Delaware County also has several interesting family-friendly venues, specialty shops and events.

Downtown Delaware has changed a lot in the 25 years that Tami Furlong has owned Fundamentals Parent-Teacher Store.

The historic shopping district has shifted from stores selling household items to specialty shops with an eclectic array of merchandise, she said.

"It's more of a destination," she said. "There are gift-type stores, more restaurants."

Delaware County also has several interesting family-friendly venues, said Debbie Shatzer, executive director of the Delaware County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

For outdoor fun, try Stratford Ecological Center, a working farm that hosts special events and classes, or Alum Creek State Park, which offers swimming, boating and camping.

In September, you'll find the Delaware County Fair and the Little Brown Jug, the century-old harness race that draws visitors from all over Ohio. The All Horse Parade, which includes horses, ponies and wagons, is another highlight of the fair.

Shatzer also encourages families to visit downtown on the first Friday of the month. Stores stay open late and offer special activities during First Friday celebrations.

"Downtown Delaware is a hopping place," she said. "It's really unique."

At Fundamentals, kids can peruse the amazing selection of toys and books. The store regularly hosts author visits, craft classes and story hours.

Readers also will want to visit Beehive Books, an independent bookstore that also sells coffee and other treats.

For a new set of wheels, check out Breakaway Cycling. The bike shop sells and services kid and adult bikes.

Carousel Closet has a nice selection of second-hand children's clothes. The store also sells new items and products made by local crafters that make interesting baby and shower gifts.

Another shop for gifts and handmade items is Global Village Collection, a fair trade store that sells items made by artisans from around the world.

Button Up features home décor pieces, jewelry and more made by American crafters.

If the handmade pieces inspire the artist in your family, head over to Bare Bowl and create your own unique piece. The paint-your-own pottery studio has plenty of pieces for kids and adults to personalize. Would-be jewelry makers can buy and assemble kits at Keikos Bead Box. And The Arts Castle is also a great destination for artists of all ages.

Kids also may enjoy taking in a movie at the historic Strand Theatre. The independent movie house offers a children's film series in the summer and other special events throughout the year.

Another fun source of free or low-cost entertainment is Ohio Wesleyan University. The private college invites the public to attend concerts, art events, lectures and sporting events.

When hunger strikes, Delaware offers plenty of choices.

The Hamburger Inn has been serving breakfast and burgers and fries since 1932 at its unique counter that winds through the restaurant. Or if hot dogs are your fast food of choice, try The Delaware Dog across the street.

Create your own pizza or order one of the many choices on the menu at Amato's Woodfired Pizza. Toppings include sauerkraut, almonds and caramelized onions.

You can also visit the cuisines of Asia at Chandra's Bistro, Greece at the Opa Grill & Tavern, or the good old U.S. of A. at Bun's Restaurant & Bakery

For a different dining experience, try Veritas Tavern, where the eats are made using molecular gastronomy. The kids will be dazzled by the science it takes to create some of the dishes.

For snacks, coffee or dessert, try Dairy Depot, Ollie's Fine Ice Cream, Choffey's Coffee & Confection or Something Sweet Coffee & Bakery.