Ohio Spring Fests, Events, Activities
And other Spring things to do
and places to go in Ohio…
Ohio has a confections trifecta that will satisfy any sweet tooth! Unlike Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, you don’t need a golden ticket to see candy galore at Spangler Candy Company, b.a. Sweetie Candy Company and Anthony Thomas Chocolates.
Spangler Candy Company in Bryan, Ohio makes millions of sweets daily. Hop on a trolley tour to see the museum, factory and store. This is the place where all of your Dum Dum Lollipops come from as well as candy canes. Did you know that the stripe on a candy cane has to be done by hand? They also make marshmallow candies and a variety of bulk candy. Learn how a paperboy turned $450 into the purchase of a factory and launched his own candy empire. For tour information, click here.
b.a. Sweetie Candy in Cleveland is the largest candy store in the country. It features over 4,000 different kinds of candy totaling about 400,000 pounds of candy under one roof with nearly 2 million pounds in stick. They have everything from old-time favorites to the latest craze. There’s even an old-fashioned truck full of candy just inside to greet customers as their jaws drop upon entering this sweet store. For visitor information, click here.
Visitors to Anthony Thomas Chocolates in Columbus can walk along a glass-enclosed suspended catwalk to see candy made at this 152,000 square-foot state-of-the-art candy factory. In one shift, 25,000 pounds of chocolate are produced. Even Augustus Loof would be left satisfied (sorry, no chocolate river here). To plan your tour, click here.
Ohio, it’s sweeeet to be here!
Signs of spring weather arrived in mid-February, about five weeks shy of actual springtime. Nevertheless, Coshocton is blooming with activities to do! In April, the Johnson Humrickhouse Museum is hosting their annual Teen-Age Talent Exhibit, featuring over a hundred works of art from local high school and home school students. See everything from watercolors and pastels, to photography and sculpture, and much more. With the exhibit being around 27 years, it has attracted and entertained people from all over. The museum is also hosting “What Women Want ~ A Night Out Just for Women” in April, and the “Pushing the Surface Exhibit,” in May and June, which will feature 25 art quilts from nationally known artists. Visit www.jhmuseum.org.
The Coshocton Crow Geotrail trail is highly rated by geocachers for its many beautiful sites and family-friendly caches. Not only will you visit 13 of Coshocton’s most interesting places, but you’ll also find fascinating facts about crows. Did you know that there is a surplus of them? You will definitely find out once you come and visit Coshocton – www.visitcoshocton.com.
If you are a local history buff, then you don’t want to miss “Facts & Photos of The Flood of 1913” in March. Dave Snyder, who is a curator of the Walhonding Valley Historical Society and Museum will present a slideshow with dioramas, books, and pictures showing the impact the great flood had on the community, and the significant destruction to the canal system. This is a perfect event to attend as it is free, interesting, and educational! Plus, if you have any knowledge of the local history, the better! Visit www.roscoevillage.com.
In April, the Coshocton Community Choir will be featuring its Spring concert “I’m Gonna Sing!” Over 200 singers and musicians from central Ohio participate in this annual concert. The choir, now in its 46th season, has commissioned a number of arrangements from well-known composers. Musical selections span the centuries with classics from each era being performed. This concert features the 100-voice adult choir, the children’s choir, The Roscoe Brass Quintet, and the 40-voice teen choir, all performing a mix of sacred and secular choral music. When you attend this concert, it will be sure to put you in the Spring mood and inspire you to sing along! Visit coshoctoncommunitychoir.org.
Treat yourself to a glass of wine and a scenic view. The Three Rivers Wine Trail has a winery for you! Whether you would like to sample wines at a California style wine bar or sip wines in a rustic setting, you’ll find your perfect spot – and maybe a new favorite wine. Click here to see Coshocton wineries.
The Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati’s Eden Park features its 2017 International Butterfly Show, The Majestic Monarch, now through June 18.
This year’s show will celebrate the beauty of the majestic monarch butterflies and their amazing long journey across North America. Thousands of free-flying butterflies, of all varieties including the monarch, will fill the showroom and delight visitors with their beautiful colors and designs. Experience what it is like to be a butterfly surrounded by towering fir trees, giant flowers, and islands of color provided by the beautiful hydrangeas, marvelous marigolds, and gorgeous celosia.
Become a “Citizen Scientist” when visiting by observing which fruit nectar feeding station or which flower attracts the most butterflies. There is a lot to learn about Monarchs –– and everyone at Krohn is hoping that each visitor will spread the word about the importance of creating and preserving butterfly habitats.
The show will be open daily from 10am – 5 pm. Admission is $7/adult, and $4/child ages 5-17.
In April, here’s what’s happening:
The Land of Nod Tour Bus Visits Krohn
Sunday, April 2
10am – 5pm
A great day for families –– there will be Charlie Harper themed art activities and giveaways like tote bags and animal headbands.
Greater Cincinnati Orchid Society Potting Bee
Sunday, April 2
1 – 4pm
If you need help with potting your orchid, or want to learn more about orchids, mark your calendars for the Potting Bee!
Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9
10am – 5pm
Come for the butterflies and stay to see hundreds of the most beautiful daffodils on display during our very first daffodil show!
Easter Sunday: Enjoy an early morning with the Butterflies!
Sunday, April 16
8am – 5pm (Regular admission applies)
Purchase refreshments and enjoy the butterflies and flowers during these special early hours.
Sponsored By K & R Photographics Mondays, April 17, 24
5:30 – 7:30pm
$12 per person (price includes unlimited admission pin)
Photographers and tripods welcome! Come get great shots of our butterflies after regular show hours.
Earth Day Celebration
Sponsored by Scherzinger Termite and Pest Control
Friday, April 21
10am – 2pm
The first 300 visitors will receive a free tree seedling sponsored by both Scherzinger Termite/Pest Control and Friends of Krohn.
Many special events, both family-friendly and adults-only, have been planned throughout the 12-week show ranging from Photographer Nights to Family Nights and just about anything in between.
For more information about Krohn Conservatory and the International Butterfly Show, call 513-421-5707 or go to www.cincinnatiparks.com.
Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Treat Shop unveiled its newest creation in collaboration with The Cleveland Orchestra to celebrate the Orchestra’s Second Century and upcoming season. The year will be the ensemble’s 100th season of concerts and marks the launch of its Second Century.
The shop’s Cleveland Orchestra Second Century Chocolate Bar is handmade using premium Belgian chocolate and features a relief of the iconic home of The Cleveland Orchestra – Severance Hall. The special edition chocolate bar (available in both milk and dark chocolate) will be available later this year.
“We are honored to take part in the Cleveland Orchestra’s upcoming centennial celebration and are thrilled about this collaboration,” said Sweet Moses founder Jeff Moreau. “The Orchestra’s lasting legacy and commitment to musical excellence is a source of pride for all of Cleveland.”
“The Cleveland Orchestra is delighted to be collaborating with Sweet Moses for this exclusive chocolate,” said Ross Binnie, Cleveland Orchestra, Chief Marketing Officer. “This wonderful sweet shop in Gordon Square has a special meaning for us, as it was one of the venues we performed at during our first ‘At Home Neighborhood Residency’ in 2013. Sweet Moses is a wonderful partner and what better way to celebrate our Second Century than by adding a fantastic chocolate.”
Sweet Moses, located in the historic Gordon Square Arts District, epitomizes the quintessential ice cream and confections experience. Harkening back to the days of the vintage soda fountain, attention is paid to every detail – from ice cream served up behind an authentic Bastion-Blessings soda fountain and root beer straight from the barrel to handmade English toffee and chocolate barks to freshly-popped popcorn and homemade pies. Even the hot fudge and caramel sauces that top the sundaes are fresh out of the Sweet Moses kitchen. For more information, please visit www.sweetmosestreats.com.
Under the direction of Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, the New York Times has declared Cleveland to be the “best American orchestra” for its virtuosity, elegance of sound, variety of color, and chamber-like cohesion. The Cleveland Orchestra divides its time each year across concert seasons at home in Cleveland’s Severance Hall and each summer at Blossom Music Center. Additional portions of the year are devoted to touring and performance residencies around the world. Through concerts, tours, recordings, radio broadcasts, and internet streaming, the Orchestra is heard each year by millions of fans around the world.
The Cleveland Orchestra was created in 1918 by the Musical Arts Association, a non-profit corporation founded in 1915 to promote the presentation of live symphonic music in Cleveland. The Cleveland Orchestra became the Association’s only focus going forward, with strong leadership and community generosity enabling the ensemble to quickly grow from a respected regional group to national fame and then international acclaim. The Orchestra’s fame and acclaim have continued to grow and flourish, with the institution outlining a series of ambitious goals for its Second Century — to build upon its legendary musical excellence, to develop the youngest audience of any orchestra, to focus on fully serving the communities where it performs through concerts, engagement, and music education, to strengthen its business acumen and financial strength, and to embrace innovation and technology in support of its musical mission to engage people of all ages through the power of music to enrich lives and inspire minds, to foster learning and understanding, and to spark creativity and imagination. For more information, please visit www.clevelandorchestra.com.
“Mommy, look what I found!”
Whether it is a baby bird, squirrel, bunny, or other wild animal, children have a knack for finding wild orphans. Across the United States during the spring and summer months, thousands of young wild animals will be picked up; some need to be rescued, most do not.
“At Brukner Nature Center, we care for more than 1,400 animals each year,” said Becky Crow, Curator of Wildlife. “They are brought to us by well-intentioned individuals, but many of them did not need to be rescued,” Crow added.
Baby bunnies, also known as kits, are one of the wild animals rescued most often, but usually do not need human help. Mother rabbits are only at the nest to feed their young twice a day for about five minutes—at dawn and dusk. And, yes, they really did put the nest in the middle of your backyard! One reason for this is so mama rabbit can see any predators that may be approaching while she is nursing her young. Kits are in their nest for only two to three weeks; a pretty short time before they are independent. Leave the nest alone unless you find cold, limp babies, or obviously injured ones. Brukner Nature Center has more advice for you on how to keep the young safe in the nest until they are ready to live on their own.
There is a myth that once a baby bird is touched by a human, it will not be cared for by the parent birds. Not true! First of all, birds, except for those in the vulture family, have a poor sense of smell. They cannot even tell that you touched the nestling when returning it to the nest. However, if you put a cold baby bird back in the nest and it is unable to beg for food when the parent arrives, it is in trouble. It is always best to call Brukner Nature Center for help and advice.
Did you know that mother deer forage for food, leaving their camouflaged, spotted fawns alone for several hours at a time? People who come across these vulnerable-looking fawns in the woods, their backyards and along roadways always assume they need help. Unless the fawn is obviously injured—broken leg, open wound, flies buzzing around it—it is most likely perfectly fine. Its mom intends to come back soon and expects to find the youngster right where she left it after the last feeding.
“It is illegal, as well as unwise, to keep wildlife as pets or even to try to raise orphans unless you are trained and have the proper permits from state and federal wildlife agencies,” said Crow. Licensed wildlife rehabilitators have the knowledge and experience to care for wild orphans that need help. They know how to raise orphans to be healthy and wild. When you find a wild animal you think needs help, it is best to call for advice so both you and the wild animal remain safe.
In this area, you can call Brukner Nature Center at 937-698-6493. Please make certain the wild animal in question needs to be rescued. Even with the best efforts of Brukner Nature Center, there is no substitute for Mother Nature.
Brukner Nature Center is a non-profit, privately-funded organization promoting the appreciation and understanding of wildlife conservation through preservation, education, and rehabilitation. Hours of operation are: Monday through Saturday from 9:00am-5:00pm and Sundays, 12:30-5:00pm. Admission is $2.50 per person or $10 for a family of 4 or more (cash or check). No admission charge on Sundays! For more information, call 937-698-6493, email email@example.com, or visit www.bruknernaturecenter.com.
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens opens its season with the theme of Community – Not For Us Alone. In the spring, the Manor House unveils a new permanent exhibit, The Seiberling Legacy, as well as a revamped behind-the-scenes “Nooks & Crannies” tour. The new Pollinator Garden opens near the Corbin Conservatory.
Featured prominently above the front door of the Manor House is the phrase “Non Nobis Solum,” which is Latin for “Not For Us Alone.” this expression is emblematic of how the Seiberlings lived, inspired to make their community a better place for all. F.A. and Gertrude Seiberling helped to shape the fabric of Akron as gracious hosts, patrons of the arts, philanthopists and entrepreneurs.
“We invite guests to visit and take a tour to learn more about the many ways the Seiberlings’ legacy still influences our community today,” notes Linda Conrad, President & Executive Director at Stan Hywet.
Opening in mid-April on the lower level of the Manor House is The Seiberling Legacy, a new permanent exhibit that presents a complete picture of the Seiberlings’ civic generosity. A visual story told in eight “chapters,” the display presents the many ways the family used its fortune and influence for the betterment of others. Each chapter — Community Spirit, Business & Innovation, Transportation, Health & Wellness, the Environment, Culture, Military Service and Housing – addresses another aspect of this family’s altruism.
“Nooks & Crannies,” the behind-the-scenes Manor House specialty tour, has been retooled with a new tour route and augmented with more details incorporated from additional research on the domestic staff who lived and worked on the estate. New exhibit panels and Walk the Hall guides are part of the refreshed tour.
The lifecycle and impact of bees and other pollinator insects are part of the new Pollinator Garden. Designed to educated guests about the need for pollination plants and the challenges facing these essential insects, it is located between the Butterfly Habitat and the Corbin Conservatory.
This garden features host plants (where insects lay eggs and larvae) and pollinator plants, the food source (nectar) in the flowers. Plants such as milkweed, Joe-pye weed and blueberries in the garden will attract bees, moths, and butterflies – insects that use flowers as a nectar source. An educational replica beehive will be on display in the Pollinator Garden to explain how a beehive and its hierarchy works.
Special events – guest favorites – are back. Founders’ Day Weekend, June 9-11, commemorates the 82nd anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous at the Gate Lodge. The 60th annual Father’s Day Car Show on June 18 features cars from 1957 (the same year that Stan Hywet opened as a historic house museum). The annual GALA – Starry, Starry, Starry Night – is June 23. Ohio Mart, the popular annual artisan craft festival is October 5-8. Deck The Hall in November and December features “Postcards from the Past” in the Manor House, Rudolf in his corral, two animated shop windows, more than 900,000 lights illuminating the Estate, including Dazzle and Gingerbread Land.
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is open April 1 through the end of November from Tuesday through Sunday from 10am-6pm; the last admission is at 4:30pm. Daytime hours change for the month of December. The Estate is also open on Memorial Day and Labor Day with regular operating hours.
An all-female creative team bring to life a Civil War-era take on the exploits of the fierce and fiery gypsy girl, Carmen.
This reimagined and reduced new production of Bizet’s most famous opera features the spoken dialogue of the original score, but is set during an early 20th century era of civil war and unsettling social atmosphere. An all-female creative team breathes new life into the powerfully beguiling gypsy Carmen who has no rules when it comes to seducing the soldier José, but his growing desire to keep her triggers a web of jealousy and murderous rage. As part of Opera Columbus’ artistic collaboration with The Juilliard School’s Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts and its Artist Diploma in Opera Studies (ADOS) program, mezzo-soprano and ADOS artist Avery Amereau will perform the role of Carmen.
Opera Columbus presents Carmen at the Southern Theatre (21 E. Main St.). There will be a preview performance on Wednesday, May 3, at 1 pm with additional performances on Friday, May 5, at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, May 7, at 2 pm. It is performed in French with English surtitles with the Columbus Symphony and BalletMet 2.
Tickets are $25-$88 (preview tickets are $10-30) at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase by phone, call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. Young people aged 13-25 may purchase $5 All Access tickets while available. For more information, visit www.GoFor5.com.
In 2015, Opera Columbus’ entered into an artistic collaboration with The Juilliard School’s Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts and its Artist Diploma in Opera Studies (ADOS) program. The ADOS program is an intensive, two-year curriculum of advanced opera studies for highly gifted and experienced singers at the post-master’s level, selected through a comprehensive audition process. As part of the new collaboration, Opera Columbus Artistic Director Peggy Kriha Dye, herself a graduate of Juilliard, observes the artists’ development as they work through the ADOS program. Dye and Juilliard’s Director of Opera Studies Stephen Wadsworth collaborate to determine what roles best suit each artist and what operas best suit upcoming Opera Columbus seasons. Selected ADOS artists are then contracted by Opera Columbus to perform in an upcoming, main stage production beginning with the 2016-17 season.
Mezzo-soprano Avery Amereau has garnered much attention for the unique quality of her voice and sensitivity to interpretation. She has been praised by The New York Times as “sensual and achingly perfect” as well as “particularly excellent,” and by Opera Today as possessing “an effortlessly rich mezzo-soprano voice worthy of any professional stage in the industry with charisma to match.” A native of Jupiter, Florida, Amereau received her Bachelor of Music degree at Mannes College, and her Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School studying under Edith Wiens. During the summers of 2011-14, she studied at the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie under the tutelage of Malcolm Martineau, Ann Murray, and John Fisher, among others. She is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at Juilliard, where she is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship.
For more information, visit www.OperaColumbus.org.
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum in Hamilton, Ohio is celebrating its 20th Anniversary throughout 2017. This unique blend of art and nature has been a destination for folks for years as it continues to grow.
Three special events are planned from July through Fall spotlighting the park, the art, and the pyramid house. The park event will present a concert in partnership with the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Opera. The concert will include a new original composition by John Paul Stanbery, The Music Director and CEO of the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra and Chorale. The art event will bring an outdoor installation by Australian artist Amanda Parer titled Intrude and will remain on display for two weeks with a variety of themed programs. The home event will celebrate the opening of the Harry T. Wilks home, Pyramid House, which is currently under renovations. Harry T. Wilks opened the park as a public not for profit organization in 1997 as Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Arboretum.
“The logo was a perfect depiction of the land, stream, hills and trees. In the progression of the park and the name, we wanted to find a visual representation of an Art Park. The sculpture at the entrance is now very identifiable with the park,” said Director of Park Operations, Shaun Higgins. “So with the blessing of artist John Henry, a depiction of Passage is now part of the visual representation of Pyramid Hill. Easily identifiable and unique.”
The roots of Pyramid Hill date back to 1987 when Harry T. Wilks (1925-2014) purchased 40 acres of land just outside of Hamilton, Ohio. He desired to build his home there and before it was finished in 1992, he added several adjoining parcels of land. He would clear the land as he acquired it and build roads, create lakes and clear hiking trails. After the home was completed he invited friends to Pyramid Hill, and in 1995 he received nine offers to purchase home sites. However, by that time, Harry began to appreciate the beauty of the land and nature and wanted to preserve it for future generations.
Harry combined his love of art and had the idea to create a public sculpture park and formed a non-profit foundation to which he donated the land so it could be free from private development. He began visiting sculptors and purchased several pieces to place in the newly formed park. The park opened as a public not for profit in 1997. The park has been buzzing with school tours and visitors ever since with the park gradually acquiring national and international attention and appearing in articles in newspapers and magazines all over the country. World-renowned artists such as Perlman, Meadmore, Liberman, Isherwood, Rosenthal and Barrett, wanted to show their sculpture at Pyramid Hill.
Youth and adult programs as well as a vibrant event schedule were actively engaging the community within the year. In 1999 Holiday Lights On The Hill began to light up the Christmas season and continues as an annual tradition for many families in the greater Hamilton area. In 2003 the first annual Art Fair became a reality with artists from all over the country displaying their work. Each year, the roads are lined with wonderfully talented artists, live music, family art activities and unique food vendors. The Ancient Sculpture Museum inside of the park opened in 2007. The annual Zombie Ball was added in 2015 and the Museum Gallery Series began featuring local and regional artists in the Ancient Sculpture Museum in 2016. It features an indoor display of ancient Greek, Roman, Etruscan and Egyptian sculpture. Pyramid Hill’s programs and artistic offerings continue to build and improve, attracting visitors from around the world.
Pyramid Hill continues to bring people to art in nature by featuring over 60 pieces of outdoor sculpture in a natural setting of hills, meadows and forests. Admission is $8 for adults $3 for children. Visit www.pyramidhill.org for more information to plan your visit.
Dennison Railroad Depot Museum is a standout in tourism and in history. This is one heck of a whistle stop! The depot is incredible. It’s like buying a ticket to a bygone era. And then you wander through the museum which is housed in one train car after another stretching down the track in what has to be one of the longest museums around. But that’s not all, this depot is special. The G.I. generation saw 1.3 million servicemen stop at the track side canteen in Dennison, Ohio. This town earned its friendly service offering a free cup of coffee and a sandwich to all the servicemen. At the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, you can find a great mix of WWII Canteen stories and tales of the railroad in an area where the trains made the town! Click here for more information.
This award recognizes Ohio’s standouts in tourism. More details about the award and all award recipients are at ohiotraveler.com/standouts-in-ohio-tourism/.
The Secret and Lost Amusement Parks of Ohio
What can be better than going to an amusement park to ride roller-coasters? How about going to a park with coasters but its rarely open to the public. Ah, anyone getting an image of golden tickets to enter the Willie Wonka Chocolate Factory?
Well, it’s kind of like that.
Stricker’s Grove in Hamilton, Ohio is open to the public only four times a year: Fourth of July; Family Day, which is always the second Sunday in August; Labor Day; and Customer Appreciation Day, which is in October.
Ralph Stricker is the only person in the United States to build his own coaster. Construction was started in November, 1990 and completed in June, 1993. The Tornado is a wooden roller coaster. The second roller coaster at this little-known amusement park is the Teddy Bear. The original Teddy Bear was located in kiddie land at Coney Island in Cincinnati. Ralph Stricker obtained the blueprints and rebuilt the Teddy Bear at Stricker’s Grove.
The park also has a train, Ferris wheel, Merry Go Round, Scrambler, Tilt A Whirl, pirate ship, flying scooters and other rides, including kiddie cars, boats and rockets. In addition to the rides, Stricker’s Grove also has an 18 hole miniature golf course, arcade with video games and skeeball, shooting gallery, horseshoes and more.
Stricker’s Grove is a family-owned and operated private amusement park available to rent to groups, organizations, and churches for family picnics, wedding receptions, meetings, etc. for groups of 500 or more from mid-May to early October. Unlike most other parks, Stricker’s Grove only rents to one group most of the time, therefore, guaranteeing complete privacy without the hassle of sharing the park and picnic facilities. For more park information, click here.
Stricker’s Grove may be Ohio’s best kept secret as far as amusement parks go but some parks of its nature are forever lost to time.
Chippewa Lake Amusement Park was located at Chippewa Lake south of Cleveland. It operated for 100 years, finally closing in 1978 due to the lack of attendance. After the park died, it birthed renewed interest but for all the wrong reasons. Although it closed for good, its rides remained largely intact but neglected for the next 30 years. It became a stunning site as nature grew around the fun park’s once colorful rides. Perhaps the most picturesque scene today is the Ferris wheel that still stands but with an enormous tree that grew up from the ground, dead center, and now shoots through the top, towering over the rusted metal frame. Much of the decay began to pose such safety issues for trespassers that over recent years, rides such as the old wooden roller-coaster were turned to rubble. Here is a video of what was still left behind as recently as just a few years ago. Click here to play the video.
LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park was located in Middletown, Ohio where signs of its past are still there. The park dates back to 1922 when it was a family retreat for picnicking, mostly. It added rides in the 1940s and became a regional amusement park that served up summer memories for generations. In the 1970s it changed its name to Americana Amusement Park. But in 1990 a freak electrical fire did millions of dollars worth of damage. It struggled afterward. Nearby Kings Island contributed to that. Finally, it closed its turnstiles in 1999. It came up for one last gasp of air in 2002, reclaiming its original name but this rebirth was short-lived. Since then, its rides were demolished and sold off.
A more recent casualty of the amusement park world is Geauga Lake in Aurora, Ohio. It was one of the big-3 amusement parks in the state and was also one of the oldest. It had major roller-coasters that competed with Cedar Point. But with Cedar Point’s world acclaim, perhaps the northern part of Ohio just wasn’t big enough to support the two major parks. However, it wasn’t the first major park to shutter its doors at Geauga Lake. There was a time in the 1970s when one side of the lake hosted the amusement park and the other was home to Sea World. Sea World Ohio lasted from 1970 to 2000. The site later became a water park. As for Geauga Lake Park (which was renamed Six Flags Worlds of Adventure for a time), its rides were auctioned off and the park stripped down to its skeleton leaving modern day ruins still awaiting new development.
One survivor of the small and regional amusement park mass extinction that has occurred over the past several decades is Memphis Kiddie Park.
Memphis Kiddie Park in Brooklyn, Ohio is an amusement park for toddlers and preschoolers. Here, you hope that you’re shorter than the height stick! There are about a dozen rides, including North America’s oldest steel kiddie roller-coaster. Other nostalgic favorites include the train ride, airplane ride, boat ride, a little Ferris wheel, Merry-Go-Round and more. It’s a survivor of a bygone era when kiddie parks thrived. This one remains family-operated. Located in an old Cleveland neighborhood, it is a delight for generations of tiny thrill-seekers and parents alike. But this decades old secret is getting out and folks from afar are making the trek to this little amusement wonder for their toddlers to enjoy. For park information, click here.
And then there are the two modern day mega amusement parks thriving to this day in Ohio – Kings Island in Mason, Ohio and Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Cedar Point Amusement Park is the reigning “Roller Coaster Capital of the World!”
There’s no secret about that.
In the dark vacuum of space, no one can hear a scream. At the Armstrong Air & Space Museum though, the stillness of night is often broken by the sounds of Scout troops camping at the museum. This program, offered since 2011, allows groups of Scouts a more in-depth museum experience and a chance to spend the night with spacecraft, a moon rock, and other extra-terrestrial artifacts.
Christopher Moynihan has seen the overnight program expand during his years working for the museum. Now Director of Programming and Education, he describes a typical overnight experience as starting soon after the museum has closed to the public. “The kids are always excited when they first get to the museum.” Scouts are let in and unpack before taking an extended tour of the museum, its artifacts, and the stories behind those artifacts. A moon rock, space suits, and the actual capsule that first took Neil Armstrong to space illustrate the Cold War, Space Race and, of course, the life of the first man to set foot on the moon. A short film in the museum’s unique domed theater further captures the excitement of that historic day in July 1969. Following the tour and film, Scouts can work on requirements for astronomy and engineering badges, complete challenge activities, or learn more about any particular aspect of space exploration.
New in 2016 is the Astronaut Training Program, where campers simulate an exploration of the moon’s surface. One group of Scouts are helped into heavy, replica Apollo spacesuits to look for geological evidence of life on the “lunar surface”, while other Scouts act as mission control monitoring the astronauts’ health and mission status. Astronauts must quickly find the rocks, evaluate their scientific potential, and bring the best sample back to their base. Mission control communicates with the astronauts, alerting them to remaining time in the mission, oxygen use, and lunar environment dangers. The Scouts have to work together to make smart decisions quickly. Will the mission find evidence of life? Will the oxygen run out or spacesuits fail? It is really up to mission control and the astronauts themselves as to how the mission ends.
When the evening activities are over, everyone is ready for snacks (no campfire inside!) and sleep. “Even though the kids are all wound up when they get here, by bedtime they are tired out,” says Moynihan. The background noise of exhibits and flight simulators in the Modern Space Gallery replace the more typical camp sounds of crickets and owls. This unique indoor camping area allows Scouts to sleep among the artifacts, resting in their sleeping bags next to a space shuttle tire, pressure suits, and astronaut food.
Morning brings a light breakfast and packing up. One final activity and yet another group of Scouts end their overnight visit to this unique campground, the Armstrong Air & Space Museum.
Programs and tours of the Armstrong Air & Space Museum may be scheduled through the Education Department at 419-738-8811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for more information about Scout Overnight programs.
This masterwork of Oceanic art has been added to the collection at the Toledo Museum of Art. The extremely rare oceanic mask is one of four known distinguished examples from Saibai Island in the Torres Straits and has been heralded by scholars as the most notable. The Saibai Island Masks are among the rarest and most spectacular works of art created by the artists of the Torres Straits.
The earliest written record of a Saibai Island mask was in 1606 when Spanish explorer Don Diego de Prado y Tovar wrote of a turtle shell example while on exploration voyage with Luís Vaz de Torres, for whom the region is named.
Masks in this style are called “mawa,” meaning “face,” and are believed to represent mythical heroes whose appearances signal important events and rites of passage. The “mawa” ceremony was held to celebrate the ripening of fruits and other crops around the month of September. The masks were carved from wood and distinct because they do not have sight apertures for the wearer, meaning that they were likely worn on the top of the head by a dancer wearing a costume of coconut leaves. They could also have been used as a kind of architectural ornament. There are only three other examples in this style, two in the Australian Museum in Sydney and one in Barbier Mueller Museum in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr. Brian Kennedy, president, director and CEO of the Toledo Museum of Art, commented that “This is an extraordinary, spectacular example of the sculptural tradition of mask making in the Torres Strait Islands. We have rarely seen such a striking and memorable mask. We are thrilled to have acquired an object of such rarity which expands the global range of the Toledo Museum of Art’s celebrated art collections.”
This example, from the Jolika Collection, demonstrates the powerful proportions used in Torres Strait Islander art. It is revered as the best and most remarkable example of an extremely rare body of Torres Strait art. The mask measures almost three times the size of a human face and the trapezoidal shape combined with shell eyes glowing against the dark brown wood create a haunting expression and make this one of the most memorable among masks from the South Seas.
Wooden masks in the Torres Straits are particular to the Western island of Saibai, unlike the more typical turtle shell masks of the South Seas. This is attributed to the proximity of Saibai Island to the sculptural wood tradition of New Guinea.
About the artists of the Torres Straits
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have the oldest continuous culture in the world, with a legacy of tens of thousands of years. Their art is often referred to as the oldest in human history.
What began as rock carving and body painting evolved to ritual and ceremonial objects carved from wood to modern art forms today such as ceramics and glassware.
The story behind individual works of indigenous art is often a direct tie to a sacred ceremony, historical traditions and geographic landscape. Works of art show the cultural diversity among communities, differences in language and what material resources were available for making objects.
More about Saibai Masks
Admission to the Museum is free. The Museum is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Noon to 5 p.m.; and is closed Monday and major holidays. Thursday evening hours are sponsored by Huntington Wealth Advisors. Friday evening hours are made possible by Fifth Third Bank.
The Museum is located at 2445 Monroe Street at Scottwood Avenue, just west of the downtown business district and one block off I-75 with exit designations posted. For general information, visitors can call 419-255-8000 or 800-644-6862, or visit toledomuseum.org.
From a past edition of OhioTraveler.com
Richland Carrousel Park in Mansfield, Ohio has commissioned Todd Goings from Carousels & Carvings in Marion, Ohio to carve a 25th Anniversary Horse.
Todd is the gentleman who maintains the Carrousel to keep it in top working condition. About two years ago, Todd was called by cell phone because one of the carrousel operators heard an unusual noise. Todd said put the cell phone where the noise was coming from. After a few seconds, he said, “Shut her down; I’m on my way.” Two and a half days later, the carrousel reopened.
The Carrousel first opened August 31, 1991. Thousands of people lined the streets to ride. The 25th Anniversary Celebration was held in August 2016.
While you’re there, enjoying carrousel music and rides, be sure to stop in the gift shop. There’s also a concession stand featuring soda, popcorn, warm pecans & almonds, candy, fresh cotton candy, chips, slush drinks, tea, Starbucks and assorted vintage small candies.
The Richland Carrousel was the first new, hand-carved carrousel to be built and operated in the United States since the 1930’s. It is located in its own pavilion in the heart of downtown Mansfield.
The carrousel figures were carved in the style of G. A. Dentzel, one of the most revered carvers of the early 1900’s. All 52 figures were designed, carved and painted by Carousel Works of Mansfield. Carrousel Works also restored the antique rounding boards, mirrors and mural frames. There are 30 horses and 22 menagerie figures, including four bears, four ostriches, four cats, four rabbits, a goat, giraffe, lion, tiger, zebra and a mythical hippocampus (part horse, part fish). A Stinson Band Organ, made by the Stinson Pipe Organ Co. of Bellefontaine, Ohio, provides rousing music for carrousel riders. The inside animals on the carrousel go 3.71 miles per hour while the outside animals go 6.77 MPH.
The scenery panels atop the carrousel depict past and present attractions in Mansfield. Tridico Silk Screening in Mansfield painted the colorful, picturesque scenes. Represented on the 18 panels are: Malabar Farm; the old Richland County Courthouse; Johnny Appleseed; the Public Library; Kingwood Center; Oak Hill Cottage; famous author Louis Bromfield; Brigadier General Frank Purdy Lahm; Mid-Ohio Race Track; the old Roller Coaster from Mansfield’s Casino Park; Lyons Falls; Vasbinder Fountain; the Central Park Bandstand; the Blockhouse; Snow Trails & Clear Fork ski areas; and Uncle Sam. A replica of a 1907 Dentzel panel and a sign stating the original low price of 50 cents per ride complete the collection.
Guarding the entrance of the carrousel are two bronze horses. They arrived in early 2003. The horses were cast from antique horses and were given by an anonymous donor. Eight picnic tables bordered by pink rose bushes surround the exterior.
Richland Carrousel Park is one of the few carrousels which is accessible to the handicapped. The horse in front of each of the chariots swivel, and the chariot seat flips up to accommodate a wheelchair. Its open 7 days a week year-round with the exception of New Years Day, Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
For more information, visit richlandcarrousel.com/ or call 419-522-4223.
From a past edition of OhioTraveler.com
The Toledo Zoo made it to Mexico. Well, at least nine tagged monarch butterflies released by the Zoo’s conservation initiative, Wild Toledo, completed the 2,200+ mile migration to their historic overwintering grounds south of the border. Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus plexippus) are easily recognizable because of their orange and black coloring. However, monarchs are also a declining species because of loss of habitat and food sources, making this recorded migration a true success for biologists and butterflies alike.
Nine Toledo Zoo tags were recovered in El Rosario Butterfly Reserve, located inAngangueo, Michoacan, Mexico. Data shows that the recovered tags were from seven males and two females that were released on Zoo grounds between August 30 and September 7, 2015. The recovery of these tags means that at least those nine butterflies completed the entire journey from Toledo to Mexico, which if one were to walk the believed route would take almost 700 hours! However, as Wild Toledo coordinator, Ryan Walsh, hypothesizes, finding these nine tags together in an area probably means that the monarchs stayed together throughout the migration and that a lot more actually made it but were not recovered. He went on to point out that it is still early in the typical recovery period, so more tags may be located.
Tag recovery rates vary year to year but are typically quite low due to the incredible density of monarchs in the protected land and the small groups of locals and eco-tourists collecting the tags. Reports and pictures from the area show huge Cozumel fir trees completely covered in butterflies with branches drooping from the weight of the humongous monarch colonies. In 2014, the Zoo released 280 tagged monarchs and no tags were recovered. In 2015, 760 monarchs were tagged and released, meaning 1 in approximately every 85 butterflies were recovered. That is an incredible increase from when tagging began and only 1 in 1,000 tags were recovered! Walsh chuckled: “We’re not sure exactly why we had such a good year, but that doesn’t take away from how incredible it is to have these tags recovered.”
All monarch butterflies reared at the Toledo Zoo are raised from eggs collected in the native prairies on Zoo grounds and feed on milkweed grown from seed inside the greenhouse to control the possibility of disease. Before release each monarch butterfly is tagged by hand with a small sticker indicating an individual identification number from Monarch Watch, a dedicated group of students, scientists and citizen scientists committed to the conservation of the iconic butterfly species. Each tag displays three letters and three numbers along with an email address to report the finding. Each identification number corresponds to a record entered into the database that contains information such as sex, captive or wild-reared and the release date. Once recovered, tag numbers are recorded and the results released online so contributing institutions may track their own progress.
The increase in monarchs being reared in the greenhouse at the Toledo Zoo is thanks in part to the Zoo PAL (Proud Animal Lover) sponsorship program that enables the public to symbolically adopt a monarch for a nominal fee. Walsh assures that he is emailing the “monarch parents” from 2015 to relay this exciting news and that the Zoo is already preparing for another release this summer. “We will definitely do it again. We are very excited and encouraged by our results and can’t wait to continue sharing this incredible natural wonder!”
From a past edition of OhioTraveler.com
The International Women’s Air & Space Museum in Cleveland, Ohio is working to create a deck of playing cards that will feature 56 unique photos and educational facts about women in aerospace fields on the face of each card.
All 56 of the card faces may be sponsored by anyone who is interested. Individuals may want to put, “In Memory of,” or even “In Honor of,” on a card. The sponsorships vary in price from $85 to $250.
These limited edition playing cards will highlight the aerospace community as well as raise funds and bring awareness for the museum. The deck of cards will be sold in the gift shop and at various local events for $10 each.
To be a sponsor, call 216-623-1111 to reserve your card.
The museum offers free admission. Exhibit hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.,
seven days a week. Office, gift shop and research center hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The International Women’s Air & Space Museum is located in the terminal of Burke Lakefront Airport, only seconds from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Great Lakes Science Center.
The mission of IWASM is to preserve the history of women in aviation and space and to document their continuing contributions today and in the future. In 1986 the museum opened in Centerville, Ohio. IWASM was welcomed to the City of Cleveland, Ohio in 1998, where you will find their home at Burke Lakefront
Airport. Exhibits are in the lobby at Burke, as well as the west concourse, and are accessible seven days a week. For additional information please visit www.iwasm.org.
KD Guest Ranch is an authentic dude ranch experience awaiting in Adamsville, Ohio. City slickers east of the Mississippi can saddle up for the ride of their life on this western dude ranch …in Ohio!
KD Guest Ranch is Bringin’ The West to the East!
Bear’s Mill is to the art community what flour is to baking. This standout in Ohio tourism has been around since 1849. And it is still operational today. The four story grist mill stands strong with its weathered look wearing its history in plain sight. Its photogenic features, inside and out have drawn national attention. Its shop – the Mill Market – and special events have drawn fans from near and far. Visitors are treated with history, food and art. Exhibits rotate photography, paintings, pottery and sculpture. Tours and demonstrations are available year round. Complete information is available at http://bearsmill.org/.
This award recognizes Ohio’s standouts in tourism. More details about the award and all award recipients are at ohiotraveler.com/standouts-in-ohio-tourism/.