Your guide to summer fun in Ohio
10101 Riverside Drive, Powell (Delaware County)
Plenty of aquatic adventures await visitors to the water theme-park next to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The new Otter Banks attraction includes Sandpiper Splash Drop Slides; Sea Challenge, an aqua-themed obstacle course; and Sand Dollar Shores with cascading waterfalls and relaxing seating walls. The park also offers Summer Nights (family-friendly movie nights) on select Fridays.
Admission: $34.99, or $26.99 for children 3 to 9, with discounted prices online. Includes admission to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on day of visit.
Inkcarceration Music & Tattoo Festival
100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH 44905
This year’s electrifying line-up includes Shinedown, Godsmack and Five Finger Death Punch, +Live+, Taking Back Sunday, Seether, Skillet, I Prevail, Starset, Red Sun Rising, Motionless in White, Fozzy, Buckcherry, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Andrew W.K., P.O.D., Stabbing Westward, Light the Torch, From Ashes to New, Smile Empty Soul, Eyes Set To Kill, Awake at Last, The Funeral Portait, Kerbera, Raven Black, Beyond Unbroken, Rivals, Impending Lies and The Everyday Losers, plus special performances by The Monster Dolls.
With the concert happening outside, once again, Inkcarceration will feature 70 local and regional tattoo artists tattooing all weekend inside the reformatory.
Summer fun for the kids
Neighborhood pools will soon be bustling — if they aren’t already — and parents will do their best to persuade their children to take part in library reading programs to keep their minds sharp. But when kids are done swimming or finished reading, how else to keep them occupied?
Fortunately, the summer schedule is jam-packed with events and attractions around the region to keep kids satisfied until school is back in session.
Tree Frog Canopy Tours
21899 Wally Road, Glenmont (Holmes)
This adventurer’s paradise comes with seven ziplines and two sky bridges that crisscross the forest.
Admission: starts at $75 for adults for a three-hour tour
Works by Michael Weisel
Springfield Museum of Art, 107 Cliff Park Rd., Springfield
Dates: through Sept. 1
On display will be the large-scale paintings by Columbus artist Michael Weisel, whose works reference traditional figurative composition yet also include abstracted, dream-like imagery.
Admission: $5 adults, $3 students and senior citizens, free for members and age 17 and younger
Columbus Cultural Arts Center, 139 W. Main St.
Dates: through June 22
The artist, originally from India, creates mixed-media fiber works inspired by and reflecting the traditional art forms of her homeland.
Commons for Kids
John F. Wolfe Columbus Commons, South High and East Rich streets
Dates: Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. throughout the summer
Friday mornings are officially about the kids of Columbus. Give the carousel a whirl or hit the bounce houses free of charge. There’s something for kids of all ages with demonstrations, Imagination Playground, crafts and games. Each week will have its own theme.
John F. Wolfe Columbus Commons, South High and East Rich streets
Dates: Every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May through October, and every Tuesday morning in June from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Ten of Columbus’ best food trucks will be serving lunch, providing enough variety so there is always something new to try. Plus, head on down Tuesday mornings in June for breakfast treats.
Braxton Miller’s CHARG1NG Youth Football Camp: Columbus Edition
Fortress Obetz, 2015 Recreation Trail
Former Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller will host the third annual Charg1ng camp. Each participant will receive free gear, lunch and a photo with Miller, who played in the NFL. Special guests include former Ohio State football players and current NFL players.
Admission: $100; ages: 6-13 (youth); 13-17 (high school)
Zane’s Landing Park, west end of Market Street, downtown Zanesville
Lorena Sternwheeler public boat ride. Purchase tickets at the boat 15 to 30 minutes before the cruise.
Admission: $9 adults, $8 seniors, $5 children ages 2-12
Music in the Park
Stradley Park, 36 S. High St., Canal Winchester
Date: June 21 and July 19, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Summer concerts offer live entertainment and family-friendly activities. The June 21 concert will feature Jack Fox & the County Line Band, historic tractors & farm equipment and farmers’ market vendors. The July 19 concert will host a classic car cruise-in with music by The Gas Pump Jockeys.
Canal Winchester Farmers’ Market
Downtown Canal Winchester
Date: Saturdays through Sept. 28, 9 a.m. – noon
Open-air farmers’ market offers fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs, home-baked goods, and more while offering a moment to slow down and savor the sights, sounds, and tastes of an old-fashioned marketplace.
15 locations in Lucas County
Metroparks Toledo boasts more than 12,000 acres of protected natural land to explore — and hike and bike and kayak and more. Jerusalem Township’s Howard Marsh Metropark is the latest addition, joining the sprawling system last year with miles of hiking trails that will particularly appeal to bird-watchers.
For a more urban atmosphere, try Toledo’s Middlegrounds Metropark, with a 1.5-mile path that meanders along the Maumee River. Swanton’s Oak Openings Preserve is at the opposite extreme, with about 5,000 wooded acres. The Canneley Treehouse Village there won’t quite be ready for the summer.
About 4 miles north of Marblehead (Erie)
Kelleys Island is a mellower counterpart to Put-in-Bay — a little more hiking, biking and kayaking than all-day bar-hopping. The glacial grooves — an impressive 400 feet long, 35 feet wide and 10 feet deep — are a particular landmark for the outdoorsy visitor. For those who like to kick back with a drink or a meal, there’s the Kelley’s Island Wine Co. and Kelleys Island Brewery.
Admission: The Kelleys Island Ferry leaves from Marblehead, with one-way adult fares at $10; plan on $10 for parking. Jet Express leaves from Sandusky, with one-way adult fares at $20 and free daily parking.
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
7721 Steam Corners Road, Lexington (Richland)
Spectators fill the stands each summer at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, where the Honda Indy 200 is slated for July 26-28 and NASCAR’s Xfinity Series will race Aug. 9-10. Americas Rallycross puts a different spin on racing June 8-9, and a Vintage Grand Prix (June 21-23) and Vintage Motorcycle Days (July 5-7) turn back the clock.
Mid-Ohio is one of several tracks in the region that welcome spectators: Toledo Speedway in Lucas County, Fremont Speedway in Sandusky County or Attica Raceway Park in Seneca County are among the others.
Admission: varies by event; children 12 and under are admitted free with paid adult.
Toledo Museum of Art
2445 Monroe St., Toledo (Lucas)
Plenty impresses within the world-renowned collection of the Toledo Museum of Art. Summer exhibits include “Life is a Highway: Art and American Car Culture,” exploring the implications of the automobile between June 15 to Sept. 15. The multisensory “Everything is Rhythm: Mid-Century Art and Music” and the wide-ranging “Global Conversations: Art in Dialogue” run all summer. The TMA Block Party also returns on July 13, among other special summer programming.
Admission: free; plan on $8 for onsite parking for nonmembers.
1 Discovery Way, Toledo (Lucas)
From the High Wire Cycle, where a massive counterweight lets you ride a bicycle along a cable suspended 20 feet above the ground, to the Extreme Science Theater, where scientists lead daily interactive demonstrations, there is plenty to see and do at Imagination Station.
The IDEA Lab Tinkering Space, in particular, lets visitors get hands-on with activities that change monthly. In June, tinkerers can design and build boats, then test their models on stormy seas. Catapults and trebuchets are up in July.
Admission: $13 for adults, $12 for those 65 and over and $11 for children ages 3 to 12; there is a $2 discount for Lucas County residents.
7103 Rt. 66, Fort Loramie (Shelby)
Date: July 11-13
Where do you find some of the biggest names in country music? Rural Shelby County, Ohio, where a summertime music festival has been gathering fans since 1981.
Country Concert returns to Fort Loramie with headliners Kid Rock, singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton and singer Thomas Rhett standing out in a lineup of more than 25 acts who will play two stages on the 500-acre facility. Park a camper, pull out a lawn chair and make a weekend of it.
Admission: Three-day general admission is $239, free for children under 10; single-day general admission is $105 to $113.
5773 Centennial Road, Sylvania (Lucas)
Centennial Terrace is an outdoor concert venue that is hosting stars all summer. On this season’s lineup: country singer Dwight Yoakam on May 31; country singer Billy Currington on June 21; rocker Ted Nugent on Aug. 4, and country star Scotty McCreery on Aug. 10, and others. There also is the annual Summer Disco Party on June 28 and Star-Spangled Celebration on July 3.
Looking for other outdoor venues in northwest Ohio? Check out Promenade Park along the Maumee River in downtown Toledo, where the ProMedica Summer Concert Series brings acts on Fridays.
Admission: varies by event; plan on $5 for parking
Toledo Zoo and Aquarium
2 Hippo Way, Toledo (Lucas)
The Toledo Zoo and Aquarium is slated to open its historic museum May 31. The ProMedica Museum of Natural History will offer interactive education on biodiversity, including a two-story tropical greenhouse and an exhibit on venom featuring a pair of Komodo dragons. It all will be inside a facility constructed by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s.
But don’t spend all your time in the museum: There is a polar bear cub named Borealis to check out in his first summer on display, as well as a summer concert series — including Jim Gaffigan and Earth Wind and Fire — that is worth a peek when you’re planning your trip to the zoo.
Admission: $19, or $16 for those 60 and over and children ages 2 to 11; $2 more for non-Lucas County residents. Additional cost for concerts. Nonmembers should plan on $8 for parking.
7000 Kalahari Drive, Sandusky (Erie)
With slides, pools and splash areas that cover 200,000 square feet, Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky bills itself as the region’s largest indoor water park. Among the newest attractions is Bugs Burrow, an outdoor children’s splash area introduced in July. Giant bug and flower features are designed to give guests the feeling they’ve shrunk to ant-size.
There also is plenty to do outside the waterpark, including the Spa Kalahari and Salon, the Safari Outdoor Adventure Park and two space-themed escape rooms ready to take on their first summertime guests.
Admission: Room rates vary; all-day waterpark admission for non-guests is $74.99 for adults, $65.99 for non-guests under 42 inches tall.
Cedar Point and Cedar Point Shores Waterpark
1 Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky (Erie County)
The Forbidden Frontier on Adventure Island debuts this summer at Cedar Point, the sprawling amusement park that itself is a summertime staple on the coast of Lake Erie. There are no rides in this experiential attraction, but a set of themed games and challenges that put visitors in the middle of an ongoing fight for ownership of the island – and its rumored hidden treasure.
The Forbidden Frontier joins 70 rides, including 18 high-thrills roller coasters such as Steel Vengeance, which opened in Frontier Town in 2018. Meanwhile, the adja-cent water park, Cedar Point Shores, offers visitors a chance to cool off with exciting slides and gentle pools.
Admission: General admission is $73 for Cedar Point, $39.99 for Cedar Point Shores, with discounted rates for children and some ticket packages purchased online; plan on $20 for parking. The park is offering a special Wild Card pass for $59.99, which offers unlimited access through June 30. The pass is not valid for Cedar Point Shores.
Mohican State Park
3116 Route 3, Loudonville (Ashland, Holmes)
The area around Mohican has become an outdoor adventurer’s dream, with scenic hiking, mountain bike trails, horseback riding and canoeing along the Mohican River and its tributaries.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
1550 Boston Mills Road, Peninsula (Summit)
Among the many popular activities here: biking along the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, hiking some of the park’s 100-plus miles of trails and hopping aboard the Cuya-hoga Valley Scenic Railroad (for a cost), which travels straight through the park.
Ohio’s only national park encompasses 33,000 acres between Akron and Cleveland, with numerous opportunities for outdoor fun. Coming later this year: the new Boston Mill Visitor Center, located on the southeast corner of Riverview and Boston Mills roads.
Saucy Brew Works
2885 Detroit Ave., Cleveland (Cuyahoga)
Saucy Brew Works, on Cleveland’s west side, is a relative newcomer to the exploding craft beer scene in Northeast Ohio. It didn’t take long to establish itself, winning the title “Northeast Ohio’s Best Brewery” in a recent poll by Cleveland.com. In addition to some terrific beers, the brewery offers a full dinner menu, plus brewery tours on Friday and Saturday.
1700 55th St. NE, Canton (Stark)
This Tuscan-themed property offers an elegant wine-themed getaway, with high-end hotel rooms, upscale restaurants, cooking classes, wine tours and more. New this summer: The Casa, with 24 suites, featuring fireplaces, heated floors, covered patios and more. All this and wine too, including 20-plus varieties made here.
Northeast Ohio wine tours
4888 N. Broadway, Geneva-on-the-Lake (Ashtabula)
The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, in the heart of Northeast Ohio’s wine region, recently introduced a new winery tour, the Signature Immersion Tour, offered every Saturday. The five-hour tour includes tastings, tours and food pairings at three local wineries. Price is $75 per person, reservations required.
The lodge also offers a popular Deluxe Winery Shuttle, available several times daily, stopping at three or four wineries, priced at $35-$45.
Tall Ships Festival
North Coast Harbor, Cleveland (Cuyahoga)
Date: July 11-14
At least 10 replica and restored Tall Ships will sail into Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor this summer for the first time since 2013. Activities include an opening day Parade of Sail, tours, sailings, food, music and historical exhibits.
Admission: $15 in advance, or $13 for those 65 and over, veterans and active military, and $10 for children ages 5 to 14
Various locations in Cleveland, Cuyahoga
Fifty years ago on June 22, the Cuyahoga River caught fire, igniting an environmental movement. Commemorate the anniversary week with dozens of events and activities in and around downtown Cleveland, including a lighted boat parade, stand-up paddleboard and kayak races, art exhibits, bike tours, kids activities and lectures.
Duck Tape Festival
Veterans Memorial Park, 3701 Veterans Memorial Parkway, Avon (Lorain)
Celebrate the miracle of duct tape in the hometown of Duck Brand. Activities include a duct tape fashion show, duct tape arts and crafts, a parade, entertainment and more.
Bridgestone Senior Players Championship
Firestone Country Club, 452 E. Warner Road, Akron (Summit)
This is the first of four years the Senior Players Championship will be played at Firestone, a replacement for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational that moved to Memphis, Tennes-see, starting this year. Among those expected to compete at Firestone: Vijay Singh, Fred Couples and Tom Watson. Look for food trucks, live music and other non-golf fun at the event, too.
Admission: $20 and up; 18 and younger are free with a ticketed adult
FirstEnergy Stadium, 100 Alfred Lerner Way, Cleveland (Cuyahoga)
Speaking of the Browns … anticipation of football season in Cleveland hasn’t been this high since, well, since anyone can remember. Even the preseason games are likely to draw a crowd: The Washington Redskins play in Cleveland on Aug. 8; the Detroit Lions come to town Aug. 29. The regular season starts Sept. 8 against the Tennessee Titans.
CONCACAF Gold Cup
FirstEnergy Stadium, 100 Alfred Lerner Way, Cleveland (Cuyahoga)
Date: June 22
Soccer takes over the home of the Cleveland Browns for one day in June, with a doubleheader that pairs the U.S. men’s national team against Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana versus Panama.
Cleveland is one of 15 U.S. venues to host matches in the Gold Cup, the biennial tournament of the North, Central American and Caribbean region
Admission: $35 and up
Canal Park, 300 S. Main St., Akron (Summit County)
The Cleveland Indians’ Class AA affiliate plays at downtown Akron with seating for 7,600.
Progressive Field, 2401 Ontario St., Cleveland (Cuyahoga)
For the sixth time — more than any other city — Cleveland will play host to Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game this summer. The game gets under way July 9, but there will be nearly a week’s worth of fun leading up the first pitch, including the interactive Play Ball Park, July 5-9, at Huntington Convention Center.
Or, if you would rather just watch the Indians play a game in Cleveland, check out upcoming series, vs. the New York Yankees, June 7-9; Cincinnati Reds, June 11-12; and Detroit Tigers, June 21-23.
Admission: starts at $15.
The Butler Institute of American Art
524 Wick Ave., Youngstown (Mahoning)
The Butler, the first museum in the world to focus exclusively on American art, celebrates its centennial this year. Special exhibits include “A Century of Fashion by Pete Ballard” and “Mark Perrot: Ancient Ink.”
The permanent collection includes such iconic pieces as “Snap the Whip” by Winslow Homer, “Pennsylvania Coal Town” by Edward Hopper and “Lincoln the Railsplitter” by Norman Rockwell.
Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
11400 Euclid Ave., Cleveland (Cuyahoga)
Cleveland’s modern art museum, around the corner from the better-known Cleveland Museum of Art, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with a birthday gift to all — free admission. The museum is hosting several anniversary exhibits, including “Lee Mingwei: You Are Not a Stranger,” and “Abe Frajndlich: Portraits of Our Early Years.”
Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Blvd., Cleveland (Cuyahoga)
Cleveland’s venerable art museum is hosting another blockbuster special exhibit this summer, “Shinto: Discovery of the Divine in Japanese Art,” which examines religious tradi-tion in Japan through more than 100 objects, including garments, calligraphy, paintings and masks. This is the only stop for this special exhibit, which runs through June 30.
The museum, considered among the finest in the world, is located east of downtown in Cleveland’s cultural mecca, University Circle.
Admission: free; $10 for “Shinto” or $8 for seniors and students, $5 for children 6 to 17
Pro Football Hall of Fame
2121 George Halas Drive NW, Canton (Stark)
Highlights here include the Hall of Fame Gallery, where more than 300 bronze busts of the sport’s greatest players, coaches and contributors are on display. There also is the Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery and “A Game for Life,” featuring Joe Namath and other greats in hologram form.
Every August, Canton hosts the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement, when former players and league contributors are inducted into the museum. This year, the event runs Aug. 1-4, with the Hall of Fame Game (Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons) on Aug. 1; the Enshrinement Ceremony on Aug. 3; and Concert for Legends, featuring Imagine Dragons, on Aug. 4.
Admission: $26, or $22 for those 65 and older, $19 for children 6 to 12
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
1100 E. Ninth St., Cleveland (Cuyahoga)
Downtown Cleveland’s best-known tourist attraction continues to evolve, like the music it celebrates.
New this year is an exhibit on the 2019 inductees, including The Cure, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, Roxy Music and the Zombies. Also: the “Stay Tuned: Rock on TV” exhibit and a 25th anniversary concert to celebrate the Vans Warped Tour (June 8), with a related exhibition.
And of course, the museum is still loaded with costumes, instruments and other paraphernalia that track the revolution of rock over the decades.
Admission: $26, or $24 for those 65 and older, $16 for children 6 to 12
Blossom Music Center
1145 W. Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls (Summit)
For a perfect warm-weather evening, head to Blossom Music Center, summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra. The amphitheater seats 5,700, with room for another 13,500 on the lawn. The orchestra plays weekends from late June through early September. Among this season’s highlights: Rhapsody in Blue (July 5-6), Brian Wilson (Aug. 11), and live performances with “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” (June 29-30) and “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” (Aug. 30-31, Sept. 1).
During the week, a wide variety of popular musicians take the stage, including the Zac Brown Band (June 14), Phish (June 19) and Wiz Khalifa (July 30).
Admission: prices vary; children under age 18 are admitted free to the orchestra (two free lawn passes with one paying adult).
9550 Sperry Road, Kirtland (Lake)
Holden Arboretum is one of the nation’s largest botanical gardens, featuring 20 miles of trails spread across 3,500 acres. Recently reopened for the season: Murch Canopy Walk and Kalberer Tower, which rises 120 feet above the forest floor for spectacular views.
Admission: $12, or $8 for children 3 to 12 (canopy walk extra)
Cleveland Botanical Garden
11030 East Blvd., Cleveland (Cuyahoga)
With magical spaces inside and out, this is a great destination whatever the weather. Inside: Madagascar and Costa Rican biomes within the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse, featuring plant life and animals. And outside: the Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, Woodland Garden and Hershey Children’s Garden, with plenty of family-friendly activities.
Admission: $12, or $8 for children 3 to 12
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland (Cuyahoga)
Asian Highlands debuted last summer at the Cleveland Zoo, with resident snow leopards, red pandas, takins and an Amur leopard. Other favorite areas include the African Elephant Crossing, Australian Adventure and the RainForest. You will want to devote a full day to see everything here, with thousands of animals spread across nearly 200 acres. Births this year include a reindeer calf and a sloth bear.
Admission: $16.95 adults, $14.95 for those 62 and older, $12.95 for children 2 to 11
505 Euclid Ave., Akron (Summit County)
The Akron Zoo, located just west of downtown, is in expansion mode. Opening in June: Pride of Africa, a new area that will be home to African lions, Speke’s gazelles, white storks and more. And next summer, visitors can look forward to the new Wild Asia area, with Sumatran tigers, red pandas and white-cheeked gibbons. Together, the two areas will make up the largest expansion in the zoo’s history.
Admission: $12, or $10 for those 62 and older, $9 for children 2 to 14
Coshocton Lake Park
23253 Rt. 83, North Coshocton (Coshocton)
Just a short half-mile trek outside Coshocton proper, Coshocton’s Lake Park is a one-stop shop for a variety of summertime fun. The family-friendly recreation spot features camping, hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, picnicking and a full-fledged aquatic center with water and tube slides, as well as a kiddie play area. The Lake Park Pavilion, which is in the middle of the Lake Park, is a beautifully restored 1920s-era dance hall which can be rented out for everything from dances to weddings. Another historic charm of the park is the horse-drawn Monticello III Canal Boat, which offers seasonal rides to visitors.
Admission: free to the park. Admission to the aquatic center is $7, $5 for youths ages 3-17, and free for children 2 and under. Canal boat rides are $8, $7 for senior citizens, and $6 for children ages 5-12. Camping is $27 a night for an electric site, $20 a night for a tent only area, and $15 a night for youth and scout groups.
Hope-Moonville Road, McArthur (Vinton)
Although allegedly haunted, Moonville Tunnel makes a nice day trip into the southeast Ohio’s semi-wilderness, regardless of whether you pick up a curse along the way. The area once was home to a railroad tunnel and Moonville itself, a former mining town that reached its peak population in the 1870s with around 100 residents. Now the area is home to a well-kept walking trail, which famously takes you through the Moonville tunnel.
Sixth Sense Brewing Company
175 Main St., Jackson (Jackson)
This small batch brewery is quite the find. The establishment features an array of regional beers, as well as a food menu that boasts a selection of burritos, tacos and other dishes. Sixth Sense also hosts live entertainment on a regular basis.
Devil’s Kettle Brewing
97 Columbus Road, Athens (Athens)
Devil’s Kettle Brewing opened in Athens in 2015, serving a variety of beers perfected by brewmaster Cameron Fuller. The establishment recently opened a full, permanent kitchen that is an offshoot of Pork and Pickles, a regional butcher shop that specializes in, well, the name kind of gives it away.
Pleasant Hill Vineyards
5015 Pleasant Hill Road, Athens (Athens)
The Corder family bought the scenic property on which the vineyard is located in 2012 and shortly afterward opened a winery that boasts 10 wine types created on-site. Ever since, the vineyard has been offering tasty appetizers, such as baked chicken artichoke dip served warm with toasted sourdough triangles and baked brie complete with fruit and pita points, alongside their varieties of sweet and dry wines.
13200 Little Cola Dr., Rockbridge (Hocking)
Lilyfest is a family-friendly art and music festival that takes place in the picturesque Bishop Educational Gardens. Enjoy the brightness of a midsummer’s day in southeast Ohio by strolling around the skillfully nurtured landscape of the gardens while enjoying free live music and perusing regional art for sale from more than 70 artisans.
Southern Ohio Copperheads
Bob Wren Stadium, 140 S. Shafer St., Athens(Athens)
Since 2002, the Southern Ohio Copperheads have been fulfilling their multipart mission by providing entertainment for families in southeast Ohio, offering a chance for collegiate players to improve their skills and serving as a sort of hands-on learning laboratory for sports administration students at Ohio University. The community-owned, student-operated outfit has a number of games planned for this year.
Southeast Ohio History Center
24 W. State St., Athens (Athens)
Since 2017, the Southeast Ohio History Center has resided in the lovingly restored First Christian Church, a venue that the museum crafted to fit its unique needs. The main exhibition room boasts a high ceiling with large windows, creating a thoughtful, peaceful atmosphere that complements the carefully constructed exhibitions in which the museum specializes.
Through June, the museum will explore the myriad of industries that built Southeast Ohio with the exhibition “Big, Heavy, and Dirty.” Later in the summer, the museum will examine the racial and ethnic diversity of the region with “Hidden Diversity – Hidden Landscapes.” Also on display this summer will be “Some of the People of Athens County: Photographs and Memories by Bob Devaney,” as well as the Morgan County Historical Society 50th anniversary exhibit.
Admission: $7, $5 for youths ages 12-18 and senior citizens, free for children under 12
Living Word Outdoor Drama
6010 College Hill Road, Cambridge (Guernsey)
Ohio’s only outdoor passion play, in its 45th season, recounts the life and ministry of Christ in an 800-seat, 400-foot-wide panoramic outdoor theater. The play, which takes place most Fridays and Saturdays, is a 2½-hour two-act with reenactments of the Sermon on the Mount, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and more. A tour of the set and special music are offered starting an hour before each performance.
“Crucifixed,” a youth rally and concert, will take place Aug. 17 ($10 in advance or $20 at door) and “The Jerusalem Experience,” a family-fun carnival, takes place Sept. 7 ($10, or $8 for children ages 3 to 12).
Admission: $18, or $16 for senior citizens, $6 for children ages 4 to 12
Coshocton Dulcimer Days
200 N. Whitewoman St., Coshocton (Coshocton)
This marks the 45th annual Dulcimer Days Festival in Coshocton, which celebrates the history and unique beauty of the dulcimer. Headliners this year are Aaron O’Rourke and David Mahler. The event takes place in Roscoe Village, a quirky little spot that also happens to be a historically restored 1830s Ohio and Erie Canal town.
Admission: free, although the workshops that take place throughout the event are $15 each.
588 W. Chestnut St., Coshocton (Coshocton)
This scenic botanical garden and popular outdoor wedding venue boasts 20 acres of woodland trails with sandstone outcroppings, rolling hills, ponds, and an ever-increasing collection of both familiar and exotic plants.
14000 International Road, Cumberland (Guernsey County)
Zebras, giraffes, cheetahs, camels, rhinos, and many other exotic animals freely roam The Wilds, a nonprofit safari park and conservation center that transformed an area of the state that was once marred by extensive strip mining. Enjoy an open-air safari for a day full of fun, or stay the night in one of The Wilds’ various overnight accommodations, including the Cabins at Straker Lake, which can comfortably house up to six people. A variety of other activities, such as catch-and-release fishing, ziplining, horseback tours and more also are available.
Admission: Open-air Safari (2.5 hours): $30 per person; Wildside Tour (2.5 hours): $125 per person; call for other fees.
Ozone Zipline Adventures
5291 Rt. 350, Oregonia (Warren)
If it’s an adrenaline rush you are looking for, southern Ohio has a wealth of adventure options to help make it happen. There are five major zipline canopy tours throughout the state — Hocking Hills, Loudonville, The Wilds Safari Park, Columbus, West Liberty — but one of the most breathtaking views can be had at Oregonia’s Ozone Zipline Adventures, which stretches across the Little Miami River and offers transportation for guests at heights of up to 200 feet. For those who think they have seen it all, the program offers night zipping once a month, on the Friday and Saturday closest to the full moon.
Admission: from $55; reservations required
The Ohio Caverns
2210 Rt. 245 East, West Liberty (Champaign)
For those looking to venture below the water table, a trip to The Ohio Caverns might be in order. This is the largest of Ohio’s caves, with over 2 miles of surveyed passageways ranging from 30 to 103 feet in depth. Tours leave about every 20 minutes and last about 45 minutes, so it’s an adventure into the Earth that you don’t necessarily need to plan ahead for. The caverns remain a steady 54 degrees year-round with air that is cleaner than what you can find above the ground. The largest and most famous formation in the Ohio Caverns is the Crystal King — one of the most perfectly formed stalactites in any cave. Nearly 5 feet long, weighing an estimated 400 pounds and estimated to be over 200,000 years old, it drips once every 7 to 8 minutes.
Admission: $19, or $10 for children ages 5 to 12
Joyce Park, 201 Joe Nuxhall Way, Fairfield (Butler)
Wake Nation is the only cable wake-boarding park in the Midwest and the best place to learn how to wakeboard, water ski, kneeboard and wake skate. The 10-acre lake in Butler County offers an opportunity to practice and hone skills without a boat. The main lake is capable of towing up to six riders at a time whipping them through a course of optional slides and rails. It’s as much fun for those observing as it is for those riding, and it gets the whole family outdoors.
Admission: $32 for two hours, $37 for four hours or $42 for an all day cable ticket; free for spectators; equipment rental available
26 Wyandot St., Dayton (Montgomery)
This full-scale production brewery is located in the heart of downtown Dayton at the former site of the Buckeye Brass & Iron Foundry (circa 1938). They brew, keg, can, bottle and distribute beer to local restaurants, bars, grocers and retailers in the Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus markets. This cool warehouse space has a tasting room with a full slate of beers that can get very flavorful and creative depending on what you order. The Spent Grain Grill inside the space is a great place to grab food to pair with your beverage of choice.
1910 Elm St, Cincinnati (Hamilton)
Rhinegeist translates to “Ghost of the Rhine” and refers to this popular brewery’s spot in historic Over-the-Rhine. Built within the skeleton of the old Moerlein bottling plant (1895), this is a newer brewery that has ties to Cincinnati’s rich brewing heritage. If you like IPAs, try their Truth, made with Amarillo, Simcoe, Citra, and Centennial hops.
Cincinnati Riverfront (Hamilton)
The Sunday before Labor Day, Sawyer Point hosts a giant celebration at the end of summer. Live music, family activities and plenty to do during the day wraps up in the evening with fireworks. It’s quite the show, complete with a WEBN-FM rock soundtrack.
Tennis Western & Southern Open
Lindner Family Tennis Center, 5460 Courseview Dr., Mason (Warren)
Described as “the Grand Slam of the Midwest,” fans will see stars from both the Women’s Tennis Association and the Association of Tennis Professionals tours playing in the tournament from Aug. 10-18.
1 Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati (Hamilton)
The NFL team was established by the legendary Paul Brown and began play in 1968. Preseason home games — the stadium is next door to Great American Ball Park — are Aug. 22 against the New York Giants and Aug. 29 against the Indianapolis Colts. The first regular-season home game is Sept. 15 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Fifth Third Field, 220 N. Patterson Blvd., Dayton (Montgomery)
The Reds’ Class A affiliate boasts a beautiful home with top-notch amenities. The Dragons have led the Class-A level in attendance in every year of their existence, and have finished first among all teams below the triple-A level for 13 straight seasons from 2006 to 2018. In 2011, they broke the record for most consecutive sellouts by a professional sports team, selling out their 815th consecutive game. The Dragons play upcoming home games May 28-30 against Lansing and May 31 to June 2 against South Bend.
Great American Ball Park, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati (Hamilton)
The Major League Baseball team’s ballpark is located within walking distance of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Yeatman’s Cove Park and other downtown Cincinnati attractions on the banks of the Ohio River. Grab food before or after the game at the Moerlein Lager House and enjoy a special day on foot.
American Sign Museum
1330 Monmouth Ave., Cincinnati (Hamilton)
The American Sign Museum, dedicated to the art and history of commercial signs and sign-making, is the largest public museum dedicated to signs in the United States. Covering more than 100 years of American sign history in 20,000 square feet of indoor space, the museum is a walk through the ages of technology and design.
Admission: $15, or $10 for those ages 65 and older, college students and children ages 13 and older. Up to three children ages 12 and younger are free with paid admission.
The Dayton Art Institute
456 Belmonte Park N., Dayton (Montgomery County)
Celebrating 100 years in 2019, the museum’s collection of 27,000 works spans 5,000 years of art history, including important Oceanic art, Asian art, European art, and American fine- and decorative-art collections. Exhibitions this year include “Our Century: Dayton Area Collects,” which opens June 29; “Dorothy Height’s Hats” (through June 23), “Monet and Impressionism” (through Aug. 25); and “The Moon Museum” (June 29–Sept. 8).
Admission: $8, or $5 for those 60 and older, active military and groups; free for students and children. Some special exhibitions may carry an additional fee.
Cincinnati Art Museum
953 Eden Park Dr., Cincinnati (Hamilton County)
“No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” runs through Sept. 2. The exhibition promises to transport audiences to the annual event in the Nevada desert by including room-sized installations, films, costumes and even “mutant art vehicles.” A second exhibition, “Kimono: Refashioning Contemporary Style,” will run from June 28 to Sept. 15 and celebrate the influence of the kimono on fashion.
If you haven’t been before, plan time to take a stroll through scenic Eden Park, where the museum resides.
Admission: free, special exhibition admission is $12, $6 for those 65 and older, college students and children ages 6-17. Children 5 and younger are free.
Cincinnati Museum Center
1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati (Hamilton)
The center, at Union Terminal, is home to three museums in one — Cincinnati History Museum and the Museum of Natural History & Science — along with the Robert D. Linder Family Omnimax Theater and the Cincinnati Historical Society Library. The center went through a $228 million restoration — the first in the Art Deco building’s 85-year history — last year. A highlight at the former train station is the exhibit “Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs,” which runs through Aug. 18.
Admission: $14.50 for pass to all three museums, or $10.50 for children ages 3 to 12, $5.50 for children ages 1 to 2, and $13.50 for senior citizens; special exhibits and Omnimax theater extra.
National Museum of the United States Air Force
1100 Spaatz St., Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton (Greene and Montgomery)
The world’s oldest and largest military aviation museum had a major expansion that opened last year, adding more than 70 aircraft in four new galleries and you can now board a space shuttle, walk through four presidential aircraft, step inside cargo planes and enjoy new educational opportunities. The Air Force Museum Foundation’s new suite of simulator rides, some of the first in North America, feature an exclusive space voyage experience.
Admission: free (parking also free); fee for theater and flight simulators
“Tecumseh!” Outdoor Drama
Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre, 5968 Marietta Road, Chillicothe
Sit beneath the stars and witness the epic life story of Shawnee leader Tecumseh as he defends his sacred homelands in the Ohio country during the late 1700s. The show unfolds around you with galloping horses and firing cannons during this live production.
Admission: $15 to $55
Rose Music Center at the Heights
6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights (Greene)
This covered, 4,200-seat seasonal venue is set for its fourth concert season.
Visit their website to see a full list of performances this summer.
Riverbend Music Center / PNC Pavilion
6295 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati (Hamilton)
This 20,500-seat outdoor amphitheater (with 4,100-seat pavilion) along the Ohio River has a full slate of concerts scheduled this summer.
Upcoming performances at PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center include: Rob Thomas, June 3; Travis Tritt and the Charlie Daniels Band Outlaws, June 2; Young the Giant and Fitz and the Tantrums, June 18; Third Eye Blind, July 17; Tedeschi Trucks Band, July 19.
Upcoming performances at Riverbend Music Center include: Dierks Bentley, May 30; Ozzy Osbourne, June 6; Luke Bryan, June 8; Dave Matthews Band, July 2; Peter Frampton, July 12; Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, July 13; Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band, July 18; Hootie and the Blowfish, July 20; Brad Paisley, July 21; Train and Goo Goo Dolls, July 24; Heart, July 27.
695 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering (Montgomery)
This popular outdoor amphitheater near Dayton features 4,300 seats. Upcoming concerts include: Lake Street Dive and The Wood Brothers, June 15; RAIN — A Tribute to the Beatles, June 27; Weird Al Yankovic, July 3; Diana Ross, July 6; Sheryl Crow, July 10; Jake Owen and Gretchen Wilson, July 27.
1501 Eden Park Dr., Cincinnati (Hamilton)
Cincinnati Parks’ nationally recognized showcase includes a permanent collection with desert plants, tropical specimens, Bonsai trees, rare orchids, carnivorous plants and exotic fruit trees.The 2019 butterfly show “Butterflies of Ecuador,” which runs through June 16, focuses on the country referred to as “four worlds in one,” because of its differing climate zones: Amazons, Andes, Coast and the Galapagos Islands. Be sure to seek out the famous rainforest waterfall and exotic plants in the palm, tropical, desert and orchid houses. Built in 1933 at the height of the Art Deco era, this is a truly special place to visit and enjoy.
Admission: $10, or $7 for children 5 to 17
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum
1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton (Butler)
Hamilton’s Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park is a hidden treasure and one worth seeking out. This 265-acre sculpture park and outdoor museum focuses on monumental pieces of sculpture in an environment of meadows, forests and gardens. Inside, there is a 10,000-square-foot Ancient Sculpture Museum displaying Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Etruscan sculpture. This is the perfect location for a family adventure or an amazing date. Pack a picnic and soak in art and the great outdoors all at once.
Admission: $8, or $3 for children 6 to 12
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
3400 Vine St., Cincinnati (Hamilton)
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Fiona, a hippo born in 2017 — has been voted the No. 1 Cincinnatian for the second year in a row in CityBeat’s 2019 Best of Cincinnati reader’s poll. The second-oldest zoo in the country has more than 500 animals and 3,000 plant species; it is internationally known for its research and conservation efforts on its more than 70-acre campus. It’s a beautiful facility to walk through thanks to gorgeous plantings. Between the animals and the surroundings, there is no shortage of things to see.
Admission: From $15, or $9 for children 2 to 12 and seniors 62 and over; parking is $10.
Jungle Jim’s International Market
5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield (Butler)
If there were a theme park for food, it would be Jungle Jim’s International Market. It is much more than just a grocery store, it’s a unique food adventure with more than 200,000 square feet of kitschy, entertaining shopping space and 150,000-plus products to look at from all over the world. A second location can be found at 4450 Eastgate South Drive in Cincinnati.
The Beach Waterpark
2590 Waterpark Dr., Mason (Warren)
Southeastern Ohio has its fair share of water parks. In addition to Kings Island’s Soak City waterpark and the park at Great Wolf Lodge, there is The Beach. Situated on 35 wooded acres, this family-friendly destination offers a packed calendar of events this summer. The Riptide Racer — a multi-person slide that is a race to the finish line for bragging rights — launched in 2015, and Reggae Sundays and the World’s Largest Swim Lesson are just a few other things on the docket as you look to cool off this summer.
Admission: $28.99 at the gate, or $23.99 for children and $19.99 for seniors. Online discounts available
Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati (Hamilton)
Cannonball Cove, a new dive-pool feature, is part of Coney Island’s Sunlite Water Adventure this season. The area includes two 1-meter diving boards and one 3-meter diving board with a 12-foot-9 dive depth. For 133 years, Coney Island has been a family-fun destination. Sunlite Water Adventure offers the opportunity to splash the day away at one of Typhoon Tower’s 73 interactive play stations, cannonball off the diving boards into the world’s largest recirculating pool, or race down one of the park’s 130 foot waterslides. There also is a full-service tiki bar that screams summer fun.
Admission: $21.95, or $12.95 for children 2 to 7, $19.95 for senior citizens
Kings Island and Soak City Waterpark
6300 Kings Island Dr., Mason (Warren)
Kings Island closed the “Les Taxis” antique car ride in 2004. Guests who remember it should expect to feel a healthy dose of nostalgia when they visit this year thanks to the park’s latest attraction, “Kings Mills Antique Autos,” which features automobiles inspired by the 1911 Ford Model T. The attraction is located near the Racer roller coaster. Kings Island’s 16th roller coaster, Mystic Timbers, debuted with its wooden tracks in 2017 and is still drawing massive crowds, as is the entire rest of the park, which continues to see record attendance. The amusement park’s popular Soak City water park is included with park admission.
Admission: $70 at the gate, or $44 for senior citizens and children; parking $17. Online discounts available.
Trapper John’s Canoe Livery
7141 London-Groveport Road, Grove City (Franklin)
A paddle trip from Trapper John’s is a great way to explore a stretch of Big Darby Creek National Scenic River, one of the most biologically diverse streams in the Mid-west. Paddlers meet at the creek-side livery in Darbydale and can choose a variety of trips from “sampler” paddles of 1 to 2 hours to full-day, 12-mile floats from the confluence of the Big and Little Darby creeks in Battelle-Darby Metro Park. The livery also provides shuttle service for paddlers with their own kayaks or canoes.
Admission: Float trips begin at $16, or $5 for children 6 to 12, canoe or kayak.
ZipZone Outdoor Adventures
7925 N. High St., Columbus (Franklin)
Adventures can zoom tree-to-tree on one of several zipline tours, or experience Adventure Park with five trails and more than 60 different forest challenges through the lush woods of Camp Mary Orton. For younger adventurers ages 4-7, the site’s Kids Park provides closer-to-the-ground fun.
Admission: Adventure Park is $46, or $39 for children 7 to 11. Zipline tours begin at $46. Kids Park adventure is $19.
Slate Run Vineyard Winery
1900 Winchester Southern Road, Canal Winchester (Fairfield)
This family-owned winery produces 17 varieties of wine, all made with Ohio fruit. The tasting room, open daily except Sunday, is surrounded by the winery’s four acres of vineyards, producing 60 varieties of grapes.
Dalton Union Winery & Brewery
21100 Shirk Rd., Marysville (Union)
This friendly winery, open Fridays and Saturdays, added beer-making to its repertoire last year, making it Union County’s only craft brewery. Visitors to the tasting house, located in a country setting just outside Marysville, will find a variety of sweet and dry wines, including the popular “Covered Bridge Red,” a limited edition. Also on tap is mead, hard cider and a large list of site-brewed beers. The winery hosts live music and a food truck every Saturday night.
Nationwide Arena, 200 W. Nationwide Blvd. (Franklin)
If you need a summer football fix, the Arena Football League brings its fast-paced, high-scoring version back to Columbus for the first time since the previous iteration of the Destroyers departed in 2008. Part of the current six-team indoor league.
Admission: $23 to $108
Columbus Crew SC
Mapfre Stadium, Interstate 71 near East Hudson Street, Columbus (Franklin)
Fans and new owners helped save Columbus’ professional soccer team from moving to Austin, Texas, and a new stadium is in the Crew’s future. For now though, fans can still see matches at the team’s venerable home, Mapfre Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium built in the United States.
Admission: from $25
330 Huntington Park Lane, Columbus (Franklin)
Columbus’ triple-A baseball team makes its home in Huntington Park, voted “Ballpark of the Year” eight times. The park, in the Arena District downtown, features seats in a variety of price ranges and many special promotions and giveaways throughout the season, including Party-at-the-Park events offering live music before every Saturday home game. At Friday home games this year, the team will don uniforms as Los Veleros de Columbus to celebrate baseball’s Hispanic and Latino ties and culture.
Admission: from $7 for adults and from $5 for children under 12 and seniors over 60
Sherman House Museum
137 E. Main St., Lancaster (Fairfield)
The birthplace of General William Tecumseh Sherman, in downtown Lancaster, was built in 1811. Today it commemorates the life of the Civil War hero with an interior restored to look as it would have when the house was occupied by the Sherman family. Visitors also will find memorabilia, including a parlor set owned by another Ohio Union Army hero, General (and later President) Ulysses S. Grant, and many other Civil War artifacts.
Admission: $6, $2 for students 17 and younger. Active-duty military personnel with ID are admitted free.
Columbus Museum of Art
480 E. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin)
The museum’s lovely home includes an expansion completed in 2015 that added 50,000 square feet to the building, allowing the display of many additional works.
Special exhibits this year include “Life in the Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Masterpieces from the Dordrecht Museum” through June 16, and “Muses, Sirens and Lovers: Ro-din and Women, Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections” from July 12 through Dec. 8.
Admission: $18, or $9 for those 60 and older and students and children 4 to 17. Admission on Thursday evenings after 5 p.m. is $5. Free admission on Sundays.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum
300 W. Broad St., Columbus
Set in an architecturally innovative circular building on the banks of the Scioto River, this museum that opened in October commemorates and celebrates the lives of American military personnel. The stories of individual veterans and themes of challenge, sacrifice and achievement are explored in the museum’s galleries. The dis-play culminates in the Remembrance Gallery with space for reflection in the glow of a floor-to-ceiling stained-glass installation inspired by military campaign ribbons.
Admission: $17, $15 for seniors 65 and older, $12 for college students with ID, $10 for children 5 –17. Active-duty military and military veterans are admitted free.
405 Neil Ave., Columbus (Franklin)
This indoor/outdoor combo venue is near the Huntington Park baseball stadium in Columbus’ Arena District. The grassy outdoor area can fit 5,200, while the indoor theater has a capacity of 2,300.
Upcoming open-air outdoor concerts include The National (June 24), Alice Cooper (July 6) and Wiz Khalifa (July 28).
Admission: ticket pricing varies
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
4850 W. Powell Road, Powell (Delaware)
Central Ohio’s famous zoo houses more than 10,000 animals of 600 different species grouped in six distinct regions: Australia and the Islands, Congo Expedition, Shores, Asia Quest, North America and Heart of Africa. New babies born this year at the zoo include a dama gazelle and a silvered leaf langur, both threatened species.
Admission: $16.99, and $11.99 for seniors 60 and older and children 3 to 9 for Franklin County residents; $21.99 and $16.99 for nonresidents. Parking is $10 per vehicle.
7770 Jacksontown Road S.E., Newark (Licking)
This 2,000-acre botanical oasis is perfect for a lovely walk, or a drive along the site’s 4.46-mile auto tour route. Visitors will find extensive wooded and wild areas, including one of the most northerly bald-cypress swamps in North America. Themed gardens include a Japanese garden and Dutch Fork Wetlands with six ponds, a prairie meadow, an observation deck and a shelter house. Visitors also can climb an observation tower for magnificent views of the entire arboretum. The historic Daweswood House displays 19th- and 20th-century antiques and memorabilia from the Dawes Family, which founded the arboretum.
Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for children 5 to 15, and free for children under 5 and members.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
1777 E. Broad St., Columbus
This year marks the 25th anniversary of “Blooms & Butterflies,” with hundreds of colorful butterflies flying freely in the conservatory’s Pacific Island Water Garden. Special presentations are offered daily at 1 and 3 p.m. daily offer for a deeper insight into the delicate creatures. On Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon, butterfly lovers of all ages can explore Metamorphosis Lab Discovery Tables to interact with cocoons, chrysalises and moths with the guidance of a butterfly expert.
Admission: $19, or $16 for those 60 and older, $12 for children 3 to 12
333 W. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin)
COSI, the Center of Science and Industry, is another institution housed in an architecturally significant and interesting building (designed by this year’s Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Arata Isozaki). Inside that building is one of the country’s most acclaimed science centers, where visitors can enjoy a variety of exhibits, includ-ing the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery.
Also, through Sept. 2, the exhibit “Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids,” will examine the real and imaginary aspects of history’s most legendary animals.
Admission: beginning at $25, or $20 for children 2 to 12. Family Friday Night (last Friday of the month) offers admission tickets after 5 p.m. for $15, or $10 for children. Some exhibits, including “Mythic Creatures,” have an additional fee. 999.