Zoo babies are on display all month at the Cincinnati Zoo. On Mother’s Day, moms get in for free. CONTRIBUTED

5 last-minute ways to celebrate Mother’s Day with your favorite moms

Happy Mother’s Day!

One of the greatest gifts you can give any mom is the gift of quality time (well, in addition to the gift of peace and quiet, the gift of a clean house and the gift of sleep).

If you dropped the ball on making brunch reservations or getting that perfect gift, here are some last-minute ideas for things to do with the special moms in your life today to show how much you care.

>> BRUNCH! Mother’s Day Brunch Guide

>> More places to brunch in Dayton

Grab some of your favorite moms, jump in your car and go, go, go.

>> MORE: 5 more things to do with Mom this weekend

Zoo babies are on display all month at the Cincinnati Zoo. On Mother’s Day, moms get in for free. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Staff Writer

1. FREE ENTRY AT ZOOS

Head to Cincinnati or Columbus for a day trip to the zoo. Reason No. 1: Moms get free admission. Reason No. 2: Cute animals and unbelievably cute baby animals.

Where: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH

When: Mother’s Day, May 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More info: Visit cincinnatizoo.org

Admission: Free for moms! Adult general admission is $17 online. Tickets for children ages 2-12 and seniors is $12 online. Children under 2 are free. You can buy your tickets online in advance before you head out of the door.

>> PHOTOS: Fall in love with these zoo babies

>> RELATED: What to know about zoo babies exhibit

Where: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, 4850 Powell Road, Powell, OH

When: Mother’s Day, May 14, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More info:www.columbuszoo.org

Admission: Free for moms and grandmas with a child’s paid admission. Daily admission is $14 for adults, $8 for children ages 3-9 and seniors age 60 and older. Children under 3 are free. Parking is $10. You can buy your tickets online in advance before you head out of the door.

The Osage Orange Tunnel at Sugarcreek MetroPark is mysterious and unique. It’s stunning no matter what the season. STAFF FILE PHOTO
Photo: Staff Writer

2. A NATURE WALK

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous today, so get out and enjoy it together. Here are three of our favorite trails to walk and talk:

>> RELATED: Last-minute things to do with Mom at the metroparks

  1. John Bryan State Park, 3790 State Route 370, Yellow Springs: There’s no better place to connect with nature. The 752-acre park contains an incredible limestone gorge cut by the scenic Little Miami River. A portion of the gorge itself is designated as a national natural landmark. Trails available for all skill levels. Visit parks.ohiodnr.gov/johnbryan for more information.
  2. Sugarcreek Metropark, 4178 Conference Road, Bellbrook: Walk among wildflowers and native plant species. The diverse habitats in this 618-acre park transport visitors from dense woods to tall grass prairies to babbling brooks. Walk through the Osage Orange Tunnel and discover magnificent 550-year-old White Oak trees. Visit www.metroparks.com for more info.
    >> MORE: You’ve got to see this living tree tunnel near Dayton
  3. Cox Arboretum, 6733 N. Springboro Pike, Dayton: Cox Arboretum is the perfect setting for a family photo moms will cherish. The beautiful 189-acre park is like a little oasis that includes hiking trails through forests and meadows, ponds, specialty gardens feature a rock garden; lush, colorful perennial gardens and an edible landscape garden. You’ll have to wait until summer for the Butterfly House to open. Visit www.metroparks.com for more info.

>> RELATED: 12 top hiking trails in Dayton, nearby

>> GUIDE: Plan the perfect picnic in Dayton: Where to go | What to eat

Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs offers more than 50 flavors of creamy, delicious homemade ice cream. Heaven! CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

3. ICE CREAM

Let mom indulge a little with some delicious homemade ice cream. Spend the day with the family at Young’s Dairy. Try five scoops of homemade ice cream, three toppings, chocolate chip and Oreo cookies and whipped cream and toppings for $8.50 with a Cow Trough. Or try the Tasty Buckeye BullShake with chocolate peanut butter ice cream and peanut butter cup ice cream with peanut butter and chocolate syrup, Reese’s pieces and a homemade buckeye for $6.95. Oh, and while you’re there, hang out with the animals, play mini-golf, try your luck at the batting cages or just sit outside and enjoy the weather.

>> RELATED: 5 things you must do in Yellow Springs

Looking for another great place for ice cream beyond the usual suspects? Try Ducky’s Snowballs and Ice Cream in Troy (100 W. Market St.) for a unique blend of flavored shaved ice and ice cream in an equally unique setting. Try a Large Chocolate Covered Strawberry Snowball ($5.50), which is strawberry snow filled with chocolate or vanilla soft serve ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. Trust us, this place is worth the drive because it’s like nothing else.

>> RELATED: 7 places to get frozen treats in Dayton

Lily’s Bistro (CONTRIBUTED)

4. PATIO DRINK AND SNACKS

So you didn’t make reservations for a fancy Mother’s Day brunch? This doesn’t mean dining out is out of the question. We suggest avoiding the peak busy hours and sliding into one of your favorite places (especially one with a killer patio) for a celebratory drink for mom plus appetizers or even a full meal. A few suggestions: a margarita with chips and guacamole or queso on the patio of Chuy’s (locations at Austin Landing and near the Mall at Fairfield Commons), a round of mini-golf paired with relaxing breezes, deep-fried pretzels and a Long Island Iced Tea on the patio of T.J. Chumps (Englewood location), a cold beer and sinful Pub Fries on the Dublin Pub patio or a classic cocktail from Lily’s Bistro in Dayton (and maybe some of their amazing mac n cheese), just to name a few possibilities.

>> RELATED: 15 kickass patios in the Dayton area

>> RELATED: 5 places to find great margaritas in Dayton

The Queen City is calling. Video by Amelia Robinson

5. QUICK ESCAPE

Looking for a quick mini escape? Spend the day down on the Ohio River. The Reds are on the road, so take this opportunity to walk around Fountain Square in Cincinnati or along the levee paths complete with parks, splash pads and more at Smale Riverfront Park, Sawyer’s Point and Yeatman’s Cove. You can even cross the Purple People Bridge and check out Newport on the Levee, in addition to tons of restaurants on the Kentucky side of the river like Tom + Chee, famous for its grilled cheese donut, plus the Hofbrauhaus. A few places to stop for a drink, appetizers or snacks on the Ohio side: Moerlein Lager House, The Yard House or The Montgomery Inn Boathouse.

>> RELATED: 6 places you should visit in Cincinnati

>> RELATED: 11 things to do, eat and see in Columbus

>> RELATED: Some of the best things to do, see and eat in Indianapolis

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