2019 Summer Fun in Ohio: a Statewide Guide< < Back to
Southeast Ohio Provides Eclectic Summertime Fun
By Emily Votaw, WOUB Public Media
Southeast Ohio blooms into its full splendor in the summer, boasting a wide array of lively music festivals, community street fairs, and outdoor (as well as indoor) adventures of all kinds. Whether you are native to the region or not, there’s no reason not to dive into the many adventures available to you in the hills and valleys of Appalachian Ohio.
14000 International Road, Cumberland, OH (Guernsey)
Zebras, giraffes, cheetahs, camels, rhinos, and many other exotic animals freely roam The Wilds, a non-profit 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 their brand new 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, are also available.
Pricing: Open Air Safari (2.5 hours): Get on board an open-air vehicle to enjoy a day tour experience with a wildlife guide for $30 per person; Wildside Tour (2.5 hours): Get paired up with someone on the Wilds’ animal management staff to see the inner-workings of the Wilds: $125 per person. Open Air Safaris are available starting in May, Wildside Tours are available starting in April.
Specialty Tour Rates: Fishing Safari: $75 per person front bank, $100 per person from boat; Horseback Safari: $30 per person; Evening at The Outpost: enjoy a drink and see some exotic wildlife for $180 a person; Sunset Safari Tour: $75 per person; Sunset Horseback Safari: $75 per person; Sunset Wildside Tour: $150 per person.
Information: thewilds.org, 740-638-5030
588 West Chestnut Street, Coshocton, OH 43812 (Coshocton)
This scenic botanical garden boasts 20 acres of bodacious woodland trail with sandstone outcroppings, rolling hills, ponds, and an ever-increasing collection of both familiar and exotic plants. The picturesque spot was the number one outdoor wedding venue in Ohio in 2018!
More information: www.clarygardens.org
Outdoor Music and Drama
The Nelsonville Music Festival: June 6 – June 9
3301 Hocking Parkway, Nelsonville, OH 45764 (Athens)
The Nelsonville Music Festival might be Southeast Ohio’s best kept secret. For the past 15 years the event has been booking an impressive array of performers, and this year is no different, with the festival’s bill boasting the likes of Mavis Staples, Tyler Childers, Thee Oh Sees, Death Cab For Cutie, Campdogzz, and many more. The three-day event is not only chock full of live music, there is also lots of regional food and art for sale, and many have said that the camping experience alone at the festival is (almost) as impressive as the headliners the festival books each year.
Pricing: $70 (teen/Nelsonville resident pass); $140 weekend pass; $125 Stuart’s member pass; $350 VIP weekend pass; $40 camping pass; $100 motorhome pass
Information: nelsonvillefest.org, 740-753-1924
Big Bend Blues Bash: July 26 — July 27
Riverside Amphitheatre, 100 East Main Street, Pomeroy, OH, 45769 (Meigs)
2019 marks the 19th year for the Big Bend Blues Festival, which is being headlined by Randy McAllister, Scott Holt, Albert Castiglia, and Clarence Spady. The festival is organized by Jackie Welker of the Court Street Grill, a bar and restaurant that has also been attracting some of the hippest acts in contemporary blues and rock ‘n’ roll for the past several years. In addition to music, the festival also includes regional food and drink that one can enjoy on the banks of the Ohio River.
Pricing: Friday: $20, Saturday: $25, Weekend: $40. Free camping and boat docking on the Ohio River.
More information: pomeroyblues.org
Coshocton Dulcimer Days: June 14 – June 16
200 North Whitewoman Street, Coshocton, OH 43812 (Coshocton)
2019 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.
Pricing: Entirely free, although the regular workshops that take place throughout the event are $15 each.
More information: coshoctondulcimerdays.com
Southeast Ohio History Center
24 West State Street, Athens, OH (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 their unique needs. The main exhibition room boasts a high ceiling with large windows, creating a thoughtful, peaceful atmosphere that nicely compliments 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: Adults: $7, Youth 12-18: $5, Seniors: $5, children 12 and under: free
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is closed Sunday through Tuesday.
Information: athenshistory.org, 740-592-2280
Southern Ohio Copperheads (Athens)
Since 2001, The Southern Ohio Copperheads have been fulfilling their multi-part mission to provide entertainment for families in southeast Ohio, a chance for collegiate players to improve their skills, and to serve as a sort of hands-on learning laboratory for sports administration students at Ohio University. The community owned, student operation outfit has a number of games planned for this year, which you can find out more about by checking out www.copperheadbaseball.com.
Festivals and Fairs
Y Bridge Arts Festival: August 2-3
Zane’s Landing Park, Zanesville, OH (Muskingum)
Every year the Y Bridge Arts Festival highlights the art native to Zanesville, OH, taking its name from the unique three-way bridge in Zanesville that spans the confluence of the Licking and Muskingum Rivers. Organized by the Artist Colony of Zanesville (ArtCoz), the event is an open air festival that includes the works of over 75 artists. The event spans two days that include a multitude of contemporary arts and crafts as well as food, live entertainment, and activities for children.
Lilyfest: July 12-14
13200 Little Cola Drive, Rockbridge, OH 43149 (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.
More information: lilyfest.com
Wineries and Breweries
Pleasant Hill Vineyards
5015 Pleasant Hill Road, Athens, OH 45701 (Athens)
The Corder family bought the scenic Athens County property that this vineyard is located on in 2012, and shortly afterwards opened a friendly winery that boasts 10 various wine types created on site. Ever since, the vineyard has been offering tasteful appetizers, such as baked chicken artichoke dip served with warm sourdough triangles and baked brie complete with fruit and pita points alongside their varieties of sweet and dry wines.
Hours: Open Wednesday through Friday 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
More information: www.pleasanthillvineyardsllc.com, 740-502-3525
Devil’s Kettle Brewing
97 Columbus Road, Athens, OH 45701 (Athens)
Devil’s Kettle Brewing opened in Athens in 2015, serving a variety of brews 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 very literally in pork and pickles (of so many varieties).
Hours: Wednesday through Friday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
More information: https://www.devilskettlebrew.com/ , 740-589-7187
Sixth Sense Brewing Company
175 Main Street, Jackson, OH 45640 (Jackson)
This small batch brewery is quite the find in Jackson, OH. The establishment features an array of regional beers, as well as a food menu that boasts a pretty impressive selection of burritos, tacos, and other exciting dishes. Sixth Sense also hosts live entertainment on a regular basis.
Hours: Wednesday, Thursday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
More information: facebook.com/sixthsensebrewing, 740-577-3681
Hope-Moonville Road, McArthur, OH 45651 (Vinton)
Although allegedly haunted, the Moonville Tunnel makes a nice day trip into the Southeast Ohio semi-wilderness, regardless of whether you pick up a curse along the way or not. The area was once 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 deserted Moonville tunnel.
More information: moonvillerailtrail.com
Wayne National Forest – Archer’s Fork Loop
Jackson Run Road, Wingett Run, OH (Washington)
This loop very well may be one of the most scenic portions of the Wayne National Forest. Made up of a 9.5-mile loop trail, hikers, bikers, and walkers alike can all enjoy the Irish Run Natural Bridge, a rock shelter, and scenery that is breathtaking from mid-April to mid-December of each year.
Coshocton Lake Park
23253 State Route 83 North Coshocton, OH (Coshocton)
Just a short half mile trek outside of 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 sides, as well as a kiddie play area. The Lake Park Pavilion, which is in the very 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 that offers seasonal rides to visitors.
Admission to the park is free. Admission to the aquatic center is $5 for ages 3-17, $7 for adults over 17, and free for children 0-2 years old. Canal boat rides are $6 for children ages 5-12, $7 for seniors, and $8 for adults. Camping is $28 a night for an electric site, $20 a night for a tent only area, and $15 a night for youth and scout groups.
More information: www.coshoctonlakepark.com
Middle of state has plenty of high points for activities
By Steve Stephens – The Columbus Dispatch
When a glacier came through Central Ohio some 12,000 years ago, it ironed out the terrain and left a boringly flat topography. So mountain climbing is out. But what the region lacks in hills, it makes up for with fun summer events and thrilling attractions. A few suggestions for the coming months:
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 ages 3 to 9, with discounted prices online. Includes admission to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on day of visit.
Information: zoombezibay.columbuszoo.org, 614-724-3600
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
1777 E. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin)
This year marks the 25th anniversary of “Blooms & Butterflies,” with hundreds of colorful butterflies flying freely in the conservatory’s Pacific Island Water Garden. Patrons can visit the display during regular hours. Plus, special presentations are offered daily at 1 and 3 p.m. 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
Information: fpconservatory.org, 614-715-8000
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. House tours are offered on Saturdays, Sundays and the second Wednesday of the month.
Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for children 5 to 15, and free for children under 5 and members; $2 for Daweswood House tour, $1 for children.
Information: dawesarb.org, 1-800-443-2937
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 ages 60 and older and children 3 to 9 for Franklin County residents; $21.99 and $16.99 for nonresidents. Parking is $10 per vehicle.
Information: columbuszoo.org, 614-645-3400
Columbus Arts Festival
Downtown Columbus (Franklin)
One of the top arts festivals in the nation, the June 7 to 9 event along the Scioto Mile and Scioto River waterfront brings in hundreds of talented artists working in a wide variety of media to display and sell their wares. Visitors also can enjoy five different entertainment stages.
Information: columbusartsfestival.org, 614-221-8625
The music festival, celebrating its 35th anniversary season, runs from July 18 to 27 and features a wide variety of performances at indoor and outdoor venues in and near Lancaster. Other festival events include art displays and demonstrations, dramatic performances and kids’ activities. This year’s festival features Sara Evans on July 20 and Kansas on July 27.
Admission: varies by performance
Information: lancasterfestival.org, 740-687-4808
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
Information: 614-461-5483, www.promowestlive.com
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: Rodin and Women, Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections” from July 12 through Dec. 8.
At the Wednesdays @2 program, on select Wednesday afternoons, guest speakers offer a behind-the-scenes perspective on the museum’s exhibitions and collection as well as other specialty topics such as gardening.
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.
Information: columbusmuseum.org, 614-221-6801
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.
Information: shermanhouse.org, 740-687-5891
National Veterans Memorial and Museum
300 W. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin)
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 display 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.
Information: nationalvmm.org, 1-888-987-6866
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, including 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.
Information: cosi.org, 614-228-2674
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.
Upcoming games include May 26-27 against Indianapolis and June 3-5 against Toledo.
Admission: from $7 for adults and from $5 for children under 12 and seniors over 60
Information: clippersbaseball.com, 614-462-5250
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
Information: columbuscrewsc.com, 614-447-2739
The Memorial Tournament
Muirfield Village Golf Club, 5750 Memorial Drive, Dublin (Franklin)
The world’s best golfers gather annually for this PGA tournament to vie for the $9 million purse and pay tribute to golf’s legends, including tournament founder and host Jack Nicklaus. This year’s tournament runs from May 27 to June 2. Each year, the Memorial recognizes one or more greats from the world of golf. This year’s honoree is Judy Rankin, a 26-time winner on the LPGA tour and currently an analyst with the Golf Channel and ESPN. Last year’s tournament winner was Bryson DeChambeau, who took home more than $1.6 million for the victory.
Admission: Weekly patron badges start at $185. Practice round tickets are available online for $35 for a set of three and also at the gate.
Information: thememorialtournament.com, pgatour.com; 1-877-682-2343
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, the Destroyers have remaining home games on June 7 (Atlantic City), June 15 (Baltimore), June 22 (Philadelphia) and July 14 (Albany).
Admission: $23 to $108
Information: www.nationwidearena.com, www.arenafootball.com
El Dorado Scioto Downs
6000 S. High St. (Franklin)
The casino and harness racing track will host live horse racing Tuesdays through Saturdays through Sept. 7. Visitors also can watch simulcast races every day of the week. The casino operates 24 hours a day.
Information: sciotodowns.com, 614-295-4700
Festivals and fairs
Ohio State Fair
July 24 to Aug. 4
Ohio Expo Center, Interstate 71 and East 17th Avenue, Columbus (Franklin)
One of the largest state fairs in the country, the Ohio State Fair features 360 acres of exhibit halls, animal barns, rides, food and more entertainment than you can shake a corndog-on-a-stick at. This summer’s featured entertainers include Hank Williams Jr. (July 27), Toby Keith (July 29) and REO Speedwagon (July 31).
Admission: $10, or $8 for those 60 and older, $8 for children 5 to 12 (rides and most concerts have an additional fee).
Information: ohiostatefair.com, 1-888-646-3976
Goodale Park, 120 W. Goodale St., Columbus (Franklin)
Running from June 28 to 30, the country’s largest independent, volunteer-run festival is so popular that it’s hard to describe it as counterculture. But it certainly is non-corporate, with a free-and-easy vibe (and free admission) and a mission to “promote community unity, tolerance and equity.” The street festival began in 1972 and features alternative politics, local music, arts and crafts, food and drink.
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.
Information: daltonunion.com, 937-645-5889
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.
Information: slaterunwine.com, 614-834-8577
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.
Information: zipzonetours.com, 614-847-9477
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 Midwest. 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.
Information: trapperjohnscanoeing.com, 614-877-4321
MLB’s All-Star Game, Tall Ships among summer classics
By Susan Glaser – The Plain Dealer
Thousands of baseball fans will descend on Cleveland in July, when Progressive Field plays host to Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. But there are plenty of other reasons to put Northeast Ohio on your travel to-do list this summer, from the Tall Ships Festival to a zoo expansion and professional soccer on the Lake Erie shore. Here’s what’s in store this summer in Northeast Ohio:
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
Information: akronzoo.org, 330-375-2550
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 Information: clevelandmetroparks.com/zoo, 216-661-6500,
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 Information: 216-721-1600, cbgarden.org
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) Information: holdenarb.org, 440-946-4400
Outdoor music and drama
7420 Fairmount Road, Russell Township (Geauga)
LaureLive, the popular outdoor musical festival on the grounds of Laurel School’s Butler Campus, returns for its fourth year, with 30 musical acts spread across two days, including headliners Hozier (June 8) and Sheryl Crow (June 9). In addition to music: food, children’s activities, arts and more.
Admission: Single-day admission is $85, or $25 for children 3 to 10. Information: laurelive.com, 216-696-7776
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). Information: clevelandorchestra.com, livenation.com
“Trumpet in the Land”
Schoenbrunn Amphitheatre, 1600 Trumpet Drive NE, New Philadelphia (Tuscarawas)
Celebrating its 50th season, “Trumpet in the Land” is set in the same Ohio hills where the story unfolded more than two centuries ago. Paul Green’s play tells the story of Moravian missionary David Zeisberger and his Christian Indian followers as they struggle to maintain their settlement in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. The show runs June 14 through Aug. 17. Also on stage at the Schoenbrunn Amphitheatre this summer: “The Wizard of Oz,” “Love Letters” and “8-Track: The Sounds of the ’70s.”
Admission: $20, or $18 for those 60 and older and children 13 to 17, $10 for children 3 to 12 Information: trumpetintheland.com, 330-339-1132
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: an exhibit on the 2019 inductees, including The Cure, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, Roxy Music and the Zombies. Also: “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
Information: rockhall.com, 216-781-7625
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
Information: profootballhof.com, 330-456-8207
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 tradition 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
Information: 216-421-7350, clevelandart.org
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 this spring and summer, including “Lee Mingwei: You Are Not a Stranger,” and “Abe Frajndlich: Portraits of Our Early Years.”
Information: mocacleveland.org, 216-421-8671
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.
Information: butlerart.com, 330-743-1107
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. For a roster of events: www.mlb.com/all-star. Or, if you would rather just watch the Indians play a game in Cleveland, check out these 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. Information: mlb.com/indians, 216-420-4487
Akron Rubber Ducks: The Indians’ Class AA affiliate plays at downtown Akron’s Canal Park, 300 S. Main St., Akron (Summit County), with seating for 7,600. Information: akronrubberducks.com, 330-253-5151
Lake County Captains: This Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians plays in Classic Park, 35300 Vine St., Eastlake (Lake County) Information: captainsbaseball.com, 440-975-8085
CONCACAF Gold Cup, June 22 FirstEnergy Stadium, 100 Alfred Lerner Way, Cleveland (Cuyahoga) 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 Information: goldcup.org
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. Tickets and information: clevelandbrowns.com
Bridgestone Senior Players Championship
July 10-14 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, Tennessee, 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. Tickets: $20 and up; 18 and younger are free with a ticketed adult Information: bridgestoneseniorplayers.com
Festivals and fairs
Duck Tape Festival June 13-15 Veterans Memorial Park, 3701 Veterans Memorial Parkway, Avon (Lorain County) 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. Admission: free Information: ducktapefestival.com
Cuyahoga 50 June 19-23 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. Information: cuyahoga50.org
Tall Ships Festival July 11-14 North Coast Harbor, Cleveland (Cuyahoga) 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 Information: tallshipscle.com, 844-253-8255
Twins Days Festival Aug. 2-4 Twinsburg (Summit County) Popular events include look-alike (and least-alike) contests, talent shows and more. It’s the largest gathering of twins (and other multiples) in the world, drawing thousands of twins — plus thousands of non-twins — every year. (Friday is for registered twins only.) Admission: $4; $20-$25 per registered set of twins (only registered twins eligible to participate in events) Information: twinsdays.org, 330-425-3652
D-Day Conneaut Aug. 15-17 Conneaut Township Park, 480 Lake Road (Ashtabula) Re-enactors will storm the Lake Erie beach in far northeast Ashtabula County during this annual event, the largest D-Day re-enactment in the United States. Activities this year, which will be the 75th anniversary of D-Day, include mock battles, living history displays, demonstrations, seminars and more. Admission: free Information: ddayohio.us
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. Information: thelodgeatgeneva.com/play/wineshuttle, 440-466-7100
Canton 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.
Information: gervasivineyard.com, 330-497-1000
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. Information: saucybrewworks.com, 216-666-2568
Also in the neighborhood
Saucy is located in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, a short walk to numerous other breweries, including patriarch Great Lakes Brewing Co., a 30-year veteran of the city (2516 Market Ave., Cleveland; 216-771-4404, greatlakesbrewing.com).
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 Cuyahoga 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. Admission: free Information: nps.gov/cuva, 330-657-2752
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. Information: parks.ohiodnr.gov/mohican, 419-994-5125
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 Information: treefrogcanopytours.com, 740-599-2662
Plethora of summer adventures awaiting
By Alexis Larsen – the Dayton Daily News
From amusement parks to museums to music festivals and sporting events, Southwestern Ohio continues to be a draw to visitors both in and out of state. The number of activities, attractions and things to do is long, impressive and something to be celebrated regardless of the week. Here are some attractions worth seeing this summer:
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.
Information: visitkingsisland.com, 513-754-5700
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
Information: coneyislandpark.com, 513-232-8320
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 multiperson 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
Information: thebeachwaterpark.com, 513-398-7946
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.
Information: junglejims.com, 513-674-6000
CONSERVATORIES / BOTANICAL GARDENS / ZOOS
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
3400 Vine St., Cincinnati (Hamilton)
Fiona isn’t just one of Shrek’s favorite names, it’s also a favorite of Southern Ohio’s. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s most famous resident — 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.
Information: cincinnatizoo.org, 513-281-4700
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. If you want to head inside for a bit, 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
Information: pyramidhill.org, 513-868-1234
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 housesl. 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
Information: cincinnatiparks.com/krohn, 513-421-4086
OUTDOOR MUSIC / THEATER
Bunbury Music Festival
Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati (Hamilton)
The festival, which runs May 31 through June 2, features headliners Fall Out Boy, Greta Van Fleet, The 1975, Girl Talk and Run The Jewels. Other acts at one of Ohio’s largest outdoor music festivals include Cleveland’s Machine Gun Kelly, Stone Temple Pilots, Sublime with Rome, Dashboard Confessional and Blue October. Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove, a pair of side-by-side parks on Cincinnati’s riverfront, offer great views of the Ohio River.
Admission: $79 for single-day pass; $189 for 3-day packages and $450 and up for 3-day VIP packages
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; Joe Bonamassa, Aug. 6; Dave Koz and Friends, Sept. 6
Information: fraze.com, 937-296-3300
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.
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; The Righteous Brothers and the Temptations; and The Head and the Heart, Sept. 8
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; Florida Georgia Line, Aug. 1; Beck, Cage the Elephant, Spoon, Wild Belle, Aug. 2; Santana, Aug. 10; Iron Maiden, Aug. 15; Korn and Alice In Chains, Aug. 18; Jason Aldean, Aug. 22; KISS, Aug. 29; and Kid Rock with Hank Williams, Jr., Sept. 28..
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. Performances for the 2019 season include: Buddy Guy and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, June 11; Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Toad the Wet Sprocket, June 12; Collective Soul and Gin Blossoms, June 13; Brian Wilson presents “Pet Sounds: The Final Performances”, June 18; Robert Cray Band and Marc Cohn, Featuring Blind Boys of Alabama, June 19; Michael McDonald and Chaka Khan, June 20; O.A.R., June 22; July 2; Amos Lee and Bruce Hornsby, July 16; Sugarland, July 19; Los Lobos and The Mavericks, July 23; The Righteous Brothers and the Temptations, July 25; Air Supply, July 26; Sarah McLachlan, July 30; Tesla, Aug. 6; Foreigner, Aug. 12; Stray Cats, Aug. 14; Live and Bush, Sept. 4; and REO Speedwagon, Sept. 27
Information: rosemusiccenter.com, 513-232-6220
ART: Tecumseh46.jpg: Left to right: Danny Bertaux as Wasegoboah, Ryan Reid as Tecumseh, Bobby Wilhelmson as Bluejacket, Savanna Strandin as Kesathwa, Sierra Young as Tecumapese, Gabriel Mustin as Blackhoof, Steven Torres as Tenskwatawa in the 2017 production of “Tecumseh!” Photo credit: Joe Murray
“Tecumseh!” Outdoor Drama
When: June 13-Sept. 1
Where: Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre, 5968 Marietta Road, Chillicothe
What: 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
Information: 866-775-0700; tecumsehdrama.com
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 that touch on presidential items, research and development, space and global reach. In addition to the exhibitions that have helped elevate this expansive museum to one of the top 10 most-visited attractions in the state, you can now board a space shuttle, walk through four presidential aircraft, step inside cargo planes and enjoy new STEM educational opportunities (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The Air Force Museum Foundation’s new suite of simulator rides, some of the first in North America, feature an exclusive space voyage experience. Be sure to mark your calendars for June 22-23 when the annual Vectren Dayton Air Show (daytonairshow.com), one of the premier aircraft events in the country, makes for an aviation weekend.
Admission: free (parking also free); fee for theater and flight simulators
Information: nationalmuseum.af.mil, 937-255-3286
Cincinnati Museum Center
1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati (Hamilton)
The center, at Union Terminal, is home to three museums in one — Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children’s 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.
Information: cincymuseum.org, 513-287-7000
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.
Information: cincinnatiartmuseum.org, 513-639-2995
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.
Information: 937-223-4278, www.daytonartinstitute.org
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. Take a trip down memory lane at this hidden gem located in the Camp Washington neighborhood of Cincinnati as you take in hand-carved wooden signs, gold leaf, electric light bulbs, and neon (all from 1870 through 1970).
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.
Information: americansignmuseum.org, 513-541-6366
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. The Reds play upcoming home games May 27-29 against the Pittsburgh Pirates and May 31 to June 2 against the Washington Nationals.
Information: mlb.com/reds, 513-381-7337
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 averaged 8,360 fans per game and are celebrating their 20th season in 2019. They 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, topping the mark of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. The Dragons play upcoming home games May 28-30 against Lansing and May 31 to June 2 against South Bend.
Information: daytondragons.com, 937-228-2287
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.
Information: bengals.com, 1-866-621-8383; 513-621-8383
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.
Information: cincytennis.com, 513-651-0303
FESTIVALS AND FAIRS
Taste of Cincinnati
Downtown Cincinnati, 5th Street from Race Street to Broadway (Hamilton)
One of the country’s longest running food festivals is back for another Memorial Day weekend (through May 27) featuring food, live entertainment and more food. More than a half-million people are expected to attend. Bring cash, come hungry and be prepared to wait. The event, which began in 1979, it is now the nation’s longest running free culinary arts festival. Be sure to stop by Fountain Square and enjoy the view.
Information: tasteofcincinnati.com, 513-579-3187
The Ohio Challenge Balloon Festival
Smith Park, 2301 Wedekind Dr., Middletown (Butler)
Hot-air balloon races, fireworks, professional skydivers, live music, a classic car show, arts and crafts, food vendors, airplane and helicopter rides … this festival, set for July 19-20, really does have it all.
Admission: $5; 12 and younger are free.
More information: ohiochallenge.com, 513-435-6361
Annie Oakley Festival
Darke County Fairgrounds, 800 Sweitzer St., Greenville (Darke)
For the 56th year, Darke County will pay homage to Phoebe Anne Moses — better known as Annie Oakley. The event, scheduled for July 26-28, will feature shooting contests, a car show, fast-draw competitions, melodramas, historical tours, a pilgrimage to Annie’s grave, special displays at Garst Museum, a Saturday parade, antique market and concessions. Honoring Darke County’s most famous daughter is the center of this party’s mission and giving a turn of the century vibe is all part of it. If those July dates don’t work, mark your calendar for Aug. 16-24 and head to the Great Darke County Fair (darkecountyfair.com).
Information: annieoakleyfestival.org, 540-207-4403
Cincinnati Riverfront (Hamilton)
The Sunday before Labor Day — Sept. 1 this year — 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.
Moerlein Lager House
115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati (Hamilton)
Located near Great American Ball Park, the Moerlein Lager House offers great views of the river. You can also visit the Moerlein taproom in Over the Rhine if you have time and like the beers.
Information: moerleinlagerhouse.com, 513-421-2337
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.
Information: rhinegeist.com, 513-381-1367
Taft’s Ale House
1429 Race St, Cincinnati (Hamilton)
The way Taft’s Ale House markets itself says everything you need to know — witty, playful and fun. “Enter Taft’s Brewing Co., 49,000 square feet of high-quality sud-soaked wizardry with 50 barrels ready to pump out enough flavorful brews to satiate many a great state. Located in the old Cincinnati Car Company Factory, the building will continue to transport the hard working heroes of this grand city – but this time to a fresh pint brimming with Taft’s signature drinkability.” This place is worth a visit for the building alone.
Information: taftsalehouse.com, 513-334-1393
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.
Information: warpedwing.com, 937-222-7003
Joyce Park, 201 Joe Nuxhall Way, Fairfield (Butler)
For an unforgettable adventure, head to Wake Nation, 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
Information: wakenation.com, 513-887-9253
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 near West Liberty 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 seven to eight minutes.
Admission: $19, or $10 for children ages 5 to 12
Information: ohiocaverns.com, 937-465-4017
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
Information: campkern.org/ozone, 800-255-5376