Tiny Ghoul Gang Party

Mila and my’s favorite part about this October was her Tiny Ghoul Gang Party. It was a fun way to get all of her friends together and celebrate Halloween!

She had been asking me for weeks about having a party. For some reason she was convinced that her birthday was this month… and not six months away. Instead of fighting that battle for six more months, we invited her preschool and dance friends over and had a Tiny Ghoul Gang Party.

When I first decided to throw this party for Mila, I came up with a pumpkin painting party idea. She loves painting and crafts and I figured her friends would too.

I had a ton of Halloween activity ideas pinned and saved on Instagram. There’s so many creative people in the world, I’m so thankful they share their ideas! It was easy to find things for the kids to do.

Thankfully it was minimal prep too!

The Activities

Pumpkin Painting:

The main party activity was pumpkin painting. We literally laid down an old blanket and table clothes, set out paint and brushes, then let the kids have at it. Honestly, they went right to wanting to paint pumpkins which took me by surprise. If I would have known that, I would’ve got the paint out beforehand. Thankfully, there was a great group of parents who immediately jumped in and helped out!

Besides paint, we also let the kiddos put googly eyes on their pumpkins to decorate too! They all turned out adorable.

This activity is messy. Obviously. If I were to do this again, I’d have found more tables or gotten pallets for the kids to use. Just to stabilize the pumpkins and keep the brushes and paint upright.

Witch’s Brooms:

I just talked about these in another blog post. They’re one of my favorite Halloween activities and went pretty well with a big group of girls. The hardest part was finding the letters of all the girls’ names.

Before the party, I made all of the brooms. If I would do this activity again for kids, I would have their name beads already set out or put in a bag.

Again, there was an amazing group of parents their with us that helped out!

Sensory Bins:

Technically I had three sensory areas set up, but we only got to two. The one sensory play idea that wasn’t used was a potion making station. I think that was fine because it ended up getting cold, which is never good mixed with wet clothes.

The one bin that was used the most was the spaghetti bin. There were eyeballs, fingers, and spiders that the kids could find. But, a couple of them (mostly Mila), ended up just eating the spaghetti… yum. They all did seem like they loved playing with this sensory bowl.

Maybe for the next Halloween party, I’ll do multiple cold spaghetti bowls.

In the other sensory bowl was ‘monster soup.’ It just had torn up tissue paper, Halloween colored sensory items (balls, pipe cleaners, etc). The girls really enjoyed this too!

Bobbing for Apples:

Like I stated above, the cold and water don’t really mix, but the girls really enjoyed trying this. It’s just your classic bobbing for apples game. The ones who participated did really good… the others volunteered to just eat the apples.

Halloween Egg Hunt:

Mila helped prep this activity. I found Easter eggs that looked like jack-o-lanterns at Target. We filled them up with candy and Mila spread them around the yard.

I’m not sure how well she hid them… but the kids loved running and finding them. It was an easy activity and got them playing independently.

Throwing Games:

We also had a few throwing activities that I didn’t get pictures of. One was to throw rings around pumpkin stems. Again, easy set up and fun! Then my mom found this game where you throw a ball in pumpkin styled cups. What kid doesn’t like throwing?

I think all the kids loved what we had set up. There was Halloween music playing in the background, so we got to see some dance moves too. When the kids didn’t have a guided activity, they just ran, talked, or played on the play equipment too. I don’t think any of them were ever bored during the party.

It was so much fun to see Mila’s favorite groups of friends come together.

The Food

I promise I had every intention of making this party have more food than dessert. It just didn’t manifest that way.

The food spread was mostly a dessert bar full of Halloween treats. To be honest, I bought all the desserts. I did not have time to make everything, besides adding extra Halloween sprinkles to the cake. Still, I loved how it turned out!

For the food, we had fruits, veggies, cream chicken, mummy hot dogs, and a skull meat and cheese plate. Plus, there were buckets of chips and a sweet Halloween mix too.

I was actually surprised with how much food was eaten. Of course I still had leftovers, but the majority of it was gone!

We also started a fire and had s’mores too.

The Goodies

To make it a little more special, I made Ghoul Gang shirts for the girls. I think they turned out adorable and even made myself a sweatshirt.

It made for really cute pictures and I love getting shirts, so I knew Mila’s friends would too.

We also made baskets for the kids to take too. It was just a trick or treat bucket filled with goodies for them to take home.

The best goodies for me was watching all of the ghouls having fun. Their smiles and laughs are the reason why any parent does what they do for their kids. I love that this group of girls get to grow up together. Just knowing Mila will have friends going into school and through life brings me so much peace for her.

I am so thankful for all the parents that let their kiddos come. Mila has talked about it almost every day since.


Throughout the madness of the day, Mila and I didn’t get a single picture at her party. This isn’t too crazy. We rarely remember to get pictures together.

Once we got home, she thanked me for her party and gave me a big hug. That’s when we got the picture.

I love being her mom and having the ability to do these types of things for her. Something tells me she’s going to be a kid that wants a party for all occasions. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to do it!

Even when life is crazy, it’s party days like those and the hugs after that make the hard parts worth it.

I can’t wait to see what we come up with for next year’s Halloween party.


Have you ever threw your child a Halloween party? What was your favorite activity at yours or Mila’s?

5 Reasons Why You Should Sign Your Toddler Up For Dance.

It’s almost dance season!

Studios are holding sign ups and preparing for another great year. If you’re wondering if you should sign your toddler up for dance or what it’s even like, you’ve found the right post.

Here’s why Mila and I LOVE dance class and why your toddler should join in too!

Friends and Socialization

One of the biggest reasons I signed Mila up for dance was for socialization.

Since she plays by herself most of the time, I knew she needed to make friends. Let me tell you, her socialization and friend group most definitely expanded.

One of her favorite parts of going to dance class was seeing her friends. She learned how to play better with other kids, take turns, and the basics of friendship. That’s a skill that she’ll always have to use.

Plus, as a dance mom, I got to meet so many different parents. I’m so glad to know them and their kids.

Learn About Body Movement

Toddlers are awkward.

They fall and stumble. Somehow they’re always getting back up and running again.

Dance helps toddlers and kids feel comfortable in their own body. It lets them understand how to move certain parts and their capabilities.

I think Mila’s coordination levels went up since starting dance. Plus, she learned how to move her body so fast! Her teachers did an amazing job helping her learn all the moves and to trust her body at such an early age.

Practice Listening to Other Adults

Since I’m almost a full time teacher, but a long time sub, I selfishly wanted Mila to learn how to listen to other adults.

When they go to dance class, they are made to listen and be instructed by someone that’s not their parent. It can be difficult for them, but it’s so rewarding in the long run.

I’m sure that Mila will listen and do so well in preschool because of her experience in dance class.

It might seem like a small skill, but it’s helped her be more independent and happy with other trusted adults. I’m excited to meet her new teacher this year and to have Mila listen and love another supportive adult.

Confidence

As an adult, I would never be able to get in stage and dance in front of a crowd. Yet, groups of toddlers, kids, and young adult dancers did at their recital last year.

It showed how confident they were in themselves.

Mila’s always been confident, but when she danced on stage, that confidence oozed out. It even helped her and her friends do their talent show.

As a mom of a little girl, I want her to project confidence through all aspects of her life. By being apart of dance, she gets to practice that at such a young age. That makes me a very proud dance mom.

They have FUN!

Photo by Teri Stein

The most important aspect of anything during the toddler stage is having fun.

Let me tell you, toddler dance classes are chaotic to watch. At the beginning they’re running around crazy, but they’re smiling and laughing. By the end of the year, they know what’s expected of them and are still having fun.

Maybe I’ll call it organized chaos.

BUT… when they’re having fun they want to come back and learn more. Mila and I have so many great memories from dance class and are excited for another year of them.

Dance welcomes boys, girls, and whoever wants to join. It’s such an inclusive space that I’d recommend to everyone.

Local friends, dance studios are opening up. We go to Legacy Dance Studio and have had nothing but positive experiences. Mila and I would love to see you there too!

Have you ever signed your toddler up for classes or sports? What did you love about them?

Support Local: Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market

On Wednesdays, we go to the market. More specifically, we head to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market in Dover, Ohio for food, entertainment, and a fun time.

Open every Wednesday from 3-7pm during the months of June to mid-October, the Market sets up at the Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds. It’s open rain or shine.

Anytime we can support local farmers, makers, and businesses, we do! So, we grab our canvas bags and go shopping.

Mila loves interacting with all the people and I love knowing where our food is coming from.

It’s a perfect combination.

It’s so fun watching Mila interact and explore different foods. She loves to pick out zucchini, all fruits, and flowers. I love that everyone is patient with her (and me too!). Somehow I feel like this is only going to strengthen her relationship with food.

My favorite part is trying out different vegetables than what we would normally pick out.

We’ve tried different squashes, baby carrots, and a vegetable called a kohlrabi. Kohlrabi looks like an alien vegetable, but tastes like cauliflower. I have a recipe I’m going to share soon with it.

We also love the homemade jams, puff corn, hot sauces, and flowers too. I guess you can say we like everything there.

Every time we go, Mila enjoys picking out fresh cut flowers to take home.

They add so much beauty to our home and are different every week we go. That’s the magic about buying local, it’s whatever is growing or read that week.

When you go to the Market, you’re not just going to get produce and leave.

The library brings crafts for kids every other week to do. You can either make them there or take them home to do later.

There’s usually entertainment, such as local bands and musicians too. Mila and her friends danced for a while one week. They had so much fun, as well as everyone else around too. It’s so special to watch a community come together and enjoy the moment.

Another added bonus is the food trucks and stands that join in on the fun.

I don’t know if anyone else is like me, but after I get back from shopping I get tired. Instead of rushing home to make food, we love ordering food and eating there. They usually have brick oven pizza that tastes so good!

Mila usually had sampled all of our produce by the end, but never turns down macaroons or ice cream!

Once you do get home to make meals, you won’t be disappointed.

Last week, I made an amazing BLT with all local ingredients. It honestly tasted fresh and so much better than usual. I definitely need to pick up more tomatoes and bread this week!

We hope that you can make it to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market this year!

It’s a great event for our community, way to educate our kids about food, and help grow our local commerce. You might even get to try an out of this world vegetable too!

Just watch out for Mila pushing her cart!

If you’ve ever been to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market, what’s your favorite thing about it?

My faraway friends, do you have a local farmers market you like to attend?

Explore the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

Mila and I love to find quirky, local adventures. One of our favorite places to explore is the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

It’s definitely worth the visit!

You’ll find this treasure located in downtown Sugarcreek, on the corner of Main Street and North Broadway.

We actually went to go out to the cuckoo clock, but got sidetracked by the Butterfly Exhibit at the Norma Johnson Center. If we’re nearby the clock, Mila and I like to get ice cream and watch the show.

It’s one of the places she asks to go quite frequently. I have no idea how she got so fascinated with it.

The clock plays it’s song and show every half hour in the summer. Its closed down in the winter, so be mindful of that if you’re planning a visit during the cooler months.

We got there a little early, so we walked around the block to explore… and take pictures.

The history of the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock is pretty cool. If you read the Ohio marker in the picture it tells you all about it.

Here’s a little recap of what it says:

Originally, the clock was at a local restaurant a few streets down. It was on the the cover of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1978. Then, after decades, it needed a major restoration. Two years after it was restored, the restaurant it was at closed down and the clock was moved to its current location.

I think knowing what the clock has been through and seeing the shear size of it, makes it even more impressive.

Once it was time for the clock to do its song and dance, Mila ran over to the bench.

The whole thing runs about five minutes.

It’s really cute to watch and Mila likes it too. You can always tell when it’s the half hour because there’s a little crowd all around the clock.

When it was over, Mila gave me her best cuckoo clock impression. I think she loves the dancing.

If you’re close to Sugarcreek or visiting Ohio, this should be on your list to see. It’s only a ten minute stop if you time it up right. Then you can get lunch, ice cream, or go shopping at the local shops.

It’s truly a sight to see and something that will make you smile. Your kids will love it too!

Local friends… have you ever seen the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock? What other fun things would you suggest people see?

Far away friends… what’s your closest “World’s Largest” to you?

The Butterfly Exhibit at the Norma Johnson Center

Looking for something fun and educational to do nearby? Head out to the Norma Johnson Center to see the Butterfly Exhibit.

The exhibit only runs until July 18, but it’s worth the quick trip.

Their hours are from 10-4 on weekdays and Saturday and 12-4 on Sunday.

Mila and I actually didn’t plan on seeing the butterflies this week. It was quite the happy accident. On our way out to Sugarcreek, we saw signs adorned with butterflies.

After a quick thought, I asked Mila if she wanted to go and we were on our way.

The Norma Johnson Center (NJC) is between Dover and Sugarcreek. We’ve been there to hike, take pictures, and look at flowers. It’s a beautiful location that also offers educational programs for kids and adults. This was our first one, but we will certainly be back for more.

To get to the exhibit, all you have to do is park in the lot by the red barn. Then follow the signs up to the pavilion you saw when pulling in. I promise you can’t miss it.

Mila was so excited to see the butterflies, she ran up the hill to get to them.

Under the pavilion, the NJC crew had butterfly crafts, face painting, and information. Plus, the main event: actual butterflies!

The butterflies were in a screened off section of the pavilion.

Inside, there was a lady who was extremely knowledgeable about butterflies. She was such a huge help in teaching kids the different parts of the butterflies and how to handle them.

We learned that we shouldn’t touch butterflies with our fingers, they eat with their proboscis (which is like a straw), and they love to eat rotten fruit, but prefer flowers more. Also, that Eric Clarke wrote that caterpillars made a cocoon, but it’s actually called a chrysalis!

Those were the main takeaways. There was so much more information.

If you’re wondering why Mila has the q-tips, it’s a good question. Since you shouldn’t touch butterflies with your finger, q-tips are the best option to be interactive with butterflies.

They’re dipped in watermelon, which some butterflies like. You can get them on there so they drink the juice. Then they can either fly away or you can transfer them to a flower. You get to see the butterflies up close AND they get to stay safe.

After we visited the butterflies, it was craft time!

The NJC had a free paper butterfly craft. It consisted of coloring the wings, cutting them out, and assembling it together. Mila and I tackled this one together!

Then, she got to get her face painted, with a butterfly of course. She picked all her favorite colors: pink, blue, purple, and a silvery color. The butterfly was very unique.

It was her very first time getting her face painted! I think she was a little nervous, but overall stayed as still as she could.

Immediately after, she wanted to do a little photoshoot and ran on the hill.

I guess you could say she was happy with the finished product.

After face painting, she made some sand art.

They had crafts that costed up to $5 that were butterfly themed. She choose to do the sand, but they also had concrete garden stones kids (or adults!) could paint too.

Before we left, Mila said goodbye to everyone, especially the butterflies.

I’m so glad we fluttered by the Butterfly Exhibit.

Everyone at the exhibit was so helpful and nice to Mila and me. We loved learning, playing, and interacting with it all.

She’s even asked if we could go again!

If you’re local to Ohio and are looking for something to do this week, check out the Norma Johnson’s Butterfly Exhibit!

You can learn more about the Norma Johnson Center and all of their programs on their website.

For those who live further away, I hope you have something similar close to you. It’s definitely worth checking into. Maybe you’ll find a new place to take your kids to play too!

Did you learn anything about butterflies through this post? Or what’s a fun fact you have about them?

10 Thoughts On Taking a Toddler Fishing

A few weekends ago, Mila went fishing for the first time.

We decided to go for Father’s Day. It’s been a while since my dad and I have went, but we had been talking about it in front of Mila. She had been asking for days and it felt like the perfect time. Father’s Day weekend was a free fishing weekend, so we got a few fishing poles and found a spot by the lake.

What I didn’t realize was how different fishing was with a toddler. Just like my thoughts on Mila’s dance class, I knew I had to share what was going on in my head here too.

Feel free to laugh along with me.

What’s the difference between worms and night crawlers?

Seriously though… what’s the difference? Plus, is it really kosher that I’m buying whatever they are at a gas station? Either way, thank goodness I don’t have to touch them. Maybe Mila will be braver than me.

There’s a lot of gear and snacks that go into fishing.

Fishing pole. Check. Kid’s fishing pole. Check. Snacks. Check. Chairs to sit in. Check.

Did I forget something? Probably.

Thank goodness Papa is here to get everything in working order.

If it was just Mila and I today, there wouldn’t be a ton of fishing. It’d be more of me chasing her around than casting out and catching! She’s grossed out by the worms… I guess we have more jobs for Papa.

It’s time to fish!

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Our poles are ready. Mila is excited to catch a big fish. Let’s see if we can…

HOOOOOOOK!

Toddlers and sharp objects are not a good combination. Especially when said sharp objects are being hurled through the air. I guess we should have started with some ground rules to begin with and a few practice casts.

Why am I doing more fishing than her?

After the first few casts and no fish, Mila is highly disappointed.

Apparently in her mind they were all going to flock to the worm/night crawlers. I guess no one sent out the being patient while fishing memo to her.

I got one!

Cue the yelling to Mila to help me reel the fish in. As she ran over, I realized I probably scared the rest of the fish away, but this was a BIG moment for her.

No, you don’t have to touch the fish.

After the intense reeling, she eyes up her prize. Once it starts wiggling around, she’s not so sure about touching it. Finally, I convince her to pet it before we throw it back in. Of course, Papa had another job of unhooking it.

Thankfully, Mila stepped up and threw it back in the lake.

I need to catch all the fish for her!

Hours seem to pass quickly and her excitement makes me want to catch even more. We do our normal fish routine, but mixed in is the patience memo she missed.

I guess the boredom helped her get more brave in touching the worms.

This is pretty relaxing.

As it’s time to pack up, the day has been quite relaxing… minus the almost getting hooked every time Mila casted out and the persistent whining. Right before we leave, Mila proclaims that next time we catch a really big fish so we can eat it.

I guess that’s a goal and story for another time.

Have you ever been fishing with your child? If so, what was your favorite part of the experience?

Looking for other camping related activities? Check out these fun ones.

We Went Strawberry Picking. Here’s Our Experience.

Strawberries are the fruit of choice in our house. When I let Mila know she could actually go strawberry picking, we had to leave immediately.

Of course she had to dress for the occasion and picked out this fitting outfit.

Since strawberry season is coming to a close in Ohio, we had to find a place that was still doing you-picks. I ended up finding Smokey Lane Farms in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

It was actually their last you-pick day!

Smokey Lane Farms was a smaller farm that had two areas to pick strawberries. It also had places for kids to play and farm animals.

When we first got there, we started picking in the first field. It was pretty sparse since it was the last day, but Mila seemed to find a lot.

I’m pretty sure she ate more than what ended up in her bucket.

Who can blame her right?

One thing I wish I would have done before we started picking was to tell her what to look for. She picked small berries, mushy berries, or any that her eyes could see.

If I could go back, I would have told her to get big, light red berries that were mushy.

Live and learn!

After we found a bunch of strawberries in the first field, we took a play break.

She went down the slides, jumped on the air trampoline, and attempted to climb the ropes. Good thing mom was there to help out a little. I think her goal right now is to solo swing across the monkey bars.

We also ended up strolling through their green houses and checking out the farm animals.

After playing with some new friends on the playground, Mila was ready to tackle the second strawberry field. Thankfully, there were bigger strawberries so I could show her what we were looking for.

Let’s just say… she ate a ton of those too.

In all, I think we were at Smokey Lane Farms for like three hours or more. We loved finding the strawberries and just being outside.

It was the perfect day to go: not too hot or cold.

One thing I’d suggest to parents is to bring water. Mila drank a lot and it was nice to have some on hand.

We obviously didn’t need any snacks!

Not only was it nice to get outside with Mila, we love exploring new places.

It’s been years since I’ve been strawberry picking and it was Mila’s first time. Maybe it can turn into a fun first of summer tradition with our family.

I love having the opportunity to start and keep these types of family outings. Mila loves exploring and I know I do too.

Maybe we’ll have to try their blueberry you-pick!

Since we have a huge bucket of strawberries, it’s time to make our strawberry recipes and enjoy them.

I think we’ll be doing strawberry chocolate chip cookies first!

Have you ever been strawberry picking? What’s your tip to finding the perfect strawberry?

Also, if you’re from Ohio, what other local adventures should we try?

15 Things To Do With Your Toddler This Summer

Summer is OFFICIALLY here!

Mila and I love the warm months and everything to do with our time off. It may be hard to think of fun things to do with your toddler in the heat, but getting outside is so important.

We’re going to track our time outside until next summer. Our goal is to hit 1000 hours and I have a feeling the majority of the time will be when the sun is shining bright. 1000 Hours Outside is a movement to get outside and lessen screen time. They have a fun coloring page to track your hours and I think it’s a fun little challenge.

I also think about how Mila and I only have EIGHTEEN summers together until she goes off to college or enters adulthood. We’re going to try to make the most of them.

This is summer 4/18.

Here’s a little list of what Mila and I will be doing this summer. I can’t wait to see all of our adventures.

Create a Scavenger Hunt

You know how much Mila and I love scavengers hunts. They’re easy to make and can be done anywhere outside. We love to do them in our backyard, but have also done them on hikes, walks, and on vacation too!

Scavenger hunts are great ways to keep your little busy and you can join along too!

Go to the Zoo

Zoos are such fun places to explore. There’s all kinds of different animals and kids are just in awe of them. It may get a little hot during the summer, so make sure to pack extra water.

I’d also suggest trying to go early in the morning or during zoo nights!

If you’re in Ohio, check out the Columbus and Akron Zoo!

Go to the Pool

Mila and I’s FAVORITE summer activity is going to the pool. We love to swim and just relax in the water. She’s also started asking to go to the waterpark. She loves the slides!

For us, swimming passes the time so quickly and cools us down. It’s also fun to play pool volleyball, make floaty forts, and play Marco Polo! Pool days have unlimited opportunities to play and learn.

Watch the Clouds

One way to engage your child’s imagination is to watch the clouds. Ask them what they see in the sky. Mila tries to make up stories along with them too. Let’s just say, she always has me laughing with what goes on in her mind.

Stargaze

Summer means staying up a little later than normal. Just like watching the clouds, stargazing with Mila opens up different conversations than normal. She asks about the moon and how to get to space. We also try to find different constellations, but I’m not very good at finding them right away. I promise I’ll be better at the end of summer!

Play with the Hose

Some days you can’t get to the pool, but still want to play in the water. We love playing with out hose and the attachments with it.

It’s a fun and simple activity that I think most toddlers love.

Just like going to the zoo, going on a walk or hike can be hindered by the heat. Make sure to stay hydrated or go when it’s cooler.

If you go on a hike, it could be fun to go somewhere where there’s water to be cooler too!

Tend Your Garden

If you started a garden, you’ll probably have to tend to it.

Tending your garden can be so much fun for you and your toddlers to watch flowers, fruits, and vegetables grow. It’s even better when you can pick and eat what you’ve helped grow!

Have a Fire

Extend your time outside by having a fire.

You can make food, like s’mores, and just enjoy the moment. We also like telling stories. Anytime there’s light that makes shadows, Mila thinks it’s story time! It’s also a fun way to wrap up a pool day or time spent with family.

Blow Bubbles

This is pretty self explanatory, but deserved a spot on the list!

Play with Chalk

Playing with chalk is not only creative for kids, it can be a great learning activity. You can do color recognition, practice shapes, and even help learn letters too!

Also, it always brings a smile to my face when I see sidewalk chalk art when we go on a walk.

Go Somewhere New

There are so many places to explore. Recently, I’ve joined an Ohio Facebook group to see if there are any quirky or fun new places for Mila and I to go. Honestly, i already have a huge list of things to do this summer and beyond.

If you’re in Ohio, I’d totally recommend going to the Fountain of Dogs in Mt. Vernon. It’s still one of the places Mila asks to go frequently.

Go on a Road Trip

Just like going somewhere new, going on a road trip is another fun option. Mila is finally loving the car. It’s a blast to sing songs together and watch her see the world around her.

The opportunities are endless when it comes to road trips!

Volunteer or Donate

No matter if you volunteer or donate your time officially or just on your own, it’s important to show your child how important it is. On our walks, we’ll pick up trash. When we have extra money, we’ve taken dog food to the humane society.

It’s a way you can get outside and help your community too.

HAVE FUN!

This is the most important thing on the list!

No matter what you do this summer, just make sure to have fun. Kids are only little one times in their lives… and I think it’s magical to watch your children experience this time too. I know I’ll be having just as much fun as her this summer.

What is your favorite thing to do on this list? And what’s something you’re planning that you’d add?

5 Reasons We Love the Akron Zoo.

One great thing to do is go to the zoo. Ohio has some great ones! Our latest adventure was to the Akron Zoo.

Since the Akron Zoo is the closest to us, we seem to frequent it more. Although it’s smaller than the Cleveland and Columbus zoos we’ve been to in the last few months, it’s just as beautiful and educational.

Before you visit, here are five of the reasons why we LOVE the Akron Zoo.

The Size

Although the zoo may be smaller, it’s perfect for toddlers. There’s isn’t as many animals or as much walking as Columbus, Cleveland, or Cincinnati, but it still makes an impact.

We can walk and see all the animals in a few hours without rushing. Plus, we can play in certain areas without feeling like we need to hurry up to get through. It makes it nice for kids to actually play and explore.

The zoo is expanding though!

On May 29, 2021, they’ll be opening their Wild Asia expansion. Mila and I will be back to see. We love tigers! There were also signs about expanding Africa too!

Even though it is smaller, you’ll still be getting a workout. There’s a huge hill to walk up!

The Otter Exhibit

Any parent who goes to this zoo knows they’ll be spending a ton of time with the otters.

There’s a huge slide that goes right through the exhibit and water. Kids can see the otter swim right by them!

The slide goes surprisingly fast and it’s a big hit with the kids. Mila spent a ton of time going up the steps and sliding right down. It’s cute to see the kids make themselves stop midway so they can get a better look at the otter.

It also has two huge viewing spots to see the otter. So while parents are waiting for their kids, they can get a good view too.

The otter was adorable! This was my favorite exhibit as a kid!

The Komodo Dragon

One of mine and Mila’s favorite zoo animals is the Komodo Dragon. The exhibit at the Akron Zoo is beautiful and we can always get a close look at this guy.

We love seeing him walk and perk up. It’s not an animal you get to see everyday!

I’m pretty sure Mila think this guys either an actual dragon or a dinosaur. Honestly, I can’t say I disagree.

One of my favorite parts of the zoo is seeing animals you’d never be able to get close to in the wild. I think this is why Mila and I are both fascinated with this guy.

By the Komodo Dragon is other reptiles, amphibians, and sea creatures. Plus the Komodo Kingdom Cafe!

The Carousel

I know, I know. There’s carousels at every zoo, but it’s our favorite every time.

Mila genuinely gets so happy when she sees them. She picks out an animal in the line, then switches last minute!

This carousel has beautiful painting on all the saddles and above. It also has a variety of different sized animals you can ride, which I thought was really nice.

It’s also a great break before walking up the hill!

I think the carousel at every zoo will make our top five. It’s only $2 to ride at the Akron Zoo and if you’re a parent who has to accompany your child, you get on free. The best $2 spent!

The Greenery and Gardens

If you didn’t know, I love plants and greenery. The Akron Zoo has beautiful plants everywhere you look!

I love when zoos really step up their plant game. It makes it feel more relatable for the animals and gets you in a wild mindset.

The Zoo Gardens also gives you the opportunity to walk and really take in the flowers. Immersing yourself in nature is so healing and relaxing. Mila loves it too!

These aren’t the only things we love at the zoo, but are the ones that stuck out the most during the latest trip. We cannot wait to go back this summer to check out the new exhibit!

I love that this zoo is growing since it’s so close to us.

Here are some other pictures I have to share from our experience.

We love the Akron Zoo!

Anytime I can see Mila’s amazement by what’s around her makes me so happy. She loves the animals, the playgrounds, and the environment when we get to go.

What’s your favorite part of the zoo closest to you?

Explore the Fountain of Dogs in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

It’s no secret that Mila and I love to explore. Whether it’s in our backyard or a different country, we love adventure. So, finding a Fountain of Dogs wasn’t too out of the ordinary.

Located at South Main Plaza in Mount Vernon, Ohio, sits 18 dogs all spitting water to a golden bone.

We were in town visiting a plant store and after looking for a place to eat. It was quite eye catching to drive by this… playful fountain. I was surprised Mila didn’t see it.

After dinner, we walked around the block and her eyes got so big as she took in the fountain.

If I hadn’t had a hold of her hand to cross the road, she would’ve ran right up to it. For a little girl who LOVES animals, she was impressed.

Upon further inspection, there was a variety of different dogs. Four you could touch and the rest were in the fountain. But, they all were pining for the golden bone in the middle.

There’s also a cat, horse, and two birds that are around the fountain too. They’re not so interested in the bone.

Around the fountain are plenty of benches and it’s a clean place to just relax.

Honestly, if we lived in Mount Vernon, I could imagine eating lunch here during the summer. It’s beautiful, fun, and quite peaceful.

Although if you’re a toddler… there’s no relaxing.

Mila gave every dog or animal she could get to equal attention. She loved putting her hands in the water and trying to get me wet. We were there for about forty-five minutes and I think she ran and climbed the entire time.

When we had to leave, Mila was heartbroken. I reminded her of the plants in our car and she was happy to get them back home. Before we left, she said goodbye to every dog.

We had to get one last picture too.

It was one of the most unusual fountains I’ve ever seen, but I’m glad I got to see it with Mila.

I plan on going back to the plant place and I’m pretty sure the Fountain of Dogs will be on our list of places to stop, maybe for lunch.

If you’re ever in Ohio and love roadside attractions, the Fountain of Dogs is a cute place to go. No matter your age or if you’re a dog lover or not, it’s something to be seen!

What’s your favorite roadside attraction in your state or beyond? Maybe Mila and I will have to go visit!