Continuing with our Erie vacation, many of the fun family activities can be found on Presque Isle. We spent a lot of time there, and there was plenty we never got to do because we ran out of time. We had wanted to go on one of the pontoon boat tours of a lagoon, but it was too windy that day, so the tours were canceled. We also never got around to hiking on the numerous trails that wind their way through wooded areas. That's definitely on the list of things to do next time.
We did manage to swim at one of the many beaches on a calm, sunny day. Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea, and the sand quickly filled up with umbrellas, towels, and lots of people.
Many of the days we were there, the waves were too high and the undertow too strong that swimming was unsafe, and the beaches were closed. I'm sure this contributed to the crowds showing up on a Sunday to swamp the beach for the afternoon. It was also Roar on the Shore, so there were bikers everywhere. Even so, our younger children had a great time in the clear waters of Lake Erie.
Two hours of 90 degrees in the sand and sun were enough for us grownups and the teenagers though. Much to our younger children's dismay, we packed up and headed elsewhere for the remainder of the day.
Sunday evenings are Family Night at Presque Isle Downs & Casino. You can't take the kiddos into the casino, but they are welcome out back at the race tracks. Admission is free, and there's food and beverages, and lots of horses to admire and bet on.
We're not a gambling kind of family, so we just watched the races and tried to guess which horse would win each race.
And it's good we don't gamble because each of us would have lost every single race, except for the kids' MeeMaw who predicted the winner twice.
It was fun for awhile, but most of my children lost interest after the first two races. Only our horse-loving daughter wanted to stay. But if you like horses, this would be a good place to come with your family to have dinner and watch the races.
Probably one of my most favorite places we visited was the Presque Isle lighthouse. This was an actual working lighthouse for many years, and families lived in the attached building.
It is open to the public and you can have a tour guide share its history and walk you up the winding staircase to the very top of the lighthouse. Once you're up there, the view is spectacular. It's narrow though, and the railing at your back is kind of low. On the windy day that we were there, it whipped your hair around and sometimes made you feel like you could be blown right off the ledge.
But like I said, the views of Lake Erie are amazing from up there.
Another great place for views of Presque Isle is the Tom Ridge Environmental Center.
Admission is free, and there are two floors of local nature/ecological/science-related exhibits.
Some of it is a little odd in a Ripley's Believe It or Not kind of way.
But most of it gives a decent introduction to the wildlife and habitats of the area. They currently feature information on fishing in Lake Erie.
You can either take the stairs or the elevator to the top of the tower, and you get a great view of the roller coasters and water slides at nearby Waldameer Park. This is both an amusement park and a water park. This is another place we didn't go to on this trip. There's also a Splash Lagoon in Erie that our kids love.
On our last night in Erie, we went to a Seawolves baseball game. For some of our children, this was their first time to watch baseball. In fact, it was only the second game I've ever been to.
It was "Buck Night" so sodas, popcorn, hotdogs, and the cheaper beer (yuck!) were only a dollar. We took advantage of that and ate dinner there before the game started. And we all donned Seawolves baseball caps to get in the spirit of things.
This is probably the only time you will catch my husband and me in baseball caps. They're just not our thing, and I spent the whole evening adjusting mine because it felt so uncomfortable. I don't know how so many people go through the whole day with these on their heads. It drove me crazy.
We cheered and we clapped and we ate popcorn and cotton candy.
And we thanked their grandparents for procuring the tickets.
But in the end, the Seawolves lost the game, I am sorry to say.
Those were the activities we packed into about five days in Erie, PA. We had such a good time that some of us weren't ready to come home. But it's good we did because a few days later our family had an event that none of us would want to miss.
More about that news later in the week...