Looking for a winter getaway, not far away? Warren County in Southwest Ohio may be just the ticket.
Speaking of tickets, be sure to grab yours for a ride on the North Pole Express with the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad. This 30-minute train excursion delivers passengers to the decorated LM&M Junction for a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy holiday cookies and hot chocolate while being entertained by some of Santa’s elves. Trains depart on select Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays in December (reservations are a must). We took our son on this ride many years ago and I still remember his awe at seeing Santa on the train!
Want a little more adventure? Check out Beach Mountain where, “every day is a snow day!” The young and young at heart will be thrilled by the 400-foot snow tubing hill, while even younger guests will enjoy the separate, smaller tubing area and snow village perfect for building snowmen and igloos.
The Christmas Ranch is an ideal holiday escape for those who just want to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. Featuring an amazing display of one million lights, synchronized to holiday music, plus shops, pictures with Santa, train rides and more, it has earned national praise from HGTV and Good Morning America. Nearby, the Cincinnati Zoo is another must-see for holiday light lovers, and the Cincinnati Museum Center and EnterTRAINment Junction both feature awesome holiday train displays that left as big a smile on my face as on my son’s!
Still have a few names on your “nice list”? If so, be sure to check out the antique, unique, and boutique shops in historic Lebanon and Waynesville. Shops specializing in well-known collectible brands and jewelry, as well as those featuring homemade crafts and candies abound! If you need a few more items to complete your holiday decorating, then you are sure to find them at King’s Mills General Store and Christmas Shop in Kings Mills. I can honestly say that I have never seen so many ornaments, Santas, or nativity sets in one place!
Be sure to check out Ohio’s Largest Playground’s Events & Festivals page to see what holiday happenings might coincide with your visit. Lebanon offers their Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Christmas Festival each December, featuring more than 100 decorated carriages pulled by mini horses, majestic Clydesdales, and more. Christmas in Mason is held in early December. Christmas in the Village takes place select December dates in Waynesville, and you can catch a holiday production at Springboro’s La Comedia Dinner Theatre.
Looking for a cozy place to rest at the end of your snow day? Warren County is also home to several bed & breakfasts, including the historic Hammel House Inn and Golden Lamb. Not quite ready to rest? Enjoy some indoor fun with a stay at the Great Wolf Lodge. During the winter months, the lodge tranforms into Snowland®, featuring a life-size gingerbread house, Santa visits, holiday activities for kids, and more. And, of course, there’s also MagiQuest®, Howl at the Moon™ Glow Golf, Ten Paw Alley™, and the 84 degree indoor waterpark. Whew, you might need to stay another day!
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