We used to hit PIB every year as fun-loving adults. Obviously lotsa fun that way. 3 weeks ago we took our 5 yr old daughter on a day trip. She loved it.
We took the Jet Express for Port Clinton, leaving around 9AM. We returned ~ 4:30PM before people like we used to be were too prevalent!
And I really don't mean anything is wrong with that, just our choice of what we wanted our daughter to be around. AS it was she got some earfuls still. However we all had a great time.
My best pointers and other miscellaneous disjointed comments :
1) Get there on an early ferry and rent a golf cart (they DO run out of them, believe it or not.) I want to say something like $13/hr but well worth it. TH3ey have 2 seaters and 4 seaters.
2) You can get pizza at Frosty's, kids can go in the restaruant side for sure and from there you can also walk right into the bar side. Can also eat at the outdoor place before you get to Frosty's (Crescent tavern or something like that). Probably many other family eating options (DQ) also but since we have only taken our daughter once we have obvioulsy not explred them all with her. You can also eat at the Boardwalk (shrimp mmmm!), which is a outside boardwalk on the water fairly near where the Jet Express brings you in.
3) Perry's Monument was closed for construction when we were there 3 wks ago. Likely still may be. I believe a piece fell off a few months ago.
4) head down Catawba St (I think that's what is its called, anyway you'll figure it out, its the street just past the huge Beer Barrell Saloon - World's longest bar) to Perry's Cave and the Heileman winery. We did not do the winery with our daughter but she enjoyed the Cave a lot. They also have at the Perry's Cave area putt-putt golf, a mining camp, gift shop, butterfly house, and maze.
5) further down that same street you go past a little golf course. Never played it but it looks nice and relaxed (i.e. more my style, not a country club setting at all)
6) even further down you run into the South Bass Island State Park. It is really neat IMO, though we have not stayed there yet. You can get campsites right on the edge of the lake. Go to here to see if you can reserve. (follow links to online reservations and then select South Bass Island State park)
7) The golf cart is the key for getting around and enjoying it, IMO. Coming from the Jet Express dock, you can take an immediate right to go along the edge of the lake past where all the boaters dock. This will take you past the Boardwalk . In addition to the shrimp and other food you can get there, I believe from there you can still take another ferry out to Middle Bass island - we used to when Lonz Winery was there (absolutely wild times those were) - anyway it isn't there anymore, it is more relaxed like Rychian said - I think there is a microbrewery there now. I have not been to Kelley's island but want to see it sometime. I like that whole Lake Erie island atmosphere.
- But back on your golf cart, if you keep on driving past the Boardwalk (which is also ~ at the intersection with the Catawba street I mention above) and stay along the water you can drive around the outer perimeter of the island and see the homes (soem of which you saw the fronts of as you came in on the Jet Express). It is a nice relaxing drive. You will eventually loop back to intersect with Catawba again and can turn Right from ther to get to the State Park or left to head back to Put-In Bay. You will pass Parry's Cave and the winery on your way back to town.
Even though I typed a lot, this is not at all meant to be comprehensive. I believe my wife heard of some other neat things we could have done with our daughter also but we plain old did not have that much time. And the bars are a bunch of fun for the grown ups but in large part not for young ears/eyes. We did sit on the Boardwalk and have a couple beers and some shrimp with our daughter and that was more than fine and quite enjoyable. But we never took her into the other "establishments" except Frosty's. But the Perry's Cave area is all about kids and I think there are some other areas too.
I am no expert on the place, especially currently, but went there annually from age 23 to~34 or so... and now once 6 years later as a responsible loving parent.
I just see the brochure Roy posted which should help a lot along with the words from others on the thread. You should have a good time but remember the bar section/area will be rowdy late afternoon and evening. Feel free to ask any particular questions. Again am no expert but will try to answer as best I can.