Brain Trip Road Trips for the Whole Family


I really believe that somehow, with the onset of fancy embroidered cooler totes, the beauty of a plain red or blue Coleman cooler, loaded up in the back of a station wagon with noisy headphone-less kids has gotten lost.  Now, I’m not certain that the fancy chevron embroidered cooler totes are to blame.  They could simply be a microcosm of a much larger issue! 

While my kids may never sport Aqua-netted, teased bangs or multi-colored windbreakers with turtlenecks and matching pants like I did, I have to admit that I’m quite certain that it would be a vast injustice to my parenting and the magic within my childrens’ childhoods if I neglected to take my kids on a few good old-fashioned brain trip road trips.  Is anyone else with me on this deep-seeded need and quest for the simpler things in life?  I pray that somehow, someway admidst today’s sports camps, Kings Island passes and iPads that my kids are experiencing the kind of wonderment and soul-growth that comes from the quiet amidst crickets and wind-rustling, deep-woods trail conversations and road trip exploration.

But, before anyone goes looking for the organic bug repellant or disinfecting that fancy embroidered cooler tote, take a quick drive with me to just a few lesser-known, but incredible Brain Trip Road Trip destinations not too far from the Queen City!


Getting ready to hike the trail to the Battlefield

Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park:

Located in Carlisle, KY, this State Park and Revolutionary War Battlefield is within 2 hours of pretty much anywhere in the Queen City.  With camping, lodging, canoeing, dining, miniature golf, playgrounds, hiking, a museum and a ton of history, this is a great day or weekend trip!

My family was fascinated to learn that one of the last battles of the Revolutionary War was fought here… devastatingly enough after the Revolutionary War had ended!  It is sobering to walk the trail where American militia, including Daniel Boone, crept to the battlefield.  What a powerful feeling to stand in the midst of the battlefield, knowing that you’re standing on the very ground where frontiersmen gave their all against British and Indian troops… where Daniel Boone lost his youngest son, and then to follow the very path down to the Licking River where the frontiersmen retreated and regrouped before returning to bury their lost loved ones and comrades. 

If you visit Blue Licks Battlefield State Park, be sure to download the park’s Printable History and learn all about the natural salt deposits, archaeological finds, and battle information! 

Each August, the park hosts a Battle Reenactment Weekend where history is brought to life through hands-on demonstrations, 18th century programs such as a Pioneer Fashion Show and Children’s Craft Activities. Be sure to mark your calendar now for this even next year!

Conner Prairie  – an Interactive History Park

Lydia (11) and Elise (9) of Colerain Township

“There’s a place where you can play freely and run farther, with space to explore and uncover new things.  It’s a place where families connect with history, science, nature, art and most importantly one another.  Here, there’s room to grow and adventure is just WAITING for you!  It’s a place called Conner Prairie.  Welcome to Wanderland.” ~ Conner Prairie materials

Located in Fishers, Indiana, Conner Prairie is the perfect way to immerse yourself in America’s history.  Your family will love visiting the Conner house, stepping out onto the prairie, being a part of an early American classroom, participating in farm chores, making soap or weaving, taking an 1859 balloon voyage, helping local townspeople gather supplies for Soldier’s aid after a Civil War raid, learning about fur trade and much more.  

My favorite thing about Conner Prairie is that your family is actually a part of history for the day.  The ‘residents’ of the town are very much living life in the 1800’s during your visit. 

Elise found that Conner Prairie has a great selection of fashionable headware!

Tecumseh – The Ultimate Outdoor Drama Experience

Ohio history comes to life with this outdoor drama complete with Indians, horses, cannons, stunts, an optional back stage tour, and guaranteed family memories!  The play depicts the life story of the Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh, as he fought to defend his homelands in the Ohio territories during the late 18th century. 

While Tecumseh begins at dusk, you can make a day of it by visiting Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.  Your family can explore pieces of history of the Ohio River Valley by visiting huge geometric enclosures built by Native Americans 2,000 years ago, Canoe or Kayak on Paint Creek, or hike on one of the trails.  

So, pack up that fancy cooler tote, pull out the bug repellant, get ready for some great family memories… and let us know where you’re headed!  



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