Reasons to Bring the Family to the Ohio Renaissance Festival

One of our family’s favorite surprise adventures last year was visiting the 2015 Ohio Renaissance Festival.

Forget your cares and step back in time to this 30-acre re-created 16th Century English village and enjoy over 400 years of fun in a single day! The festival offers something for everyone featuring nearly 100 shows daily on 11 stages, over 135 unique arts and crafts shops, hearty food and drink, games of skill and human-powered rides to amuse all ages.

Over 150 costumed characters welcome you to the village! Rub elbows with Royalty as you cheer your favorite knight to victory in the thrilling Full-armored Tournament Joust. Welcoming you to a festive day in the village are dueling swordsmen, rowdy pirates, nobles, peasants, and daring jugglers. The sprawling landscape is dotted with hundreds of unique shops in the Medieval Marketplace featuring many one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted items. See time-honored crafts of glassblowing, stone carving, blacksmithing, leather tooling, boot making, and more demonstrated. The air is filled with the scents and smells of the foods of the Renaissance period. Feast like Royalty on juicy, giant roasted turkey legs, fresh baked bread bowls overflowing with soups and stews, fish ‘n chips, steak-on-a-stake, succulent roasted corn on the cob and a wide variety of the finest ales and wines. There’s something for everyone’s taste buds!

The food was quite honestly terrific!

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Visitors of all ages will be amused by the games of skill and human-powered rides. Try your hand at archery and see if you’re a modern-day Robin Hood, or climb the castle tower and rescue the lovely damsel in distress.

Everything from live entertainment to dressing up fit perfectly into our three young boys lives! They loved the Ohio Renaissance Festival and the reason we will be returning again for 2016!

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Ohio Renaissance Festival Discounts

Get $4 off Adult and $2 off Child tickets by using Promo Code “castle” when purchasing on our secure website at www.renfestival.com. Tickets good any day of the 2016 season (Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day Sept 3 – Oct 23). Online discount only. Not good with any other offers.

Review: Orchid Mania (Cleveland Botanical Gardens)

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Have you checked out Orchid Mania (Cleveland Botanical Gardens)? This once a year event highlights the beauty of the orchid family of flora, bringing hundreds of orchid variety on display throughout the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.

Over the years, I have tried my greenthumb at a variety of plants. Sometimes my work resulted in the direct result of less oxygen creating species on this planet, resulting in the demise of the species. However, with several years of experience tending to plants and flora, I have become rather good at nursing a plant back into a beautiful species. No where is that more apparent than in the orchid variety of flora.

After getting my first couple orchids, they lost their flowers as all do. However, their leafy greens continued to flourish, and despite my wife telling me I should throw them out, I have managed to bring them all back into gorgeous blooms at least once per year.

Orchids take a good deal of patience and the right conditions to get them to flower again. Fortunately, I keep our orchids, now numbering a half dozen at indirect light windows, water once per week with a good soaking, and give periodic fertilizer and repotting when necessary.

So I had a big urge to visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens Orchid Mania display for many years. This year when Orchid Mania appeared on Groupon, I knew our family had to take advantage of the offer. For only $20, I got our entire family into the event (I actually saved 20% on top of that with the weekly promo code).

Get your discounted tickets to Orchid Mania.

Our family had been to the Botanical Gardens a handful of times; however, in order to use the Groupon, it has to be used on a Wednesday evening, giving you a different view of the property at night.

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After enjoying the large variety of orchid blooms in the lobby and main hallway, we opted to enjoy a quick healthy bite to eat at the Botanical Gardens Cafe, offering fresh salad, fruit, yogurt, and sandwich offerings. The food was fantastic and healthy all at the same time.

Once darkness had set in, we went into the main atrium. Having the environment dimly lit created a whole new experience for all of us. The dark allowed us to see all the plants and few animal habitats in a new “light.” While you may not have been able to see the orchids in all of their glory, if you looked closely, there were many hidden gems to be discovered.

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I love seeing all the many variety of orchids on display, and it inspires me to keep on with the hard work on the promise of a gorgeous annual bloom.

While there were other kids at the facility for Orchid Mania, it appears to be more of a date night or girls night out event. There is a small play area towards the end on the upper level, giving the kids a chance to escape for putting up with dads staring at plants.

TripAdvisor, the Travel Planning Tool

Every family has their own hierarchy, and consequently, everyone should know where they fit in with their family dynamics. For example, in our house, I know what I am good at when it comes to planning our family travels, while there are other aspects that my wife is better at doing. I am great at finding the best deals and using miles and points to reduce our expenditures. While my wife dives deep into the reviews and planning of activities once we get to our destination.

That is why my wife’s favorite website and app are TripAdvisor. Before we book any hotel, we use the TripAdvisor website to dive deep into reviews of how fellow guests experience was at the respective properties. Once we feel comfortable with a property, only then will we book. It is nice having a source to routinely visit to evaluate before staying at a property.

Fast forward to when we are on the road to our destination, assuming 99% of the time we drive, and my wife will consistently pull up the TripAdvisor app to locate places to eat or things to do within the vicinity of our travels.


Take for example an upcoming trip to the Kings Island (Cincinnati, Ohio) region. By using our TripAdvisor app for Cincinnati area hotels (affiliate link) and using our IHG points, we were able to lock in some fantastic deals on the Staybridge Suites CINCINNATI NORTH, OH (full review coming soon).

We have also used TripAdvisor countless times to locate restaurants and activities in various cities, making the planning process all the more easier.

How indispensable have you found TripAdvisor to be with your trip planning?