Indian Creek Petting Zoo

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

Recently we took a little trip over the border into Michigan to visit Indian Creek Petting Zoo. It’s located in Lambertville, Michigan, just outside of Toledo, Ohio. My dad had scored a good deal on a Groupon ($25 for our tickets instead of $40), so he gifted us some tickets for our admission.

We’ve been learning about animals this year in science class, so it was the perfect time to visit. We went on a drizzly Friday morning, so it was not crowded at all. Here are some of the animals we got to see (and touch!) during our visit:

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

Petting baby goats!

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

The peacocks were really cool!

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

Alligators creep me out — but the kids liked them!

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

It took Connor some warming up before he would touch any of them. Finally the sheep won him over.

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

Lia is definitely my little animal whisperer: she loved interacting with all of them!

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

More goats!

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

What’s this called again? A za-donk? Zonkey? It’s half zebra half donkey.

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

Sophie liked the llamas. And of course she kept chanting, “Llama llama no more drama… llama llama mad at mama…” and other lines from the books.

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

The bunny pen was another favorite!

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

Petting bunnies!

Overall, we had a really nice time there! Like I said before, we didn’t pay for our tickets (we did buy a cup of food to feed the animals). I’m not sure I would pay the full admission price. I can imagine that it costs a lot to run a place of that magnitude, so I understand the need to charge that much, but $45 would have been a lot for our family to spend on 90 minutes of entertainment.

Here is my overall take on the place:

  • It is kind of expensive, unless you go with a coupon or other deal.
  • It was really nice to have hands-on interaction with some of the animals. We got to feed and pet goats, sheep, llamas, & bunnies, and we got to see many other animals as well.
  • The selection of animals was rather small, compared to a regular zoo, but that also made it easier to see them all and spend time with them.
  • It was only sort of stroller friendly. The paths are not paved, so it made for bumpy riding, but it wasn’t so bad that it was impassable.

You can check out current ticket prices & hours on their website HERE and check out Groupon for current deals HERE. (*the deal posted today is not the same deal our family got, it costs more but includes more stuff*)

Check out our other Northwest Ohio Day Trips ~ and follow me on Pinterest for more homeschooling, travel, & recipes!

Advertisements

Luna Pier, Michigan

Luna Beach Pier ~ Ohio Day Trips ~ Our Cozy Den

My kids LOVE the beach, but we hadn’t been to one in over 4 long years. So I decided to surprise the kids with a beach day at an adorable beach about an hour from where we live.

This beach sits in the quaint little town of Luna Pier, Michigan. It’s just over the border from Ohio, a few exits north of Toledo. We ate lunch at a neat little hometown cafe on the main drag, then we headed to the beach afterwards. It was overcast that day, so we didn’t even bother with our suits. I knew the kids would just want to wade in, play in the sand, and collect seashells anyway.

Luna Beach Pier ~ Ohio Day Trips ~ Our Cozy Den

Their faces when they saw where we were going — they had no idea!

Luna Beach Pier ~ Ohio Day Trips ~ Our Cozy Den

Finn wasn’t so sure what to think about the waves…

Luna Beach Pier ~ Ohio Day Trips ~ Our Cozy Den

Lia collected a whole bucket full of shells!

Luna Beach Pier ~ Ohio Day Trips ~ Our Cozy Den

The pretty lighthouse sits right on the beach (and it has feet rinsing stations and bathrooms!)

Luna Beach Pier ~ Ohio Day Trips ~ Our Cozy Den

Connor and Sophie concentrated very hard on building their sandcastles.

Luna Beach Pier ~ Ohio Day Trips ~ Our Cozy Den

Luna Beach Pier ~ Ohio Day Trips ~ Our Cozy Den

And Finn and I had fun burying our feet in the sand.

We all had a great day, and we’ll definitely be back! It’s a really nice beach, and it was very quiet – not crowded at all, and well-maintained.

Mansfield, Ohio

Ohio Day Trips: Mansfield ~ Our Cozy Den

We love doing Field Trip Fridays in our homeschool! I’m going to share with you about one of our recent trips – to Mansfield, Ohio!

First stop:

The Mansfield Fire Museum

There were a lot of things I loved about this place. First of all, it was FREE. They even gave my kids some free fire hats as souvenirs! There were a lot of things to do and see: real fire trucks, equipment, photos, costumes, and more. There were a lot of don’t-touch displays, but some hands-on stuff for the kids as well. Click here for their website with address, hours, etc.

We loved all of the fire trucks from different eras.

We loved all of the fire trucks from different eras.

Finn, of course, was going berserk over them!

Finn, of course, was going berserk over them!

IMG_5504

We studied the history of fire fighting, and looked at the equipment used over the years.

We studied the history of fire fighting, and looked at the equipment used over the years.

IMG_5526

IMG_5508

The kids got to play dress-up in firefighter uniforms.

The kids got to play dress-up in firefighter uniforms.

IMG_5511

There was a fun little model house inside the museum, where you could practice fire safety and escape procedures.

There was a fun little model house inside the museum, where you could practice fire safety and escape procedures.

There was also a miniature town from the old days, with a firehouse from back when they used horses instead of trucks!

There was also a miniature town from the old days, with a firehouse from back when they used horses instead of trucks!

Sophie said "I'm going to marry him!" *shaking my head*

Sophie said “I’m going to marry him!” *shaking my head*

 

The cute little "old town".

The cute little “old town”.

IMG_5521

Stop 2:

Richland Carrousel Park

This carousel was awesome! It’s indoors, so you could visit rain or shine. The cost was reasonable — 6 tickets for $5. (See their website for full pricing info and hours.) The kids had a blast jumping on and choosing their rides. I liked that they had several seating options: many different kinds of animals, some that go up and down and some that don’t, and sleigh bench seats.

IMG_5533

IMG_5531

IMG_5532

IMG_5541

Connor was SO excited to see a hippocampus! He just finished reading the Percy Jackson series, so this made his day.

Connor was SO excited to see a hippocampus! He just finished reading the Percy Jackson series, so this made his day.

And finally:

Downtown Mansfield

You could technically include the carousel in this, because it is smack in the middle of downtown. But these are the other things we saw & did downtown.

The streets were very clean and well-maintained, even the back alleys!

The streets were very clean and well-maintained, even the back alleys!

We stopped in a cute little book store with a great selection of local books and old maps.

We stopped in a cute little book store with a great selection of local books and old maps. (Book store link)

This made us all laugh: "Remove hand before closing." Duh.

This made us all laugh: “Remove hand before closing.” Duh.

We had a great day on our field trip!

Ohio Day Trips: Mansfield ~ Our Cozy Den

Findlay Summer Park Passport (FREE printable!)

park passport header

Spring is here!!! I don’t know about you, but my kids LOVE playgrounds. We also love to visit all the lovely playgrounds that our community has to offer! One thing I do to make this fun for them, and to make sure we don’t miss any great spots, is to make a little park passport to chronicle the parks that we visit.

Since I was making it for us anyway, I decided to go ahead and make it a free printable for all of my local readers so you can print and use as well!

If you are not local to me, the passports are very easy to make. I use mapquest.com’s list feature to drop pins on a map. Once I have all the parks on there, make a screen shot of the map you’ve created. Paste your image into a Microsoft Word document, along with a list of your parks, and a title page, using the format seen on my example. Print and assemble according to my instructions, and you’re done!

How to assemble your park passport:

It’s easy!

11162082_10152688762811566_5955431453951775017_n

1. Print on regular printer paper.

2. Cut in half.

3. Place the two halves together, blank sides facing each other. Fold in half with the map on the inside, and staple in the middle.

4. That’s it! Your passport is done. You can glue/tape/staple the blank sides together if you want, but I don’t bother with it. We use little stickers to denote the parks we have visited, and after we have hit them all, we usually celebrate with ice cream!

Click here to download your FREE Findlay, Ohio park passport printable!

Have a happy summer!!!

SunWatch Indian Village

 

We’ve been studying Native Americans in History class lately. I know that this area is just brimming with Native American history, so I took advantage of the opportunity to go see a real Native American village to help our studies sink in. We headed out to SunWatch Indian Village in Dayton, about 2 hours south of where we live. And Byron’s cousin lives in that area too, so she was able to join us with her twin boys. IMG_2463 IMG_2464 IMG_2466 IMG_2467 IMG_2470 IMG_2471 IMG_2473 IMG_2474 IMG_2475 IMG_2477 IMG_2481 IMG_2484 IMG_2489 IMG_2490 IMG_2491 IMG_2494 IMG_2503I loved that the place was so hands-on, with huts and artifacts that the kids could touch and explore. I do wish there was more to see, as the place was pretty sparse. What you see in the picture above (3 huts) was about it, plus the museum and gift shop inside.

Overall, it was a fun day for all the kids!

 

Lowe’s Build & Grow

We used to do the Lowe’s Build & Grow workshops with Connor when we lived in Tennessee, and I really missed it during our time overseas.

If you don’t know about it, it’s awesome! You just sign up online, head to the store at the right time, and your kids get to build something for FREE! They get an apron, some goggles, the project, and a certificate to take home. They also get a patch for each project completed! IMG_2164 IMG_2165 IMG_2167 IMG_2170 IMG_2174 IMG_2176 IMG_2177IMG_2286 IMG_2287 IMG_2288 IMG_2292In September, we built binoculars and fire trucks. And did I mention it’s FREE?!?

You can sign up at http://lowesbuildandgrow.com/!

 

Our Move ~ The Long Story

Our crazy move from Germany to Ohio happened very fast, and honestly it left me a little traumatized. I’m finally able to look back on it without seizing, so I thought I’d share the story of what happened.

Here’s our timeline, in a nutshell.

March 25 – we find out that the house we were buying has failed inspection, miserably. We knew it needed work, but we didn’t know that there was irreparable damage. So we’re back to the drawing board on the house front. We knew a move was coming, but we didn’t know if it was days, weeks, or months away.

March 31 – my best friend from high school and bridesmaid Martie tours another house for us, takes pictures & video, and we put in an offer. It is accepted, and we are excited!

April 1 – Byron receives orders to sign out of the army in TEN DAYS. It falls on a Friday, and we schedule our flight for Monday the 14th. That same day, they take our van to ship it to the US, so we all of a sudden need to move and have no car. Luckily, my amazing friends Kitty and Heather loan us vehicles.

April 7 – the movers come and pack us up. It’s also Sophie’s birthday and dentist appointment day. Byron stays home with the movers while I handle business with the kids. My Germany bff Aimee watches the kids, and we all spend the night at her house.

April 8 – moving day #2. Packers finish packing, and housing delivers temporary furniture. Back in the states, things are moving along with our new home, and we will be able to close on April 16th, 2 days after arriving.

April 9 – cleaning, paperwork, errands, packing, laundry

April 10 – we move into the hotel, and say good-bye to our home.

April 11 – Byron signs out of the Army, we clear housing. There’s a good-bye lunch with Byron’s unit, where they give him some nice going-away gifts. Then we go to the post office and mail the gifts, as well as all of our curtains.

April 12 – we receive the devastating news that another house has failed inspection, with damage that we cannot fix or afford to have fixed. We are faced with homelessness. I frantically research our options, but everything – hotels, extended stay places, is way out of our price range. I cry. A lot.

April 13 – Our last Sunday at ChapelNext, and we have lunch at the Entertainment Center afterward. Lots of hard good-byes, and more tears.

April 14 – The flight

We head to the airport for our flight to the US. We are 3 hours early, and when we arrive at the counter, the line is over an  hour long. Byron asks the employee at the front if he can talk to a gate agent ASAP, to make sure we get seats together. He assures us it isn’t a problem. So we wait in line. When we get to the front 90 minutes later, the agent informs us that sorry, there are not seats together for us, and there’s nothing she can do. We are given 3 seats together and 3 more that are all alone. (Do the math. We have FOUR young children). She assures us that once we get on the plane, we’ll be moved so we can sit with our children.

When we board the plane, the flight attendant tells us that the flight is full, so she can’t give us new seats, but she can ask people to switch for us. We put me with Lia and Finn, and Byron, Sophie, and Connor take the seats that are all alone. (Sophie is in the seat in front of me, but the other 2 are nowhere nearby.) Connor cries, nestled between two strangers.

The flight attendant asks people all around the plane to switch seats, and everyone refuses. So we take the seats we were given and we take off.

Finn sleeps for the first 30 minutes of the flight. All is well for a time. Then all heck breaks loose. Kids are tired, crying. Finn won’t sleep another wink, Connor is feeling abandoned, Sophie is being needy. Nobody sleeps. Nobody will eat the yucky plane food. Finn won’t stop crying. Byron and I take turns bobbing up and down with him in the tiny space in the bulkhead row.

The pilot informs us that we hit headwinds so the 9 hour flight becomes 11.5. But he says, “don’t worry, if you have a connecting flight, we have already rebooked you to another flight to reach your final destination”, and we should see the gate agent upon debarking.

When the neverending flight from you-know-where finally lands in Chicago. We ask the gate agent for our new flight information to our final destination – Detroit. She informs us that our family was the only one she could not rebook on another flight because of our size. So we need to gather our bags, go through customs, go to the ticketing desk, and see what they can do for us there.

It’s then that we decide that getting another ticket, rechecking bags, going through security, boarding and flying to Detroit, then driving 2 hours to Findlay would take more time than just driving 4 hours from Chicago to Findlay. So we go out to the rental car place, get a minivan and hit the road. Besides the fact that you could not PAY me to get on another airplane with those children at that point.

We drive for about an hour, then we all crash hard in a motel room along the highway. It’s about 4 am Germany time, but 9 pm Central time. We sleep for 7 hours, then we grab our first in-the-US meal at the only thing open at 3am- Denny’s.

Then we hit the road again, arriving in Findlay that morning. We go straight to the home of our new friends Kay and Joel (who we have never met), and are taking us in for the night.

April 15 – lunch with my dad, and Kay and Joel found a place for us to stay (since our house fell through). It is an incredible blessing. They have a friend with an empty apartment and he offers it to us for free while we find a home. We move into it.

IMG_2141

Outside our temporary apartment.

IMG_2237

Playing around inside the apartment.

Late April – we find a new house, put in an offer, and finally we get an inspection that comes back with only minor issues.

May 1-3 – I take a business trip to Arizona and reconnect with my bestie Krista.

May 5 – we close on our new house!!!

IMG_2272

May 6 – Byron’s first day of school, and he is officially in seminary.

IMG_0333

May 21 – our household goods are delivered.

May 22 – Byron drives to St. Louis to get our van.

May 28 – Byron flies to Minneapolis to get our truck.

And with that, we finally had all of our belongings, a home, and our new life in Ohio.

IMG_0103