Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

Springtime Walk at Secrest Arboretum

Enjoy floral paths with paved walkways throughout the arboretum.

Springtime! Nature awakens from her winter nap to display lovely shades of green, blossoming trees, and springtime flowers. It’s the perfect time for a walk outside to soak up the sun while enjoying the Spring Show.

Edmund Secrest founded the arboretum in 1908.

One place perfect for this adventure is Secrest Arboretum located on the campus of Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. The arboretum was established in 1909 by Edmund Secrest, the first state forester in Ohio and director of the Experiment Station from 1938-1948. Although it is a research arboretum over 10,000 people visit in annually.

Kids enjoy climbing in this natural play area.

This arboretum was designed with adults and children in mind. While adults will enjoy the trees and plants, children have been given play areas in the midst of the natural world.

This slide is a big attraction for kids of all ages and extra slippery on a burlap sack!

Fortress at the Hogs-back is a place for kids of all ages. Kids enjoy climbing over the rocks, walking through cement storm drain pipes, and best of all, going down the huge slide in the side of a hill. That slide is even big enough for adults to enjoy!

Blossoming crabapple, redbud, and cherry trees highlight the grounds in springtime.

Training programs and evaluation of new plants are provided to Ohio Nursery, landscaping organizations, and Master Gardeners. But the grounds are a beautiful and peaceful place for a walk any season of the year.

Attractive metal artwork appears outside the Visitors’ Center.

Stop at the Orientation Center where outside there’s a map of the grounds showing the different trails to take and information about the arboretum. This 110 acre facility is a living laboratory for research, teaching and learning. There are over 2,500 varieties, species, and cultivars of plants to learn about.

A special research project involves finding the best coneflowers for our area.

Visit their new research project, a Coneflower (Echinacea) Garden with over 100 varieties of coneflowers. There are colors from white and pink to red and yellow. Here they are determining the best coneflowers to grow in our area.

Flowers appear everywhere. There are 15 different theme gardens so you will be sure to find something you enjoy. There’s Gayle’s Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden, Ohio’s Native Garden, and Million Flower Pathway to give you an idea of what is available. The Garden of Roses of Legend and Romance might become a favorite.

The main reason the Native Garden is so important is that it provides food for our native butterflies, birds, bees, and all wildlife. They have done an outstanding job of labeling the plants and trees so you can have information for perhaps a new plant for your garden.

A hillside amphitheater is a great place for weddings and concerts.

John Streeter Garden Amphitheater is a great place for weddings, concerts, and theater productions. The sandstone steps make a perfect entrance for the bride while guests can sit on the sandstone seats. Several musical events have been scheduled for this summer. Check their website at www.secrest.osu.edu for more information.

Frequent benches provide a place to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Along the way you will find giant frogs, tortoises, and pieces of metal artwork in the form of butterflies, birds, and flowers. There’s also a pavilion for picnics, and benches throughout for visitors to rest or just enjoy the scenery and the scent of the flowers.

Springtime blossoms added beauty throughout the arboretum.

Friends of the Secrest Arboretum are responsible for funding, volunteering, keeping the grounds looking wonderful, and scheduling educational and musical events. They have played an important role in developing Secrest into a national and international treasure.

Beauty awaits around every corner.

The arboretum is open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year. Easiest access is to place 2122 Williams Road, Wooster in your GPS, then follow the signs that lead to the arboretum.

Stroll their paved walks through forests and meadows to discover what plants would be best for your home. It’ s a great place for a family outing any season of the year!

Make Memories at WonderLights Christmas in Ohio Drive-Thru

Believe in the magic of Christmas!

The night sky sparkles as over a million LED lights burst into action at WonderLights Christmas in Ohio Drive-Thru in Hebron at the National Trail Raceway. It’s the perfect family event during this pandemic season as you never have to leave your car.

A lighted manger scene greets you just inside the gate.

WonderLights is a family affair with Dad running the operation overall while his daughter Grace and her husband Hunter Owens keep things operating smoothly at the Hebron site. Another sister, Emily and her husband are busy in WonderLights St. Louis. They’ve been doing this for over ten years now.

A patriotic section displays our American flag.

They also arrange and maintain other light shows all east of the Mississippi from Indianapolis to Cincinnati. They take great pleasure in bringing a little happiness, especially to children, with their exciting shows.

Trees of all sizes can be found twinkling throughout the display.

When they discovered the National Trail Raceway, it seemed the perfect open space to have room for people to drive on winding trails throughout the exhibits. This is their second season at the raceway.

Snowmen keep an eye on this tunnel of flickering ornaments.

They have outlined over two miles of trails with red lights on both sides to keep you on track. Cars are asked to turn off their headlights since the lights are so bright, but it’s better if you can leave your parking lights on so the other cars can see you.

Toy soldiers watch over families and bring good luck.

All the dancing lights are synchronized to holiday music which you can listen to on your radio at 88.3 FM. They are powered by over 50,000 computer channels. The constant movement of colorful lights definitely puts you in the holiday spirit.

Drive thru blinking tunnels of lights as you listen to the Christmas music.

As you drive through several tunnels of lights, you’re bound to start singing along with the Christmas songs you know so well. Watch for the shooting stars, dancing candy canes and lollipops, and giant Christmas trees along the way. Don’t be in a hurry. Drive slowly so your family can enjoy all the dazzling features of this spectacular light show.

Trees magically appear as you drive thru the display.

Traffic on the weekends can be at a near standstill as families eagerly await taking their children to see the lights. Emily recommends that you arrive either early before the show begins or come on a week night when things aren’t quite so crowded. Monday and Tuesday are usually the nights with the least amount of traffic.

Snowflakes dance to the holiday music.

One of their real pleasures is talking to guest families while the owners ride golf carts through the exhibit to make sure everything is working well. Emily said, “I get tears in my eyes when I think of those children looking at the exhibit through the sunroof of their car and singing along with the Christmas carols. You know the family is making memories that will last a lifetime.”

Gingerbread men are always a special treat during the holidays.

WonderLights at Hebron can be enjoyed every evening from November 13 through January 3, 2021, and that includes holidays. The weather does not stop the light show from happening. In fact, they say, “Rain makes it glow.” Rain or snow makes the lights have a mirror effect so it looks like twice as many lights. Snow always adds to the spirit of a holiday event.

Constant movement of lights gives excitement on every bend.

Tickets are $7 a person or $30 for a carload of up to seven passengers. Kids three and under are free. Hours run from dusk to 10:00 each evening, but they normally don’t stop until the last car is through.

Take your family to this magical event in Central Ohio where you can experience the joy of Christmas through lights and music from the safety of your own car. Memories we make with our family bring joy for years to come.

WonderLights is located just a few miles off I-70. Take exit 126 to OH-37 N. In about a mile turn left on US 40. You’ll arrive at WonderLights in about half a mile on the right hand side of the road. Watch for stopped traffic as this is a busy event.

Road Trippin’ in the USA at McPeek’s Mighty Maze

If you want to get lost, McPeek’s Mighty Maze is the perfect place with Roadtrippin’ USA as the theme of their corn maze for 2020. Located at the Coshocton KOA Campground on County Road 10, it’s more than just a maze. They have many activities that those young at heart from 0 – 99 will enjoy.

This all began in 2015 after Ryan McPeek had purchased a campground near Coshocton and was trying to create something extra that campers and area residents would enjoy. A corn maze came to mind.

That first year was a learning year and a busy one for Ryan as he married Camille in August. They spent their honeymoon at McPeek’s Mighty Maze! This was a new experience for both of them as they had never created a corn maze before.

The entire Mighty Maze is shown in this overhead view.

The maze is more difficult to create than you might think. First, Dave Phillips of Maize Quest draws the maze for the year. After the corn is planted by Brian Mason in the spring, about July 4 the maze is created while the corn is knee-high, young, and tender making it easy to cut down.

Climb the steps to the platform for a great view of the maze.

Tim Day of Maize Quest then arrives with his tractor, rototiller, and GPS unit. Phillips’ Road Trippin’ USA maze is placed into the GPS and the tractor cuts out the maze in a few hours. Day is very busy as cuts about sixty corn mazes each year around the country.

Maize-O-Vision glasses help you see a special map of the maze.

Since the pandemic has made traveling on vacations a bit more difficult this year, the maze takes the shape of Road Trippin’ USA . You can take a fun road trip right here in Coshocton. The Route 66 logo is in one corner of the maze. Another section features a camper and you’ll find a few mountains along the edge.

Along the way, you’ll find stations to help you explore the USA.

At the end of August, holes were drilled to set up nine game stations. Colored ribbons were placed along the miles of pathways inside to help people find their way. Each section has a different color ribbon to help people know where they are. While at this giant corn maze you will learn a bit of history as you play the games and travel through the cornstalks for answers. Play Word Game and learn about 18 different National Parks.

Enjoy the challenge of the Rat Wheel – similar to what a hamster might use.

There’s also a Kid’s Corn Maze for little ones who don’t want to get too lost. Cornelius M. Quest’s Picture Find has children discovering nine Ohio animals hidden at picture stations inside the maze.

McPeek’s Giant Corn Maze is the best place to get lost in the stalks for the 6th season. Enjoy a tasty treat from their three food carts – mini donuts, ice cream, and special favorites like hot dogs and french fries or lumpia and chicken fried rice.

The Jump Pad is the perfect place to use up some extra energy.

There’s all kinds of Fall Fun available as well as the maze. Their giant Jump Pad will have you bouncin’ for joy. Or you might try your luck in a Rat Roll, which is similar to a hamster wheel. Even adults have fun with these! There’s also a Barrel Train ride for the youngsters. Don’t forget all the pumpkins.

Ryan McPeek enjoys driving the tractor for the hayrides.

A hayride winds through the corn maze as it heads to the top of Mt. Everest. Seating will be limited for each ride to assure social distancing. Some traditional events will not be held this year due to pandemic guidelines. The corn box is closed as well as the playground.

Have a different kind of experience at Flashlight Night, which was held earlier this season. Imagine the darkness surrounding you as the cool night breeze moves the cornstalks with eerie sounds. Be sure to pick up a map so you don’t get lost for the night. Take a Glow Hayride that same evening. You’ll have to come back another year for all the fun!

The barrel train ride is great fun for youngsters.

McPeek’s Mighty Maze will be open four weekends in October on Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 6 so plan ahead for a time of family fun roadtrippin’ through the corn or maybe gettin’ lost in the stalks.

Ryan and Camille will help make your adventure a memorable one. Check their website for further information and additional events at www.mcpeeksmightymaze.com or visit them on Facebook.

All ages enjoy the Duck Race to see whose duck will win the water race.

Admission at the gate is $10 per person with children under 2 free. If you register online ahead of time, admission is $8 per person. Staying at the KOA Campground in Coshocton gets you free admission to the Mighty Maze and a chance to enjoy the night air sitting around a campfire.

Sounds like Roadtrippin’ USA could be great fun for everyone at McPeek’s Mighty Maze. Get lost in the stalks!

​McPeek’s Mighty Maze is located at the Coshocton KOA Campgrounds on County Road 10 just east of Coshocton. You can’t miss their signs!

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