.
Our family had a wonderful time exploring the island and visiting their family friendly attractions.
Taking the Jet Express to Put-in-Bay
We opted to take the Jet Express out of the Sandusky port to get us to the island. The ride was about 45 minutes and we made a quick stop at Kelly's Island about half way into the trip.
The kids loved that fact that we could move around the boat. We started off relaxing in the enclosed cabin and watching the scenery out the windows. Then we all headed to the top deck and got a wonderful view of Cedar Point.
Helpful Tip: Get discounted round-trip tickets by purchasing and Island Fun Pass.
Hop on the Put-in-Bay Tour Train to get around the Island
Once we arrived on the island we were ready to start exploring. There are a number of ways to get around; you can walk, ride a bike, rent a golf cart or take the Put-in-Bay Tour Train. We opted to take the Tour Train.
The part we enjoyed most about riding the train was the commentary that the driver provided as we rode around the island. She gave a fun and educational overview of the history of the island and pointed out unique landmarks.
The train runs every half hour and includes on/off privileges at numerous locations.
Tour Perry's Cave
Our first stop was Perry's Cave Family Fun Center where we had the opportunity to go underground for a cave tour. The tour lasted about 30 minutes and the guide pointed out various features of the cave. We saw stalactites, stalagmites and an underground lake.
Our guide also explained how the cave was formed and the significant role it played for Perry's army in the Battle of Lake Erie. The tour was extremely informative and our guide did a great job of explaining things in a way that both adults and kids could easily follow.
Observe the Butterflies at the Butterfly House
Our next stop was The Butterfly House, which is home to over 900 exotic butterflies. Walking into the butterfly house is like entering a beautiful and peaceful garden. It's hard to stop smiling as you witness butterflies of all shapes, sizes and colors flying around you.
The uniqueness of each butterfly was amazing and the kids kept excitedly pointing out each new and different one they saw.
Look at that big blue one! There is one with black and white stripes! Are those eating oranges? Come look at this one!
Helpful Tip: Use the Shores Savings Card, which is free to download here to save $1 off adult admission
Play a round of Miniature Golf
Next up was a round of putt-putt at the War of 18 Holes Miniature Golf course located at Perry's Cave Family Fun Center. The course was very well kept had enough curves and obstacles to make it challenging but not too difficult for children.
We had a great time playing and we even got to celebrate a couple holes in one!
Visit the Crystal Cave
After our round of golf we walked across the street to Heineman Winery to tour the Crystal Cave.
During the tour you walk into the world's largest geode with walls that are covered with light blue-gray crystals called celestite. The cave itself is much smaller than Perry's Cave, but the crystals are quite beautiful. It's also fascinating to realize that most geodes are the size of softballs or basketballs, while this one is large enough to walk through.
Take a rest at the DeRivera Park
After a full morning of fun we were ready to eat. Since we had just missed the tour train we opted to walk the short half mile from Perry's Cave Family Fun Center back to the downtown area instead of waiting for the next tour train to come by.
We ended up at DeRivera Park where we ate our picnic lunch and had a moment to watch the boats come in and out of the harbor while the kids played on the playground equipment.
Visit Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial
After a nice relaxing stop at the park, we walked over to Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial. The memorial is an impressive. At 352 feet tall, it commemorates Perry's victory over the British during the War of 1812.
We also stopped into the visitors center to learn more about the memorial and browse through their educational displays. While we opted not to go up to the observation deck, visitors can do so for a $3 charge. I'm sure the view from the deck is quite impressive.
Tips for Planning a Trip to Put-in-Bay
As you can tell, Put-in-Bay has many family friendly options and there are many things to do with kids on the island. Here are some tips that will help your make the most out of your visit.
- Visit the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Visitors Bureau's website. There you will find a wealth of information about where to stay, where to eat, scheduled events and much more.
- Download the Shores Savings Card (it's FREE) and it contains a wide variety of coupons and discounts that you can use while you are in the area.
- Bring along some healthy snacks such as pretzels, fruit and granola bars. Active children (and adults) burn up energy fast. Don’t forget about drinks.
- Wear layers. This is especially important if you are visiting during the fall or spring. When we first arrived the air was a little chilly and we were thankful to have jackets. By midday however, the sun was shining and we no longer needed them.
- Bring a camera. There will be many photo opportunities that you'll want to capture so you can look back and reminisce about all the fun you had on the island.
Have you ever visited Put-in-Bay Island before? If so, what was your favorite things to do on the island?