When it's time to get out of the house and go somewhere, plenty of daytrip destinations await, just outside central Ohio. Just be sure to check their websites for the most current dates and hours of operation.

When it's time to get out of the house and go somewhere, plenty of daytrip destinations await, just outside central Ohio. Just be sure to check their websites for the most current dates and hours of operation.

We have written about many of these destinations in Columbus Parent - click on the links below those listings to read the articles:

Boonshoft Museum of Discovery (2600 DeWeese Parkway, Dayton 45414; 937-275-7431; boonshoftmuseum.org) A children's museum with an emphasis on zoology (there's a mini-zoo on site), archeology and astronomy. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 12 noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Cost: adults (17-59) $13, children (3–16) $10, seniors (60+) $11, free for ages 2 and younger. Columbus Zoo and COSI members receive 50 percent discount on admission. Carillon Historical Park (1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton 45409; 937-293-2841; daytonhistory.org/destinations/carillon-historical-park) A family-friendly museum devoted to Dayton history but with plenty of appeal to non-Dayton residents. Includes a carousel, a "4-D" theater that recreates the Great Dayton Flood and various transportation inventions. Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 12 noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Cost: $8 adults, $7 seniors, $5 ages 3-17, free ages two and younger.

Hocking Hills State Park (19852 State Route 664 South, Logan; 740-385-6842; hockinghills.com) This region of southeast Ohio, only a 90-minute drive from downtown Columbus, is best known for its magnificent 2,356-acre state park, filled with cliffs, caves and waterfalls. But there's a lot more to Hocking Hills than just Old Man's Cave. There is ziplining, horseback riding, kayaking, a scenic railway (with a popular Santa Train ride every December), even a washboard factory and a pencil sharpener museum!
> Hiking or "scening walking" -- call it what you want
> Experience the excitement of ziplining
> All aboard the Santa Train

Little Buckeye Children's Museum (44 W. Fourth St., Mansfield 44902; 419-522-2332; littlebuckeye.org) Opened in 2011, this small children's museum is geared toward hands-on learning and all ages up to 12 years old. A visit to the area can include stops at the Richland Carrousel Park (75 N. Main St.) and the Mansfield Fire Museum (1265 W. Fourth St.). Hours: Memorial Day-Labor Day: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 1-6 p.m. Sundays; Labor Day-Memorial Day: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 1-6 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Cost: $7 ages 2+, COSI members receive a 50 percent discount on admission. The Mazza Museum of International Art from Picture Books (Virginia B. Gardner Fine Arts Pavilion, University of Findlay, 201 College St., Findlay 45840; 419-434-4560; mazzamuseum.org) This is the world's largest museum devoted to the art of children's books. A popular event is the Funday Sunday, held on select Sunday afternoons in September through April, with visiting authors and illustrators and children's activities. Great gift shop with literature-related toys and merchandise. Use 201 College St. to find if using a GPS device. Include a visit to Dietsch Brothers (400 Main Cross St.), a local candy and ice-cream shop. Hours: 12 noon-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Other times by appointment. Cost: free but donations are accepted. All about the Mazza Museum. Ohio Caverns (2210 East State Route 245, West Liberty 43357; 937-465-4017; ohiocaverns.com) This family-owned destination in Champaign County offers several paths and tours through its 2-mile network of underground caverns filled with impressive stalagmites, stalactites and zipper-like rust formations. The quarter-mile "Limestone Tour" is handicapped accessible (advance registration required). The 35-acre site includes a gem-mining sluice, gift shop and picnic areas. Summer hours (May 1-Sept. 30): 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, Winter hours (Oct. 1-April 30, excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas): 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost: varies by tour, $9-$12 ages 5-12, $12-$29 ages 13+, free ages 4 and younger. Ohio Caverns delight all ages. Velvet Ice Cream at Ye Olde Mill (11324 Mt. Vernon Road, Utica; 1-800-589-5000; velveticecream.com/mill/tours.asp) Utica has been home to Velvet Ice Cream since 1914. Its production site is now more than just a factory: Between May and October each year, Velvet also opens up an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and restaurant, playground, duck pond and museums to the public. You can take a free, 30-minute guided tour each weekday on the hour between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., or give yourself a self-guided tour. No appointment is necessary for tour groups with less than 14 people. And you can really make a day (or three) of it if you attend the Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival, held Memorial Day weekend each year (admission is $5 per car).
> Utica Ice Cream Festival
> Take a tour of the mill The Wilds (14000 International Road, Cumberland 43732; 740-638-5030; thewilds.org) ­This safari park and conservation center is hopme to more than 30 rare and endangered species who roam 10,000 acres of reclaimed surface-mining land. A variety of tours and educational programming are offered. Includes a gift shop and café. Wilds' Gift Market and Overlook Café. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May-September and on weekends in October. Cost: Tour reservations recommended. Rates range from $15-$125, based on tour type and visitor age. Columbus Zoo members receive 50 percent discount on admission. Military and Wilds member discounts available. Family memberships range from $130-$150. The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology (55 S. First St., Newark 43055; 740-349-9277; attheworks.org) A family-focused museum with hands-on science activities on the first floor, local history exhibits on the second floor, a glass-blowing studio and much more on a 6-acre city block in downtown Newark. Site includes The Grill café (open weekdays). Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 12 noon-4 p.m. Sundays in January, February and March only, closed Mondays and Sundays in April-December. Cost: $9 ages 18-54, $7 ages 55+, $5 ages 2-17, free ages 1 and younger. COSI members receive 50 percent discount on admission.


Yellow Springs (yellowspringsohio.org) This eclectic and lively little town, located in Greene County (less than an hour's drive west of Columbus) offers all kinds of indoor and outdoor fun. Nearby Clifton Gorge is great for hiking, John Bryan State Park is great for camping, Young's Jersey Dairy is THE place for ice cream, and downtown Yellow Springs is packed with great shops, restaurants and arts-friendly events.
> Clifton Gorge
> Young's Jersey Dairy
> Camping at John Bryan State Park