In this Put-in-Bay review I’m excited to share with you our recent weekend roadtrip. Accommodations, transportation, attractions, and meals were provided.
Our trip to the Lake Erie Shores & Islands and Put-in-Bay was the perfect family getaway.
As we were packing to go, Kora and Logan kept asking, “When are we leaving for bah-cation?” and “What’s a bo-tel?” It had been a while since we traveled, but I didn’t think it had was that long. Mental note – get the kids out more!
We started our trip with a ride on the Miller Ferry which departed from Catawba Island.
Since our trip was spanning a Sunday and Monday, ferry traffic going in our direction was minimal. We parked our car on the boat, climbed to the upper deck, and grabbed a seat ready to cross Lake Erie. The ride was smooth and we watched and waved to other boats as they sailed around us.
Once we got off the ferry, we headed over to The Depot to pick-up our Island Fun Pack. The first thing we did from our Fun Pack was ride the Put-In-Bay Tour Train.
I’m a self-proclaimed nerd at heart and I love vacation tours. I find it so interesting to learn about the history of the places we visit. I also enjoy taking these types of tours before we do anything else so we can get a sneak peek at what’s to come on our trip and sometimes we discover places or activities we didn’t know about as well.
The Island Tour Train was a lot of fun. I found the drivers to be incredibly informative and funny too! And Kora & Logan enjoyed the Train too, but more in an amusement park ride kind of way. They enjoyed bumping along and over the winding roads and small hills. At one point, Kora even put her hands up as if she was on a roller coaster. The Train really did have them laughing and became a favorite part of their day.
We took the Train over to Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center which offered so much for us to do. There is The Butterfly House, The War of 18 Holes – a wonderfully done miniature golf course, Fort aMAZE’n – a human maze race, gemstone mining, a climbing wall, and, of course, Perry’s Cave.
We had heard wonderful things about The Butterfly House so we went there first. After passing through a gorgeous gift store, we entered a greenhouse filled with butterflies. It was incredible! The ceilings were lower here than in other butterfly houses we’ve been in.
I think that is a huge advantage if you want to see the butterflies up close and have them land on you. Kora & Logan love butterflies and at one point Logan became a little nervous because of how many there were (he likes butterflies, but he has a thing about bugs).
Right away the butterflies seemed to like Traveling Dad Dave’s hat because he had two land on his hat in a span of a few minutes. Not long after one landed on my back. Kora waited patiently for a very long time in the very humid temperature for a butterfly to land on her.
Thankfully her patience paid off and a butterfly landed on her ponytail holder. Just before we left Logan had one land on his shoe. The kids thought it was amazing and the rest of the day if anyone asked them if they were having fun, they told them about the butterflies. It was really cute!
When visiting The Butterfly House keep in mind that your hand stamp allows you to return again the same day. I thought this was a wonderful feature because sometimes those greenhouses just get so warm, we do our best to stay as long as we can, but eventually it’s the heat that always chases us out.
It’s nice to know you can go out get some fresh air, maybe participate in another activity, and return again once you’ve cooled off. And remember if a butterfly lands on you that means good luck!
After The Butterfly House we wanted to visit one of the caves. We decided to visit Heineman’s Winery because of the Crystal Cave. To stand inside the world’s largest geode sounded like something we just couldn’t pass up.
The good news was Heineman’s Winery and Crystal Cave was right across the street from Perry’s Cave. So we made our short walk over there, keeping our eye out for all those families driving golf carts, and passed our ticket along for the cave tour.
Somehow we were roped into attending the winery tour as well. This wasn’t something we wanted to do because not only was it nap time, but it was something Kora & Logan would have no interest in, let alone even understand.
However, the staff at the winery insisted that if we wanted to do the cave tour we had to do the winery tour first. Thankfully it was only about 10 – 15 minutes total and they had enormous floor fans which Kora & Logan passed the time standing in front and cooling off.
Traveling Dad Dave & I would have probably found the winery tour somewhat interesting had we been there sans kids, we spent far too much of it keeping Kora & Logan quiet & entertained to be able to actually listen and give it a fair review. Although at the end we did sample the grape juice and one of the wines and they were both delicious.
The Crystal Cave tour was fascinating. After descending 42 steep and crooked stairs we found ourselves in a cave encased in crystals of all sizes. I expected to only see one or two of them, but we were surrounded – they were everywhere, poking out at all different angles. It was amazing.
The only negative to this tour was there were too many tourists. We were at the end of the line and were in the hallway for most of the talk, so we weren’t able to hear it clearly and the kids got bored quickly. It would have been nice to be in the open room with fewer people which would have also allowed for more photo opportunities.
These complaints are minor, however and don’t let them deter you from going to the Crystal Cave. In fact, I think it is a must-do if you are visiting Put-in-Bay, as it truly is an incredible experience.
By this time, it had been a pretty long, but fun, and hot day. It was after 3 pm so we were able to check into our hotel. We hopped back on the Island Tour Train and wound our way through the streets with another history lesson that had us thinking and laughing.
We were excited for the opportunity to stay in the BayShore Resort because it’s the only lakefront hotel on Put-in-Bay and every room and suite has a lakefront view. It sounded relaxing and wonderful. The front desk was ready for us when we arrived and check-in was prompt and polite. We headed up to our room to unpack and unwind.
When we opened the door to our room we were immediately pleased. It was very clean and stylish. The bathroom had a modern feel to it and the screened in balcony was a wonderful touch.
Since we were staying at the BayShore Resort we knew our room would have a patio or balcony and while Traveling Dad Dave & I were excited about it, we were also a little concerned about how childproof it would be.
It turned out we had nothing to fear because the balcony was completely screened in. We thought this was a great option because not only did we not have to worry about the kids tumbling off the second story, but we also didn’t have to deal with bugs at night and it gave the rooms a bit more privacy from the pool area.
The BayShore Resort offers two pools and a hot tub as well as on on-site restaurant, Waterfront Restaurant & Grill, and a pool-side Tiki Bar. The rooms all overlook this courtyard-like area and the pools seem to spill off into the lake.
With all of this activity going on outside our room, especially in the pool area and Tiki Bar, I thought the sound level would be an issue at night. However, the thickness of the sliding glass doors really cut the noise level to a minimum and none of us had any issues falling asleep at night (including the kids and they went to bed at 9 pm).
After we got settled in our room, we took Kora & Logan swimming and they had a blast. The pools were too deep for them to touch bottom, but we all had fun swimming around, splashing one another, and catching the kids as they jumped off the side of the pool.
The nice thing about the atmosphere in the pool area was we didn’t have to worry about splashing anyone or making too much noise, because all the adults around the pool were doing it too.
After our swim we ordered Cameo Pizza for dinner and ate it on our balcony. The kids thought our balcony pizza picnic was fun and not long after they headed to bed.
Since they crashed early, Traveling Dad Dave and I had a chance to hang out on our balcony and watch a storm roll in off the lake and then out again. We enjoyed spending the evening together and talked the night away as the sun set.
Stay tuned for…