It’s no secret that summertime is every parent’s favorite part of the year. Who doesn’t love scrambling for babysitters and finding family-friendly activities to keep the kids busy and engaged? Let me ease that pain for you. Here’s my list of 5 family-friendly places and activities to keep your family entertained late into the summer!
ROAD TRIP TO FIRESTONE FARMS
Firestone Farms is the newest “destination” spot in Columbiana, OH. I say you should road trip there because it feels like it’s on the other side of the world, but in reality it’s only 25 minutes from downtown Youngstown. Drive aside, it’s totally worth it. Firestone Farms is a brand new 1930’s themed outdoor shopping, dining, and business destination. Though only Phase 1 of the center is built at this point, there is plenty to do for the whole family. What is there for kids? Great question. Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt! Orange Leaf is that sweet treat for families to enjoy, even if someone in the family is health conscious or has a dairy allergy – there are options for all! What makes this even better is that Orange Leaf is conveniently located by the clocktower, which features tons of family friendly games including lifesize chess and connect four!
IT’S TIME TO PLAY AT THE WALNUT GROVE
The Walnut Grove is the Mahoning Valley’s newest destination for families. The Walnut Grove not your average playground. Situated on over 20 acres of land, the Grove is an accessible, inclusive playground designed for individuals with special needs and their families in mind. Young kids to adults, wheelchairs to leg braces, any person, any age, this brand new equipment is state of the art and designed for anyone and any ability. There’s shade structures, picnic tables, a natural pond, and accessible “hiking” trails for all to use as well. The trails are so wide, two wheelchairs can pass each other! Oh if you like to bike, the property is connected to the Mill Creek MetroPark Bike Path! Enjoy nature. Disconnect from social media. Embrace others. Play.
MOLD YOUR KIDS INTO GEARHEADS
One of my favorite things to do growing up, and still to this day, is looking at cars and going to car shows. If I inherited one gene from my father it’s definitely the gearhead gene. Every day of the week, no I’m not exaggerating, there is a car cruise somewhere. People of all ages, cars from all eras, music from all decades, there’s just something about listening to tunes from the 60’s while admiring the body work of a 50’s era convertible with massive amounts of chrome and thick white walled tires. There’s tons of families at these car shows, and let me tell you there’s nothing like seeing a young kids face light up when a car owner lets them sit behind the wheel of their ride. One of my favorite shows is the one in downtown Lowellville, a little village next to the Mahoning River, just 10 minutes from Youngstown. If the weather is nice, its not uncommon for a crowd of over 300 cars to hit the streets and enjoy the beautiful weather and company!
KEEP THEM ACTIVE WITH A KIDS KICKBOXING WORKSHOP
Studio Pump, a locally own boutique-style gym is growing its offerings. On Saturdays, they offer kids kickboxing classes! Taught by trained professionals, the kids, and their families can come in and learn the basics and proper techniques of kickboxing. Get the kids up, have them kick some stuff, and take them to get some fro-yo after. They’ll love it! It’s a great confidence booster and just an overall super fun activity to keep them active.
Studio Pump currently has two locations in the greater Youngstown area with a third on the way. The kids’ kickboxing classes are located at their Columbiana location, conveniently located at Firestone Farms!
YOUNGSTOWN – FESTIVAL CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
Oh sweet summertime. The time for fair fries, fried dough, bread bowls, and lemon shakes. I’ve affectionately coined Youngstown as the festival capital of the world. It seems like.. and this is no exaggeration… you can likely find a festival every weekend. St. Nick’s in Sturthers, the Greater Youngstown Italian Festival in downtown Youngstown, Mt. Carmel’s Italian Festival in Lowellville, the Simply Slavic festival… you name it, there’s a festival for it. They’re the tradition. I can remember since I was old enough to ride the rides, I’ve gone to these festivals for years. There’s just something so nostalgic about them. It’s truly family fun for all!
My personal fav is Mt. Carmel in Lowellville. There’s something captivating about the village in the valley. The festival is a play on the village’s strong Italian heritage and one of the most interesting things that kids flock to, is the Baby Doll Dance. Yep, you read that right. The Baby Doll Dance. I’m not going to lie, it used to creep me out as a kid, but it’s so captivating, and the meaning behind it is totally cool. This year the tradition celebrated its 123rd year. The baby doll is this massive figurine wearing a babushka that symbolizes a new start, it burns away any negativity that’s happened throughout the year. You’ve got to see it!
Here’s a video, but the video doesn’t do it justice:
Honestly, there are so many family-friendly activities to do around here, this blog doesn’t even begin to cover it all. Make the trip here if you’re not around here. You’ll find plenty to do! Catch ya’ next time, I’m off to enjoy this gorgeous Youngstown heatwave!