Families Dig Reunions: Plant Trees at Ohio State Parks

Family connections are understandably one of the hottest topics during a family reunion, and Ohio State Park Lodges have added a fun touch of symbolism to the conversation through its “Family Tree” program.

Through this popular program, families who have booked at least 15 rooms or cabins at any of five Ohio State Park Lodges operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts qualify to receive a free tree to plant in the park during their stay. They can then chart the tree’s growth over the coming years just as they chart the growth of the youngest child in the clan.

“Family reunions are about strengthening bonds with relatives, and conversations often start by revisiting the news of the past year – who married, became engaged, was born, graduated, retired or started a new career,” said Dianna Rom, regional director of sales and marketing. “We, believe that multi-generational family gatherings create memories that can last a lifetime. Understanding and learning to appreciate family connections is important, and the trees that families plant together illustrate these connections in a symbolic way that is also good for the parks as well as the participants.”

Rom’s assertions are supported by a U.S. Travel Association (USTA) survey called Travel Effect. The majority of adults surveyed said their earliest memories are of family vacations they took when they were between the ages of five and 1ten. And most younger respondents said they felt closer to their grandparents after traveling with them.

Rom recommends that families make their reunion plans soon to secure accommodations that are perfectly suited to each family group. There are group arrangements available at lodges in Deer Creek, Maumee Bay, Salt Fork, Mohican and Punderson Manor state parks. Each of the five parks reflects the distinctive offerings of their locations throughout Ohio, and visitors can find the one that suits them best by going online. Accommodations include lodge rooms as well as cottages or cabins with full kitchens and living rooms, a perfect gathering space for intimate family cookouts and late-night card games.

To qualify for the Family Tree program, families need to book a two-night minimum with at least 15 rooms. Families will receive a free tree to plant in the park during their stay. Then they can chart the tree’s growth over the coming years. They will also receive a family bonfire with complimentary s’mores (May-October) or a family movie-and-popcorn night (November-April).

Each lodge offers a wide range of activities suitable for every member of the family. During the summer, lodges offer supervised children’s activities including crafts and water games. Families can also try geocaching, which is like a high-tech treasure hunt using hand-held GPS units to search for treasures hidden in the parks. There are also games like basketball, volleyball, archery, disc golf, shuffleboard and horseshoes; water adventures like fishing and boating and naturalist programs.

“Our lodges are not cookie-cutter, and we don’t think family reunions should be cookie-cutter either,” said Rom. “Our staff will work with each family to plan a reunion that is active, memorable and stress-free.”

“Our lodges are not cookie-cutter, and we don’t think family reunions should be cookie-cutter either,” said Rom. “Our staff will work with each family to plan a reunion that is active, memorable and stress-free.”

Because activities vary from park to park, if something is especially important to a group, reunion planners should ask members of the lodge sales staffs to provide ideas they know have worked with past groups.

The five Ohio State Park Lodges are located throughout the state. Visit our website for specific locations and additional information.

 

Geauga News
Author: Geauga News