Want Daring Or Calming? Great Outdoors Has Both

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Thrill-lovers won’t find much in the way of mountain climbing or ocean surfing in central Ohio. But plenty of other outdoor adventures await Columbus-area residents and visitors willing to seek them out.

Just plane exciting

Central Ohio is a great place to jump out of an airplane. Really.

"People still think skydiving is only something you can do in an exotic location, but you can experience all of this right here in Ohio," said Skydive Columbus owner Chris Chapman.

Chapman’s company, located at the Fairfield County Airport 20 minutes from Downtown Columbus, has a program for beginners.

Participants jump attached to an experienced skydiver. These “tandem” jumps require minimal training, he said.

"Tandem sky diving sort of revolutionized the sport," Chapman said. "Years ago, if you wanted to jump, you had to take a six- or eight-hour class and then try to remember everything. Now, you don’t have all that expense and risk. There’s a 15-minute briefing, then you get in the plane and do the jump."

The highly trained instructors use top-notch gear and, of course, have a vested interest in the safety of the person they’re strapped to, Chapman said.

Tandem jumps open skydiving to people of all physical abilities, too, Chapman said.

"Almost any kind of person you can think of, I’ve attached them to me and jumped out of an airplane. From 18 to 80, blind, deaf, non-English speaking, veterans without legs and a surprising number of people who have never even been in an airplane before. All of my staff have other full-time jobs, so we all do it because of a passion for the sport. And when you land and that other person is just so overwhelmed with emotion, it takes you back to why you’re doing this."

Rates start at $209 a person, with discounts for groups of two or more. (614-203-0210, www.skydivecmh.com)

Pleasurable paddle

For those who want to get close to nature, there are few places better than Big Darby Creek just west of Columbus. And there are few better places to see the National Scenic River than from on the water.

Trapper John’s Canoe Livery in Darbydale (Franklin County) has been offering canoe rides through the beautiful Darby Valley for decades. But recently, kayaking has become more popular, said livery owner Jason Kaufman.

"Kayaks are the hottest thing now," Kaufman said. "They go a little faster … and are a little more maneuverable" than a canoe, he said. And this year, the livery is adding two-person kayaks.

"The creek is very clean and free-flowing," Kaufman noted. "Most of the trip is through a metro park or nature preserve. When they come out here, people are amazed. We’re so close to Columbus, but when they get on the river, it seems like they’re as far from civilization as they can get."

The livery offers trips of various lengths, including all-day floats and a "sampler," which takes from one to two hours.

"The sampler is great for after work, or if you just want to give canoeing a try," Kaufman said.

The livery operates seven days a week in season. Trips start at $15 per person, or $5 for children 6 (minimum age) to 12. (614-877-4321, www.trapperjohnscanoeing.com)

Rock ’n’ hold

Rock climbers can practice their sport in Downtown Columbus at the largest free outdoor climbing wall in the country, at Scioto Audubon Metro Park (Franklin County).

The 35-foot-high wall features about a dozen routes to the top. And where else can you climb an artificial "natural arch?"

Climbers must take their own ropes and equipment. The park offers a free course for novice climbers about once a month. Gear is provided, and the course includes the basics of equipment, knot-tying, climbing and belaying.

Metro Parks Director John O’Meara, himself an expert rock climber, said the wall provides challenges for all climbing styles and experience levels.

"It’s a fun climb — I always think of it as a big piece of playground equipment for adults," O’Meara said. "And we have a series of boulders that are even good for little kids and don’t require safety gear."

The wall is normally open from 9 a.m. to one hour before the park closes. But for those who like night climbing, the wall stays open until midnight on the second Friday of each month through November. (614-891-0700, www.metroparks.net/parkssciotoaudubon.aspx)

Pedaling pastime

The flatlands of central Ohio are perfect for recreational bicycling, and the region offers many bike trails, including the four-mile Genoa Trail that parallels state Rt. 3 on an abandoned railroad bed in Delaware County.

The trail passes a nature preserve and is known for bird and wildlife sightings. It also connects to several parks in the area. (www.ohiobikeways.net.)



Utica Sertoma Old Fashioned Ice Cream Festival: May 25-27; Velvet Ice Cream is featured along with car and motorcycle shows, magic performances and a grand parade at 11 a.m. May 25.; Velvet Ice Cream Ye Olde Mill, Utica (Licking County), $5 per car, www.uticaoldfashionedicecreamfestival.com

Newark Strawberry Festival: May 31-June 2; The theme “Strawberries on the Square” is celebrated with rides, food, games, crafts and, of course, strawberry shortcake; Newark Courthouse Square (Licking County); free, 740-345-6910, www.newarkstrawberryfestival.com

London Strawberry Festival: June 10-22; Strawberry foods are featured, including delicious ice cream, plus rides, games, contests, live music, arts and crafts; historic downtown London (Madison County); free, 740-857-1417, www.londonstrawberryfestival.com

Ashville 4th of July Festival: June 30-July 4; This street festival is so big one day couldn’t hold it. Famous fish sandwiches, entertainment on two stages and a grand parade at 11 a.m. July 4 are featured; Ashville Park, Ashville (Pickaway County); free, 740-207-1865.

Pickerington Violet Festival: July 24-27; This family festival features rides, musical entertainment with big-name acts, a 5-kilometer fun run, a parade on July 26, a car and bike show and a beer garden with domestic and imported libations; Victory Park, Pickerington (Fairfield County); $3-$5 (free for children 12 and younger); 614-524-4758, www.violetfestival.org

Obetz Zucchinifest: Aug. 22-25; Everything zucchini stars, including zucchini bread, fudge, ice cream, plus entertainment, rides, games pagents and more; Memorial Park, Obetz (Franklin County); free, 614-491-1080, www.obetzzucchihifest.com

West Jefferson Ox Roast: Aug. 31-Sept. 2; Traditional end-of-summer fun includes watermelon-eating contests, bike tour, queen and baby contests, and 5,500 pounds of pit-roasted beef sandwiches available Labor Day; Garrette Park, West Jefferson (Madison County); free, 614-879-9287, www.westjeffoxroast.com

Lithopolis Honeyfest: Sept. 6-7; Sweet natural honey treats include baked items, ice cream and mead. Other fun includes the Honey Brown Beer Garden, honey bake-off sale, live music on two stages and a kids’ craft “beehive; central Lithopolis along Columbus and Market streets (Fairfield County); free; 614-837-2031, www.lithopolishoneyfest.com



Coco Key Water Resort

Description: A 50,000-square-foot water park including an interactive-adventure area for young children, body slides, an activity pool with water basketball and a fast-paced tube ride

Location: Cherry Valley Lodge, 2299 Cherry Valley Rd., Newark (Licking County)

Open: operating hours vary, check website for details

Admission: varies, check website for details

Parking: free

Least-busy day: Wednesdays

Tickets/information: 1-800-788-8008, 740-788-1200 or www.cherryvalleylodge.com

Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark Resort

Description: A 60,000-square-foot park, including an area with two small slides for young children; a 40-foot-tall interactive-play area with a water cannon, four slides and a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket; and an activity pool with basketball hoops

Location: 4560 Hilton Corporate Dr., Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: daily June 1 to July 31; Fridays through Sundays year-round

Admission: all-day pass $23.95 (Monday through Friday), $29.95 (Saturday and Sunday), or $21.95 after 4 p.m.; spectator pass $9.95

Parking: free

Least-busy days: Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Tickets/information: 1-877-33-SPLASH, 614-868-1380 or www.fortrapids.com

Ohio State Fair

Description: The state’s premier fair, including entertainment, livestock competitions, rides, youth organizations, agriculture, natural resources and fine arts

Location: Ohio Expo Center, I-71 and E. 17th Avenue, Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 24 through Aug. 3 and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 4

Admission: $10 at the gate for those ages 13 to 59, or $8 for senior citizens 60 or older and children 5 to 12; free for children 4 or younger; special discount days throughout fair run

Midway wristbands: for unlimited rides, $23; $1 coupons for individual rides available

Parking: $5

New attractions: Sea Lion Splash: sea lions and their handlers will perform tricks. (When they aren’t performing, the sea lions can be seen in an underwater viewing tank); and camel rides ($7, or $5 for children 12 or younger).

Least-busy days: Tuesdays through Thursdays

Tickets/information: advance $6 tickets available through Aug. 4 at participating AAA, Kroger and Ticketmaster outlets; all-day wristband vouchers, $20, available at Kroger stores and Ticketmaster outlets through July 23; 614-644-FAIR, www.ohiostatefair.com

Zoombezi Bay

Description: A 22.7-acre water park — adjacent to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium — featuring 17 water slides, a wave pool, an action river, a lazy river, private cabanas and a kiddie play pool

Location: 4850 W. Powell Rd. (Delaware County)

Open: daily, operating hours vary May 19, May 23 through Aug. 20, Aug. 24-25, Aug.31-Sept. 2 (call for details)

Admission: $32.99, or $24.99 for children 2 to 9 and senior citizens 60 or older; free for children younger than 2

Parking: $8

Least-busy days: weekdays

Tickets/information: available at the park, AAA, Columbus-area Kroger stores and online; 614-645-3550, 1-800-MONKEYS, www.zoombezibay.com



Actors' Theater

Description: 31st season of Shakespearean plays and classics

Location: Schiller Park in German Village, 1000 City Park Ave., Columbus (Franklin County) and the Columbus Commons, E. Rich and S. High streets, Columbus

Performances: King Arthur and the Sword of Britain (May 23 to June 23), Twelfth Night (June 27 to July 28), The Beaux’ Stratagem (Aug. 1 to Sept. 1); all shows 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays; Romeo & Juliet (Sept. 6-15) 7:30 p.m. Fridays through Sundays

Admission: free

Seating capacity: 1,000 on the Schiller Park amphitheater lawn, 5,000 to 6,000 on the Commons lawn (take your own chairs and blankets)

Running time: about 21/2 hours

Information: 614-444-6888, www.theactorstheatre.org



The Bluegrass Classic: Musicians Against Childhood Cancer

Description: Proceeds from the annual event benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Location: Hoover Y-Park, 1570 Rohr Rd., Columbus (Franklin County)

Performances: July 17-20: including Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice; Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out; Rhonda Vincent and the Rage; Marty Raybon and Full Circle; Rhonda Vincent, Russell Moore, Junior Sisk; July 18: MACC Opry with Flatt Lonesome, Mo Pitney, Billy Ryan Droze; Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out; the Grascals; SteelDrivers; July 19: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver with the Centerville Alternative Strings; Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers; Larry Sparks and Doyle Lawson 50 Year Celebration; the Seldom Scene; July 20: Aubrey Haynie and Terry Baucom; MACC Opry with Carl Jackson, Val Story, Larry Cordle and Jerry Salley; Gibson Brothers; Rambling Rooks; J.D. Crowe and Bradley Walker

Parking: free

Tickets: $35 to $105; half-price for children 11 to 15; free for children 10 or younger accompanied by a parent. Tickets available at Bluegrass Musicians Supply, 614-443-3558 or 1-800-753-2583; at Ticketmaster outlets (1-800-745-3000) or www.ticketmaster.com; by calling 740-548-4199; or at the gate. Camping: $5 a day

Information: 740-548-4199, www.bluegrassclassic.com

Crew Stadium

Description: Home to the Columbus Crew MLS soccer team, the stadium doubles as a concert venue that seats up to 30,000 people

Location: 1 Black & Gold Blvd., Columbus (I-71 near E. Hudson Street, Franklin County)

Performances: June 29 (5 p.m.): Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Eli Young Band, Kacey Musgraves

Parking: $15 to $22

Tickets: $35 to $199 at Ticketmaster outlets (1-800-745-3000) or www.ticketmaster.com

Information: 614-447-2739, www.crewstadium.com

Lifestyle Communities Pavilion

Description: Located in the Arena District, the outdoor amphitheater has a seating capacity of 4,500

Location: 405 Neil Ave., Columbus (Franklin County)

Performances: May 29 (7 p.m.): Of Monsters and Men; June 7 (7 p.m.): Passion Pit; June 9 (6 p.m.): Dropkick Murphys; June 11
(7 p.m.): Grizzy Bear, the xx; June 15 (6:30 p.m.): Next@Wex fest featuring the National, Local Natives, Matthew E. White; June 18
(7 p.m.): Alabama Shakes; June 20 (6:30 p.m.): Peter Frampton, Robert Cray; June 21 (7 p.m.): Summerland Tour 2013 featuring Everclear, Live, Filter, Sponge; June 22
(6 p.m.): Legends of Hip-Hop featuring Scarface, 8Ball & MJG, Juvenile, Mystikal; July 5 (6 p.m.): Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, Guster; July 6 (6 p.m.): O.A.R.; July 9 (6:30 p.m.): Fitz & the Tantrums; July 14 (7 p.m.): fun., Tegan and Sara; July 19 (7 p.m.): Melissa Etheridge; July 24 (5:30 p.m.): the Black Crowes, Tedeschi-Trucks Band; July 25 (6:30 p.m.): OneRepublic, Mayer Hawthorne; July 26 (6 p.m.): Under the Sun Tour 2013 with Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Gin Blossoms; Aug. 1 (6:30 p.m.): Ted Nugent; Aug. 6 (6:30 p.m.): the Killers; Aug. 9 (6 p.m.): Rob Zombie, Mastodon; Sept. 5 (6:30 p.m.)

Parking: area lots and garages

Tickets: $15 to $80 at Ticketmaster outlets (1-800-745-3000) or www.ticketmaster.com

Information: 614-461-5483, www.promowestlive.com

Picnic with the Pops/Popcorn Pops

Description: Casual outdoor performances featuring the Columbus Symphony and guest artists; reserved and lawn seating available

Location: Columbus Commons, E. Rich and S. High streets, Columbus (Franklin County)

Performances: Picnic With the Pops — (all shows 8:15 p.m.) June 14: Chaka Khan; June 15: Richard Marx; June 22: Pink Martini; June 29: Patriotic Pops; July 6: Kansas; July 13: Natalie Merchant; July 20: the Music of Queen — Rock and Symphonic Spectacular; July 26-27: Ohio State University Marching Band

Performances: Popcorn Pops — (all shows at 7 p.m., pre-concert activities at 5 p.m.) June 21: First Day of Summer Party; July 19: Broadway for Kids

Parking: $5 for underground parking off S. 3rd Street and in City Center garage between E. Main and S. High streets; metered parking nearby

Tickets: $23 ($25 at the gate), or $8 for children 3 to 14; free for ages 2 or younger for Picnic With the Pops; $8 for adults and children 3 to 14, free for ages 2 or younger for Popcorn Pops

Information: 614-228-8600, 614-469-0939, www.picnicwiththepops.com



Columbus Museum of Art

Description: Known for its collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century American and European modern art and its regional collections, such as the largest public collection of woodcarvings by Columbus folk artist Elijah Pierce, and the world’s largest repository of paintings and lithographs by Columbus native George Bellows

Location: 480 E. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday

Admission: $12, or $8 for senior citizens 60 or older and students 18 or older with valid ID, $5 for those 6 to 17, free for members and children 5 or younger, free for everyone on Sundays

Parking: free, behind the museum

Special exhibits: Strings Attached: The Living Tradition of Czech Puppets explores the history of puppetry in the Czech Republic since the 1850s (through Aug. 4); Surface Tension: the 2013 Greater Arts Council Visual Arts Awards Exhibition honors the works of six central Ohio artists (June 14 to Sept. 14); George Bellows and the American Experience includes more than 35 paintings as well as drawings and caricatures (Aug. 23 to Jan. 4)

Information: 614-221-4848, 614-221-6801, www.columbusmuseum.org

COSI Columbus

Description: A hands-on science center featuring several permanent exhibits, plus an Extreme Screen theater

Location: 333 W. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday; Family Friday Nights ($9.95 after 5 p.m. the last Friday of each month

Admission: $16.95 for those 13 or older, or $15.95 for senior citizens 60 or older, $11.95 for children 2 to 12, free for members; additional fee for Extreme Screen movies and some exhibits. All admission prices will increase $1 beginning June 8.

Parking: $5 for public, $4 for members

Special exhibits: Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition allows guests to investigate myths hands-on through interactive elements, including workshops, a demonstration stage and blueprint room (June 8 to Sept. 2). Tickets to the exhibit include general admission and cost $25.95, or $6 for members

Information: 614-228-2674, 1-888-819-COSI, www.cosi.org

King Arts Complex

Description: The complex features the cultural and historical contributions of African-Americans

Location: 867 Mount Vernon Ave., Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday

Admission: free; donations accepted for gallery

Parking: free, at the Garfield entrance

Special exhibits: Visual Voices: Dayton Skyscraper V, recognizing African-American artists in Dayton and the Miami Valley (through Aug. 23)

Information: 614-645-5464, www.thekingartscomplex.com

Ohio History Center and Ohio Village

Description: The center focuses on connecting visitors with the state’s history; Ohio Village is a recreated Civil War-era community

Location: I-71 and E. 17th Avenue, Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; Ohio Village: same hours Memorial Day through Labor Day

Admission: $10, or $9 for senior citizens 60 or older, $5 for children 6 to 12, free for children 5 or younger; Ohio Village included with admission to the center

Parking: free

Special exhibit: Face of Appalachia: Photographs by Albert J. Ewing, 200 photos capture the daily lives of Appalachians in the 1900s (through December); Controversy 2: Pieces We Don’t Talk About examines perceptions of racial stereotypes from a historical perspective (through Dec. 30.); The War of 1812: Ohio on the Frontline includes artifacts and materials from Ohio in the War of 1812 (July 4 to Dec. 30); 1950s: Building the American Dream is a walk-through exhibit that looks into lives of a 1950s central Ohio family living in a Lustron home (opens July 13)

Information: 614-297-2300, 1-800-686-6124, www.ohiohistory.org

Wexner Center for the Arts

Description: The center offers dance and music performances as well as films and special exhibits

Location: 1871 N. High St. at 15th Avenue, Columbus (Franklin County)

Open: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday

Admission: $8, or $6 for seniors 65 or older, Ohio State faculty and staff; free admission for members, students with a college ID and anyone under 18; free admission every Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. and on the first Sunday of each month.

Parking: nearby garages

Special exhibits: Shimon Attie: Metro.PAL.IS. is a video installation of eight flat-screen monitors that highlight an overlap between Palestine and Israel’s declarations of independence (through Aug. 4); Paul Sietsema, an exhibit of his productions from the past 50 years and his Chinese Box, created through the Wexner Center Artist Residency Award (through Aug. 4)

Information: 614-292-0330, www.wexarts.org

The Works

Description: An interactive history, science, technology and art learning center where people of all ages can be inspired

Location: 55 S. 1st St., Newark (Licking County)

Open: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

Admission: $8, or $6 for senior citizens 55 or older, $4 for children 2 to 17, free for children 1 or younger

Parking: free, on-site

Special exhibits: They Still Draw Pictures: Children’s Art in Wartime from the Spanish Civil War to Kosovo, a collection of children’s art produced in wartime, mainly from the Spanish Civil War (through July 13); Mr. Jim: Growing Art in Our Community, highlights Columbus artist Jim Arter’s projects with children around the world (July 26 to Oct. 12)

Information: 740-349-9277, www.attheworks.org



Columbus Clippers

Description: The Cleveland Indians’ International League affiliate plays in the heart of the Arena District

Location: Huntington Park, 330 Huntington Park Lane, Columbus (Franklin County)

Home games: May 31-June 3 vs. Indianapolis; June 17-20 vs. Pawtucket; June 21-24 vs. Lehigh Valley; July 5-7 vs. Louisville; July 8-10 vs. Indianapolis; July 11-12 vs. Toledo; July 26-29 vs. Durham; July 30-Aug. 2 vs. Buffalo; Aug. 6-7 vs. Toledo; Aug. 8-9 vs. Louisville; Aug. 17-20 vs. Norfolk; Aug. 22-25 vs. Gwinnett; Aug. 28-29 vs. Louisville; Sept. 1-2 vs. Toledo

Admission: $6 to $10, or $3 to $7 for senior citizens and children 12 or younger

Parking: nearby lots

Tickets/information: available at the Clippers office, 614-462-2757; through Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000; 614-462-5250, www.clippersbaseball.com



Columbus Crew

Description: Playing in the first soccer-specific stadium in the U.S., the Crew has one of the best home records in the MLS

Location: Columbus Crew Stadium, One Black & Gold Blvd., Columbus (I-71 near E. Hudson Street)

Home games: June 1 vs. Houston Dynamo; June 15 vs. Montreal Impact; June 22 vs. Chicago Fire; July 7 vs. Portland Timbers FC; July 20 vs. New England Revolution; Aug. 10 vs. New York Red Bulls; Aug. 17 vs. Toronto FC; Aug. 31 vs. Seattle Sounders FC

Admission: $23 to $48 in advance, $23 to $50 on game day

Parking: $10, on Ohio Expo Center grounds

Tickets/information: available at Crew office, 614-447-2739; Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000; www.thecrew.com



The Ohio Machine

Description: A professional men’s team

Location: Selby Stadium, 45 S. Henry St., Delaware (Delaware County)

Home games: June 15 vs. Rochester Rattlers; June 29 vs. Boston Cannons; July 6 vs. Chesapeake Bayhawks; July 27 vs. Charlotte Hounds

Admission: $12 to $18, or $20 game day

Parking: $5

Tickets/information: 614-754-1973, or www.theohiomachine.com



Columbus Motor Speedway

Description: A 1/3-mile semi-banked oval track plays host to weekend warriors and NASCAR pros

Location: 1841 Williams Rd., Columbus (Franklin County)

Events: NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Saturdays through Aug. 10; May 25: Jegs CRA All-Star Tour Memorial; June 22: Super Late Models; June 29: Hilarious Trailer Races; July 6: 94-Lap Robbie Dean Memorial Series; July 13: 150-Lap NASCAR K and N Pro Series; July 27: 30th Annual John Nuckles Memorial; Aug. 17: Amazing School Bus Figure Eight; Aug. 24: Kid’s Night; Aug. 31: Labor Day Championship

Admission: varies per event

Parking: free

Tickets/information: at the gate only; 614-491-1047, www.columbusspeedway.com

National Trail Raceway

Description: The National Hot Rod Association owns the facility, which has a concrete-and-asphalt racing surface.

Location: 2650 National Rd. S.W., Hebron (Licking County)

Events: Weekly racing with special events including T-100 Wednesday Nights and Blitz Friday Night Street fights/NHRA Street Legal (selected Fridays); May 31-June 1: Chevy Performance Nationals; June 7-9: No Hatin Drag Racing’s Motorcycle Madness; June 15: JEGS Super

Quick Series; June 16: National Dragster Challenge; June 22-23: Spring Nostalgia Nationals; July 5-7: JEGS Foundation Buckeye Open — Midwest Jr. Super Series; July 12: Goodguys Friday Night Drags; July 13: Night of Thunder; July 19-21: NHRA Lucas Oil Regional Buckeye Fuel Wars; July 27: NHRA street legal; July 28: NHRA Summit King of the Track; Aug. 2-3: 10th annual BPG Buick Horsepower Nationals; Aug. 8-11: 33rd annual MOPAR Nationals; Aug. 16-17: OHSAA CC Invitational; Aug. 23-24: Beat the Heat World Finals; Aug. 30-Sept. 1: 35th annual NMRA Ford Expo

Admission: varies

Parking: free for most events

Tickets/information: available at the gate; 740-928-5706, www.nationaltrailraceway.com



Scioto Downs

Description: The 5/8-mile harness track is one of the fastest in the nation

Location: 6000 S. High St., Columbus (Franklin County)

Season: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (post time 6:30 p.m.), through Sept. 14; simulcasting daily

Admission: free

Parking: free

Information: 614-295-4700, www.sciotodowns.com



Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Description: The 86-year-old zoo boasts more than 9,400 animals representing 680 species and sits on 582 acres (100 are developed), plus a golf course and water park

Location: 4850 W. Powell Rd. (Delaware County)

Big attractions: Dinosaur Island, located in the Australia and Island regions, will feature 26 animatronic dinosaurs that move and make noise as well as an archeological dig pit, boat ride and gift shop (Memorial Day through Labor Day). Admission for the exhibit is $3, or $2 for zoo members

Open: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day

Admission: $14.99, or $10.99 for senior citizens 60 or older (and half-price on Tuesdays), $9.99 for children 2 to 9, free for children younger than 2; Wednesdays are half-price for Franklin County residents

Parking: $8

Information: 614-645-3550, www.columbuszoo.org