FAMILY EXPLORER: Marion County has plenty of family fun to spring into

Leah Nestor, Family Explorer

Marion County is right in the middle of everywhere. Whether you’re just passing through on an overnight trip, visiting friends and family or exploring for a weekend, get ready to make new memories and experience everything that makes this place special – especially during the spring.

Plan some family fun festivals:

The West Virginia Three Rivers Festival is full of live music and intriguing entertainment (to say the least). On May 22-25, rides, games and cotton candy are only the beginning. Bear Hollow Wood Carvers, a pepperoni roll bake-off, and an illusionist are all incredible sights to see before the 9th Annual World Championship Pepperoni Roll Eating Contest at Palatine Park.

Or visit the Coal Heritage Festival on June 22. This is its second year with live music from Buffalo Rose, Soup Camel, New Diesel Trio, and Barefoot Colby. And don’t forget to let the kids experience shoveling coal in the Coal Shoveling Contest.

Take a drive to Mannington on June 14-15 for Smokin’ on the Buffalo BBQ Brawl. Make some BBQ, eat some BBQ and watch the characters of Real Shoot Wrestling brawl for the winning title.

Experience the great outdoors:

Rent a bike at Pricketts Fort and hit the trail with the wind in your hair . Pricketts Fort is known for its rich history. Experience the past with blacksmithing class on June 15, plus hearth cooking demonstrations and Colonial Kids Days every week in June.

Mountain bike  – or hike casually – down the rolling hills at Valley Falls (or just lounge by the falls or the playground). Hike and disc golf your way through Morris Park on the Seth Burton Memorial Disc Golf Course.

Prepare your hearts (and stock up on sunscreen and aloe vera) for the opening of the Wave Pool on Memorial Day! Take an inner tube out on the waves, bask in the sun or hide from it in a personal cabana. Don’t like waves? 12th Street Pool and Mannington Pool have the spring and summer simplicity for fun in the sun.

Enjoy these family fun foods all season long:

The tallest cones in town are back at Dairy Creme Corner with so many flavorful choices from bubblegum to pina colada to Poptart to PB&J. And flavor isn’t the only choice you have to make: an avalanche, a sundae, a split, a cone, a cup or some form of ice cream.

The Poky Dot has the most shareable milkshakes (like Unicorn and Mermaid shakes) and sundaes (pounds of ice cream!). Grab the kids – and maybe even the extended family – sit in the open air, and eat your heart out.

At Pufferbelly’s Ice Cream Station, the sky’s the limit when it comes to flavors. Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn, Magic Bar (coconut flavored ice cream, graham pieces, choco chips, caramel swirls) and Caramel Cheesecake Cookie Monster are just some of their creatively original ideas. Ice cream is always better eaten outside!

Tradition, especially Italian tradition, is important. Homemade gelato at Colasessano’s means berry cheesecake, cookies n’ coffee, vanilla with mint cookies, tiramisu, s’mores and more!

With spring events, spring activities and spring foods, Marion is ready to help your family successfully spring into spring.

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Leah Nestor is a Marion County native who loves to explore anywhere and everywhere. When it comes to exploration, the most convenient place to start is your own backyard, so she’s constantly finding something new to get into. Her passions – in or out of Marion – are forests, international food and totally new experiences.

This post was last updated on March 18, 2022