Toledo offers a well-rounded visitor experience - from the outdoor to the indoor variety of fun.

Toledo is one of those places you often pass on your way to someplace else. But, tucked into the natural framework of Lake Erie and the Maumee River, Toledo offers a well-rounded visitor experience - from the outdoor to the indoor variety of fun. And, because things are a little less expensive here, you can spend two days in Toledo for the cost of one day in many other cities. Read on for ways to pack those days!

Toledo Zoo

(Located on Anthony Wayne Trail at 2 Hippo Way, 43609; 419-385-4040; Summer hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; Admission: Adults $14, Children (under 12) $11, Children (under age 2) free; Additional savings: Receive 50% off admission with your Columbus Zoo membership; Parking: $7; Rentals: Wagons $10, Strollers $5)

The Toledo Zoo requires a full-day visit to see the 8,500 mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Popular exhibits include Penguin Beach, Nature's Neighborhood (a year-round children's zoo), Africa!, and Arctic Encounters, which is home to two new twin polar bear cubs.

The Zoo's new seasonal exhibit Wild Walkabout, Wonders from Down Under (through Labor Day) features more than 50 species of Australian animals. My favorites were the adorable wallabies and the mammoth (think 2,200 pounds and 17 feet long) saltwater crocodile. You can hit the Carnivore Café (formerly the Zoo's big-cat house) for hot food, sandwiches and snacks.

Wildwood Preserve Metropark

(5100 W. Central Ave., 43615; Hours: 7 a.m.-dark)

One of 11 Metroparks of Toledo, Wildwood Preserve features a pristine location along the Maumee River and impressive prairie wildflowers. Enjoy lots of open space and children's play areas. Plan 1-2 hours to walk the trails, look for native birds, fly kites and enjoy the outdoors.

Toledo Museum of Art

(2445 Monroe St., 43620; 419-255-8000; Admission: free; Hours: vary during the week, closed Mondays; Parking: $5 behind museum)

The Toledo Museum of Art is renowned in the art world with more than 30,000 works from American and European painters, medieval art, ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian works, Asian and African art, and modern and contemporary works. You should plan on at least two hours to get through the 45 galleries. Many galleries have kid-friendly stations that offer hands-on learning, like etching replicas of Egyptian vases in the Egyptian Art room.

Mud Hens baseball at Fifth Third Field

(406 Washington St., 43604; 419-725-4367; mudhens.com)

Toledo Mud Hens baseball is a fun family night out. Dinner at the ballpark is easy with restaurants and concessions on-site.

Maumee Bay Lodge

(1750 State Park Road #2, Oregon, OH 43616; 419-836-1466)

Just 10 minutes from downtown Toledo, relax at the comfortable Maumee Bay Lodge that sits right on Lake Erie. Be sure to walk the paved waterfront paths at sunset for a spectacular view. In the morning, spend a half day taking advantage of dozens of on-site activities like the indoor and outdoor pools and beachfront, bicycle or jet-ski rentals, geocaching and bird-watching along the wetlands boardwalk.

Imagination Station

(1 Discovery Way, 43604; 419-244-2674; Admission: ages 13-64 $9.50, ages 3-12 $7.50, ages 65+ $8.50, ages 2 and under free, COSI membership gets you admission at no additional cost; Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 12 noon-5 p.m.; Parking: nearby garages $3-$8 or valet for $7)

Imagination Station (formerly COSI Toledo) has more than 250 hands-on exhibits for kids to explore the science behind energy, water, agriculture, health, perception and engineering. Traveling exhibits like "Grossology" engage kids on the science of their bodies and change every 100 days. There's even a Science Studio with activities and demonstrations geared toward the whole family. This is easily a half-day visit. You can dine at the Atomic Café, and rest assured that the sensory overload will have the kids snoozing on the ride home.