Deer Creek State Park Lodge
Deer Creek State Park Lodge (

Buckeye Among the Lakes, Parks Beckoning Visitors

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There is good news and bad news at Ohio’s oldest state park. The good news at Buckeye Lake in Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties is that the 183-year-old dam, in danger of failing, will be repaired during the next five years.

The bad news is that the water level of the popular boating and swimming lake has been severely reduced as a safety measure until the repairs are complete.

But visitors will find plenty of reasons to visit the park and the 3,100-acre lake, created to provide water to the Ohio & Erie Canal. Part of the lake will still be open to powerboats and personal watercraft. And the state will dredge the lake to open more areas to boating.

The lake is also a great place for bird-watchers and nature lovers, regardless of the water level. Anglers will still find perch, bluegill, crappie, bass and catfish, among other game species.

Information: 740-467-2690 or

Day-trippers, campers and other visitors will find plenty of opportunities for water recreation in other central Ohio state parks.

In Delaware County north of Columbus, Alum Creek and Delaware state parks both offer boat ramps, docking facilities, boat rentals and full-service marinas as well as many other amenities for outdoor adventurers.

Alum Creek boasts a 3,387-acre lake surrounded by 4,630 acres of fields and woodlands. Swimmers and sunbathers will adore the park’s 3,000-foot-long beach, the longest inland beach in Ohio.

At the park’s 286-site campground, visitors will find a bit of history, too: a bronze plaque marking the site where Fort Cheshire, built on the frontier to deter Indian attacks during the War of 1812, once stood. Alum Creek also has several reservable primitive cabins.

Alum Creek will also be a big beneficiary of the $88.5 million the state plans to spend on capital improvements at parks. Boaters will get new docks with room for larger boats. Campers will find more full-hookup campsites and the beach house and restrooms will be updated, among other projects.

Information: 740-548-4631 or

At Delaware State Park, the 1,300-acre reservoir and 1,686-acre recreational area offer boating, swimming, fishing, picnicking and five easy hiking trails through meadows, woods and wetlands. In four camping areas, campers will find 211 electric camping sites, and three rentable (furnished) yurts — large, canvas-sided cabins..

Information: 740-548-4631 or

Those who prefer quieter waters can visit the 145-acre Hargus Lake at A.W. Marion State Park in Pickaway County. Only electric motors are allowed on the lake, enhancing the peacefulness and natural beauty. The 5-mile Hargus Lake trail offers another pleasant opportunity to experience such beauty.

Campers will find 28 electric sites and 30 nonelectric sites from which to choose.

Information: 740-869-3124 or

Madison Lake State Park in Madison County is another quiet getaway spot. The small, 76-acre park lies along 106-acre Madison Lake, popular with anglers and paddlers. Visitors will also find a small beach and plenty of verdant picnic spots in this day-use park.

Information: 937-322-5284 or

South of Columbus, Deer Creek State Park in Pickaway and Fayette counties also has a popular boating lake, a large swimming beach and a 227-site campground.

Golf enthusiasts will find a 7,119-yard, par-72 championship course, the only state park golf course in central Ohio.

Deer Creek is also home to one of the state’s nine state park resort lodges, where guests will find indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, a whirlpool and an exercise room. Many of the 110 rooms have scenic lake views. The lodge is also known for its fine-dining restaurant. Guests who rent one of the 25 two-bedroom cottages also have full use of the lodge facilities.

Also at Deer Creek State Park is the Harding Cabin, where 29th President Warren G. Harding and his “Ohio Gang” cronies reportedly held epic poker games and plotted their political machinations.

The 11/2-story cabin was built by Harry Micajah Daugherty, who served as Harding’s campaign manager and as U.S. attorney general during the Harding administration.

Daugherty was later forced from office by corruption charges, but lest history remember him too harshly, he, through Harding, arranged a release for anti-war activist Eugene Debs and others whom President Woodrow Wilson had imprisoned.

The cabin, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, can be rented for getaways or events. The three-bedroom cabin sleeps seven to nine guests and offers an oversize dining room (perfect for poker games), a full-length screened porch with a lake view (perfect for planning a presidential campaign), and a private boat dock (perfect for making a quick getaway by water).

Information: 740-869-3124 or

Delaware State Park sign

Here’s a sampling of popular summertime activities, compiled by Columbus Dispatch staff members:


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, a wading pool, a family hot tub and an indoor/outdoor hot tub for adults; plus a resturant and bar

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

Open: 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday; check website for special summer dates

Admission: $19 on Fridays and any day after 4 p.m., $25 on Saturdays and Sundays; $20 for hotel guests per day; $10 spectator passes

Parking: free

Least-busy day: Sundays

Tickets/information: 1-800-788-8008, 740-788-1200 or

Ohio State Fair

Description: The 162nd annual event will feature entertainment, rides, youth organizations, fine arts, livestock competitions and a natural resources area.

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

Open: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 29 through Aug. 8 and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 9

New attractions, including: a watercraft simulator — experience the thrill of riding a jet ski while staying (mostly) dry (in the Natural Resources area); Smokey Bear — a new 14-foot animatronic version of the fire-prevention character; Moogician — the only magical, juggling, banjo-playing comedy act that also educates about dairy and cows; Winter Sisters — look for the Snow Queen and her princess sister and sing along with them to your favorite princess songs (July 29, Aug. 1-3 and 8–9)

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

Midway wristbands: $25 for unlimited rides; $1 coupons for individual rides available

Parking: $5

Tickets/information: advance $6 tickets are available through Aug. 9 at Kroger, participating AAA locations with AAA membership, and Ticketmaster outlets; all-day-rides wristband vouchers, $20, available at Kroger and Ticketmaster outlets through July 28; 614-644-FAIR,

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., Powell (Delaware County)

Open: daily, operating hours vary; call for details

Admission: $32.99, or $24.99 for children 3 to 9 and senior citizens 60 or older; free for children younger than 3

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,


Buckeye Country Superfest

Description: The debut of a two-day, open-air country festival featuring A-list country acts set for June 20-21

Location: Ohio Stadium, 411 Woody Hayes Dr.

Performances: June 20: Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, Lee Brice, Tyler Farr, Cassadee Pope; June 21: Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Cole Swindell, David Nail, Parmalee

Parking: $15 to $50 daily in adjacent lots ($350 for two-day RV parking)

Tickets: $88 to $508

Information:, (1-800-745-3000),

The Bluegrass Classic: Musicians Against Childhood Cancer

Description: An annual event to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee

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

Performances include: July 22: Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, Kenny and Amanda Smith, Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, Blue Highway, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, “Old Friends” J. D. Crowe, Paul Williams and Doyle Lawson; July 23: Don Rigsby and Midnight Call, the Grascals, Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers, Shenandoah with Marty Raybon, Russell Moore and IIIrd Time Out; July 24: Lou Reid and Carolina, Larry Stephenson Band, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, Bradley Walker, Lonesome River Band, MACC Nashville mystery artist, SteelDrivers, Larry Stephenson, Randy Kohrs; July 25: MACC Children’s Band, Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time, Lost and Found, Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice, Josh Williams “Tribute to J. D. Crowe”

Parking: free

Tickets: $40 to $110; half-price for children 11 to 15 daily ($50 for children’s three- or four-day pass); free for children 10 or younger accompanied by a parent. Tickets available at Bluegrass Musicians Supply, 614-443-3558 or 1-800-783-2583; or; by calling 740-548-4199; or at the gate. Camping: $10 to $25 a day

Information: 740-548-4199, www.musiciansagainstchildhood

Fashion Meets Music Festival

Description: Rockers meet the runway when music and models share a spotlight in the local festival’s second go-round.

Location: Arena District, Neil Avenue and W. Nationwide Boulevard

Performances: Sept. 5: Young the Giant, O.A.R., SOJA, Allen Stone, ZZ Ward, Rachel Platten, Machineheart; Sept. 6: AWOLNATION, Taking Back Sunday, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Lights, Milo Greene, Bahamas

Parking: area lots and garages

Tickets: $49 to $175


Lifestyle Communities Pavilion

Description: An intimate outdoor amphitheater located in the Arena District

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

Performances: May 22 (6 p.m.): Big Head Todd and the Monsters, G. Love & Special Sauce; May 24 (5:30 p.m.): Clutch, Mastodon; May 31 (7 p.m.): the Decemberists; June 5 (6 p.m.): Barenaked Ladies, Violent Femmes, Colin Hay; June 14 (5:30 p.m.): Next @ Wex Fest featuring Belle and Sebastian, Jungle, Son Lux; June 16 (7 p.m.): Hozier; June 20 (6:30 p.m.): Damien Rice; June 23 (6 p.m.): Third Eye Blind, Dashboard Confessional; June 26 (6 p.m.): Walk the Moon; June 29 (6 p.m.): Flogging Molly, Gogol Bordello; July 7 (6:30 p.m.): Jane’s Addiction; July 10 (6:30 p.m.): Legends of Hip Hop 3 featuring Too Short, Scarface, Juvenile, Project Pat; July 11 (4 p.m.): Three Days Grace, Theory of a Deadman; July 14 (6 p.m.): 311; July 15 (5:30 p.m.): Fall Out Boy, Wiz Khalifa; July 16 (6 p.m.): Shawn Mendes; July 30 (6:30 p.m.): Old Crow Medicine Show; Aug. 1 (6 p.m.): Primus, Dinosaur Jr.; Aug. 7 (5:30 p.m.): Under the Sun Tour featuring Sugar Ray, Better Than Ezra, Uncle Kracker, Eve 6; Aug. 10 (6:30 p.m.): Die Antwoord; Aug. 12 (6:30 p.m.): Charli XCX, Bleachers; Aug. 21 (5 p.m.): the Avett Brothers; Aug. 29 (7 p.m.): Brit Floyd; Sept. 7 (6 p.m.): Counting Crows; Sept. 19 (6:30 p.m.): Death Cab for Cutie; Sept. 22 (6:30 p.m.): Scorpions, Queensryche

Parking: area lots and garages

Tickets: $19.97 to $128 at Ticketmaster outlets (1-800-745-3000) or

Information: 614-461-5483,

One Direction

Description: Get your earplugs ready; the squeals will be deafening when the British boy band (now a foursome after Zayn Malik’s recent departure) sets young hearts aflutter.

Location: Ohio Stadium, 411 Woody Hayes Dr.

Performance: Aug. 18 (7 p.m.)

Parking: $15

Tickets: $32.50 to $112.50

Information: (1-800-745-3000),

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 p.m.) June 19: Chris Botti; June 20: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy; June 27: The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute; July 4: Patriotic Pops; July 11: the Commodores; July 18: Pink Martini; July 25: U2 Symphony: The Ultimate U2 Tribute; July 31-Aug. 1: Ohio State University marching band

Performances: Popcorn Pops — (all shows at 7 p.m., pre-concert activities at 5:30 p.m.; a movie screening will follow each concert) June 26: Red, White and Popcorn; July 24: Happy!

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, or $25 at the gate; or $8 for children 3 to 14; free for age 2 or younger for Picnic With the Pops; $8 for adults and children 3 to 14, free for age 2 or younger for Popcorn Pops

Information: 614-228-8600, 614-469-0939,

The Rolling Stones

Description: The “Satisfaction” rockers return to Columbus for the first time since 2005 (and their first Ohio Stadium gig since 1997)

Location: Ohio Stadium, 411 Woody Hayes Dr.

Performance: May 30 (8 p.m.)

Parking: $15

Tickets: $39.50 to $395

Information: 1-800-745-3000,

Scioto Downs Racino

Description: A covered pavilion lining the racetrack seats 3,800 for rain-or-shine performances.

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

Performances: (all shows 7:30 p.m.) May 24: Easton Corbin; June 27: Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd; July 10: Jamey Johnson; Aug. 22: Kellie Pickler; Sept. 25: Jerrod Niemann

Parking: free

Tickets: $20 to $45

Information: 614-295-4700,


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. Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays

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: “Shine On: The Art of Nursing,” featuring works by Rembrandt, Mary Cassatt, George Bellows and more (through June 21); “Fabric of Survival: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz,” a series of 36 needlework collages weaves together a personal story of surviving the Holocaust (through June 14); “Remembering Marvin Hamlisch: The People’s Composer, Photographs by Len Prince,” honoring the composer’s musical contributions (through Sept. 6)

Information: 614-221-4848, 614-221-6801, www.columbus

COSI Columbus

Description: A hands-on science center featuring several permanent exhibits, plus a National Geographic Giant Screen Theater

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

Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; closed July 3

Admission: $19 for those 13 or older, $17 for senior citizens 60 and older, $14 for children 2 to 12, free for members; additional fee for movies and some exhibits.

Parking: $5, or $4 for members

Special Exhibits: “Top Secret: License to Spy” — explore tools and techniques used by real spies in the interactive exhibit. Visitors can investigate leads, gather intelligence and uncover clues to solve a double-agent mystery (closes Sept.7)

Information: 614-228-2674, 1-888-819-COSI,

King Arts Complex

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

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

Open: complex hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays; gallery: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays

Admission: free; donations accepted for gallery

Parking: free

Special exhibits: “Silhouettes: A Love Supreme” — dedicated to the image and complexities of black women (through June 13)

Information: 614-645-5464,

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. Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays; 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 exhibits: “A House Divided” — the village comes alive with heat, smoke and noise of the Civil War with battles, gun and cannon demonstrations along with Union and Confederate troops. Visitors can experience civilian life with period children’s games, music, dancing and more (June 27-28)

Information: 614-297-2300, 1-800-686-6124,

The Works

Description: An interactive history, science, technology and art learning center for people of all ages.

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

Open: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays

Admission: $9, or $7 for those 55 or older, $5 for children 2 to 17, free for children 1 or younger

Parking: free, on-site

Special exhibit: “Breaking the Mold” — explores the intimate connections between 20th-century industrial glass and the rise of the American art glass movement; also showcases six contemporary glass artists (through July 11)

Information: 740-349-9277,


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 18-20 vs. Buffalo; May 21-24 vs. Gwinnett; June 1-3 vs. Toledo; June 8-10 vs. Louisville; June 11-14 vs. Syracuse; June 22-24 vs. Norfolk; June 26-28 vs. Durham; July 4-6 vs. Toledo; July 10-12 vs. Indianapolis; July 20-21 vs. Louisville; July 24-26 vs. Rochester; July 27-30 vs. Indianapolis; Aug. 4-6 vs. Scranton; Aug. 7-9 vs. Lehigh Valley; Aug. 14-16 vs. Gwinnett; Aug. 17-18 vs. Charlotte; Aug. 27-28 vs. Toledo; Aug. 29-30 vs. Louisville; Aug. 31-Sept. 1 vs. Indianapolis; Sept. 6-7 vs. Toledo

Admission: $7 to $10 (reserved), or $4 to $7 (bleachers) 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,


Columbus Crew

Description: An original Major League Soccer team in its 20th season, the Crew is playing under second-year sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter.

Location: Mapfre Stadium, 1 Black & Gold Blvd., Columbus (I-71 near and E. Hudson Street)

Home games: May 22 vs. Chicago; June 6 vs. Montreal; June 13 vs. LA Galaxy; June 24 vs. New England; July 4 vs. New York Red Bulls; July 19 vs. Chicago; July 25 vs. Toronto; Aug. 19 vs. New York City FC; Aug. 22 vs. Kansas City; Sept. 6 vs. Dallas; Sept. 26 vs. Portland; Oct. 25 vs. D.C. United

Admission: starting at $23

Parking: $15, on Ohio Expo Center grounds

Tickets/information: at the Crew office, 614-447-2739; Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000;


The Ohio Machine

Description: Ohio’s professional lacrosse team

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

Home games: May 24 vs. Launch; June 20 vs. Bayhawks; July 4 vs. Rattlers; July 18 vs. Lizards; July 25 vs. Cannons

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

Parking: $5

Tickets/information: 614-754-1973, or


Memorial Tournament

Description: Many of the best golfers in the world come to Dublin to play in the event that Jack Nicklaus started in 1976.

Location: Muirfield Village Golf Club, 5750 Memorial Dr., Dublin (Franklin County)

Dates: June 1-7

Admission: $173 (all-tournament badge), $35 (all three practice rounds); free for 12 or younger when accompanied by paying adult; 16 and younger free on Wednesday (Junior Golf Day)

Parking: Main lot is off Dublin Road near the 6th tee; overflow parking is available in the Ashbaugh lot off Brand Road. Complimentary shuttles transport patrons between the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the tournament-grounds main gate Thursday through Sunday.

Tickets/information: badges available by calling 1-877-682-2343 or online at

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship

Description: Part of the Tour Finals, it precedes the Tour Championship.

Location: Ohio State University Golf Club, 3605 Tremont Rd., Upper Arlington (Franklin County)

Dates: Sept. 24-27

Admission: $30 (all-week grounds admission), $10 (one-day grounds admission Thursday through Sunday)

Parking: free; “A” parking lot is located off Ackerman Road and Rt. 315; complimentary shuttles will run from one hour before the first tee time to one hour after play ends.

Tickets/information: 614-764-4653,


Columbus Motor Speedway

Description: A 1/3-mile paved oval track with eight to 10 degrees of banking plays host to weekend warriors and NASCAR pros.

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

Events: NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Saturdays through Sept. 27, with special events including; May 23: JEGS/CRA All Star Tour; June 6: Robbie Dean Memorial; July 18: Hilarious Trail Race Mayhem; July 25: Jim Nuckles Memorial; Aug. 15: Amazing School Bus Figure Eight; Aug. 23: Bud St. Amant Memorial; Sept. 5: Labor Day Championship

Admission: $12-$22, varies per event; children 4 and younger free

Parking: free

Tickets/information: at the gate only; 614-491-1047,

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 five Friday Night Blitz Street-Style events (select Fridays) and NTR ET Series; May 17: 3rd Annual Chrysler Power Classic; May 22: 14th Annual Great AMC Day; May 24: NHRA National Dragster Challenge; June 6: UMTR Stick Shift Event; June 20: NHRA Summit Jr. Dragster Challenge; June 26-28: 16th Annual MWJSS JEGS Buckeye Open; July 10: 18th Annual GoodGuys Friday Night Drags; July 11: 28th Annual Night of Thunder; July 18: 8th Annual LX and Beyond Nationals; July 24-26: 13th Annual NHRA Buckeye Fuel Wars; Aug. 7-9: 35th Annual The ’NATS; Aug. 14-15: 3rd Annual OHSAA Cross Country Invitational; Aug. 21-23: 2nd Annual AutoMeter Northern Class Nationals; Aug. 29: NHRA Summit King of the Track; Sept. 4-6: 37th Annual Ford Expo; Sept. 18-20: 11th Annual JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals; Sept. 27: 10th Annual Fall Import Face-Off

Admission: $10-$65, varies by events, prices subject to change

Parking: free for most events

Tickets/information: at the gate; 740-928-5706,


Little Brown Jug

Description: The Jug is the highlight of the Delaware County Fair, bringing top 3-year-old colts to central Ohio for a leg of pacing’s Triple Crown.

Location: 236 Pennsylvania Ave., Delaware

Date: Sept. 24

Admission: $15, or $6 after 2 p.m., for general admission; or $35 to $240 for reserved seating

Parking: $5, parking passes available; $60 Jug Day permit for Wednesday overnight parking (only available for purchase at the Rt. 23 gate)

Information: 740-362-3851,

Scioto Downs Racino

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

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

Season: Tuesdays through Saturdays (post time 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays; post time 2 p.m. Tuesdays and all holidays), through Sept. 12; simulcasting daily

Admission: free

Parking: free

Information: 614-295-4700,


Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Description: The 88-year-old zoo boasts more than 10,000 animals representing 575 species and sits on 582 acres (140 are developed), plus a golf course and water park.

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

Big attractions: Heart of Africa — in its second season, visitors to the popular attraction can see mixed species roaming in the savanna, take a camel ride, and feed giraffes; Pirate Island — comprised of dozens of life-size, animatronic swashbucklers, aspiring pirates can take a boat ride and watch as the green-clad Pirates for the Planet protect the animals from the Purple Poaching Pillagers (additional admission fee); and visitors won’t want to miss the newest members of the zoo family: two reindeer babies and tiger triplets

Open: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through May 22, then till 7 p.m. through Labor Day

Admission: $17.99 ($14.99 for Franklin County residents), or $12.99 ($9.99) for those 60 or older (half-price on Tuesdays), $12.99 ($9.99) for children 3 to 9, free for children younger than 3; half-price for Franklin County residents on Mondays through Wednesdays; half-price for senior citizens on Tuesdays

Parking: $8

Information: 614-645-3550, www.columbus