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January Dayton Dozen: Guide to Family-Friendly Events {2018)


It’s cold out and your kids haven’t been off school long enough to be fighting ALREADY, have they? The best way to keep your sanity is to get them out of the house, keep them busy and count the days until spring. We hope these ideas will help you do just that. Here are 12 Family Friendly Events, sure to tickle your fancy faster than your next sneeze tickles your nose. Enjoy!

1) Virginia Kettering’s Holiday Train Display @ Kettering Tower – Dayton

***DMB Mom Tip*** This train display is actually available M-F all through December as well, but January 2 will be your last chance to see it!

  • January 2
  • 8:30am – 5:30pm
  • All ages
  • FREE

Visitors of all ages can view this beloved, one-of-a-kind model train display that was given to the community by Mrs. Virginia Kettering. The display can also be viewed through the building windows at Second and Main anytime.

2) Christmas @ EnterTRAINment Junction – West Chester

***DMB Mom Tip*** They appear on GROUPON very frequently and if you keep an eye out, you can get an amazing deal on tickets!

  • Through Jan. 5
  • Mon-Sat 10am – 6pm, Sun 12-6 pm
  • All ages
  • $9.95 for kids 3-12

Festive lights and decorations, and a North Pole walk-through adventure — plus three holiday-themed train displays free to the public. Regular exhibits include an enormous model train display, a children’s play area, and a railroad museum.

3)  The Great Christmas Tree Bonfire @ Adventures on the Great Miami – Tipp City

***DMB Mom Tip*** If you can’t make it to the event, but don’t want your tree in a landfill, Christmas Trees can be dropped off on any day after Christmas from 10am-5pm.

  • January 6
  • 5pm – 9pm 
  • All ages
  • FREE

Don’t drag your Christmas tree to the curb, give that perfect tree a proper send-off with the third annual Great Christmas Tree Bonfire. Featuring live music, a food truck and tons of fun for the whole family! Drop off your tree early or bring it with you to the event.

4)  Tinkergarten Class @ Hobart Urban Nature Preserve – Troy 

***DMB Mom Tip*** This is a free trial, so take the opportunity to experience this class without cost!

  • January 2, 6, 7, 9  
  • 3:30pm – 4:45pm
  •  18 months-5 years
  • FREE (Registration is required.)

Tinkergarten provides opportunities for early childhood learning in the healthiest classroom of all—the outdoors. The class will facilitate an expert-designed play scenario, allowing children of various ages and needs to explore, problem solve, communicate, collaborate, and create together. They will also share insight into your child’s development, which is a big win for parents. 

5) Cabin Fever Youth Hike @ Sweet Arrow Reserve – Bellbrook

***DMB Mom Tip*** Dress for a mess and wear sturdy shoes for the trails and possible wet creek crossings. Also bring an extra pair of clothes and an old towel to protect your car in case the ground is thawed enough to become muddy!

  • Jan 10 
  • 2:30pm – 4pm
  • 6-12 years
  • Free event

Join an adventure through the trails at Sweet Arrow Reserve. Plan to discover historic trees and critters near the creek, and along the way climb hills, rocks and logs to explore new paths leading to all sorts of adventures. (Registration required until minimum of 8 participants is met)

6) Paws to Read @ Yellow Springs Library – Yellow Springs

***DMB Mom Tip*** This is an excellent idea if you have a slightly timid reader. The therapy pets will soothe your reader while passing judgment and encouraging him/her to read aloud and gain or enhance valuable reading skills.

  • Jan 11
  • 3:00-4:00pm
  • All ages
  • FREE

Come in after school to read to and visit with four legged friends and their people! All participating pets are certified with the Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association.


Glow Swim at Aqua-Tots Swim School

January 13

  • Join our friends at Aqua-Tots for an afternoon of fun as they dim the lights in the pool room and fill the pool with glow sticks!
  • Light refreshments will be provided.
  • Registration is required for this event. For your convenience, sessions have been broken down into two-time options
    • Session 1: 1:30-2:30
    • Session 2: 2:45-3:45
  • Cost: $15 per family
  • Registration Link:
  • A friendly, Aqua-Tots front desk staff member will call you within 24 hours of registration to collect payment.
  • You may register in person or phone by calling 937-886-4321

7) ARTventures @ Dayton Art Institute – Dayton

***DMB Mom Tip*** These sessions are held the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. Check out the website for other dates and options.

  •  January 13 
  •  1pm-3pm
  • All ages
  • $15/family of 4 ($2/each additional child)

Drop in between 1:00 and 3:00pm to learn new art-making techniques and create artwork and memories that you’ll take home and cherish. Theme is Masks from the Ancient Americas. This program is perfect for all levels of artistic ability and all materials are provided.

8) How to Use Your Telescope @ Boonshoft Museum of Discovery – Dayton

***DMB Mom Tip*** Don’t forget the hats and gloves in case outdoor viewing is available. A canteen of hot chocolate might be a great treat for the ride home as well!

  • January 19
  • 7pm
  • Ages- Use your judgement as little kids and expensive telescopes don’t always mix well
  • Free

Bring your personal telescope and receive assistance operating it from members of the Miami Valley Astronomical Society (MVAS). Free astronomy observing materials will be available, and visitors will also have the chance to ask questions of experienced amateur astronomers about using and/or purchasing binoculars, telescopes, and other accessories. Live night sky viewing will be available throughout the evening, weather permitting.

9) Escape Room @ Fairborn Library – Fairborn

***DMB Mom Tip*** Before spending money on the various breakout games around Dayton, give this a try for free! You DO need to register, which you can do online starting on January 5th.

  • Jan 19 for Kids grades 3-5 
  • Jan 26 for Teens grades 6-12
  •  4pm, 4:30pm, 5pm
  • FREE

A smaller version of the popular breakout/escape rooms around the Dayton area. This will put your puzzle-solving skills to the test. See if your kids can beat the clock and breakout before time runs out!

10) Parents Night Off @ Bellbrook Sugarcreek Park District – Bellbrook

***DMB Mom Tip*** Drop the kids off and use our Ultimate Dayton Date Guide for your own actual adult fun!!

  • January 20
  • 6pm-9pm
  • 7-12 years old
  • $10 resident, $20 non-resident

They will babysit, entertain AND feed your kids pizza for dinner! Um yes, please. While you enjoy a night out on the town, your child will be having fun with new friends playing games, making crafts and roasting some marshmallows for some yummy s’mores. Some activities include: scavenger hunts, 60 Seconds or Less challenges, capture the flag, a short nature hike, group puzzle games and more! Pre-registration is required but can be done online.

11) Mr. Popper’s Penguins @ Victoria Theater – Dayton

***DMB Mom Tip*** This is part of the 2017-2018 Morris Furniture Company Family Series. Check out the other shows and purchase a family pass- just $50 for 5 shows!

  •  January 20 
  • 1:00pm & 4:00pm
  • All ages
  • (Check individual ticket prices or purchase a family pass)

See the show: “In the small town of Stillwater, Mr. and Mrs. Popper are pleasant, practical, predictable people. But when a package for the Poppers produces a penguin, chaos waddles into their lives! Based on the popular novel with catchy songs and penguin puppets aplenty.” Plus the “rolling” workshops in between shows are just $5 and you can join in on interactive story time too.

12) Frozen on Ice @ Riverscape – Dayton

***DMB Mom Tip*** Let your daughter use her Elsa dress for more than a daily battle of wills- layer it over warm clothes and let her go ice skating in it!

  • January 26
  • 7pm-10pm
  •  All ages 
  • $7.00

Ice skating while a DJ plays your favorite Disney songs? It literally can’t get much better than this for Disney fans living in Dayton! (Weather Dependent)

We hope you enjoy these fun Dayton options. Do you have your own ideas about family fun for starting 2018 right? Share them in the comments!

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