History & Family Fun Getaways

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Hidden Treasures Abound in Marion

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Marion, Ohio is the proud home of a president. Warren G. Harding, the 29th U.S. President, and his wife Florence lived in Marion before they made their way to the White House. Their home boasts 98 percent of the original Harding’s contents – something that not many other presidential homes can claim. A tour of the home should be included if you visit. The Harding Memorial, where the two are laid to rest, is just down the road and around the corner. A very impressive marble pillared structure awaits you. Visit www.Hardinghome.org.

The Harding Home has many special programs throughout the year.

The Marion community celebrates popcorn every year the first weekend after Labor Day with the annual Marion Popcorn Festival. The festival boasts popcorn, fun food, a parade, free top-notch main-stage entertainment, arts, food contest and more. More details can be found on the festival web site, www.popcornfestival.com.

Everyone loves popcorn! Did you know Marion is the self-proclaimed Popcorn Capital of the World? A Marionite named George Brown, whose family started a popcorn production company in Marion in the early 1930s, collected and refurbished popcorn poppers and wagons. After many years the collection outgrew  his home and eventually was moved and became the Wyandot Popcorn Museum housed “under the big top” in Heritage Hall. Visit www.marionhistory.com or www.wyandotpopcornmus.com.

This will be the tenth year the Marion Area Convention & Visitors Bureau will offer their award winning Marion’s Amazing Treasures playing card to discover “treasures” in Marion, Ohio. Each year the bingo-type playing card offers twenty-four different, little-known locations from around Marion County where visitors, and residents alike, are able to collect a validation after visiting the location. From learning about the Harding Home or stopping by Heritage Hall and the Wyandot Popcorn Museum, each block represents a treasure adventure prompting you to find out something about Marion’s history all the while having fun with family or friends. Your goal is to visit as many of the locations as possible by the end of summer. Gathering of validations starts Memorial Day weekend and can be collected throughout the summer, until Labor Day.  At the manned locations you will get a logoed validation sticker, and at the unmanned locations you will find an icon or word inside the informational green box to transpose in the appropriate block. At the end of summer, return your card to the visitors’ bureau before the deadline to be included in the drawing for prizes. Start this adventure with a visit to the Marion Area Convention & Visitors Bureau web site at www.VisitMarionOhio.com, looking under “things to do” for Marion’s Amazing Treasures then download the playing card.

You may want to start your day with the treasure adventure and then find a park to take a break with a picnic lunch. Consider adding playtime at Project Playground in McKinley Park or conquer the dual sides or lazy river at Lincoln Park Family Aquatic Center.

Leave time to also take in a lazy afternoon of miniature golf at Paradise Park (www.Golfparadisepark.com) at 2777 Marion-Waldo Rd. or wild arcade and glow bowling at Bluefusion Entertainment (www.bluefusionfun.com) at 1340 Mt. Vernon Ave. There again you might want to gather up the Frisbees and try your hand at disc golf at any one of the many disc golf setups throughout Marion County. Yet another famiy-fun option might be to run or walk off some of that pent-up energy at the Marion Tallgrass Trail that now has three miles of paved trail.

Maybe you would rather put some wheels on your feet to get the wind through your hair. Zoomers Skate Club offers the perfect place to circle the hardwood.

Another new search-and-hunt adventure that knows no age is geocaching. This adventure is an inexpensive way to get out into nature, spend time with family or friends and exercise your mind. The growing sport has taken root in Marion with the release of the Marion County GeoTrail. The Marion trail consists of 22 caches and a bonus cache. Those who are able to complete 17 of the 22 caches can also claim a coveted geo coin (while supply lasts). The “game” can be played by using a handheld GPS device or a smart phone with a geocaching app allowing you to find the caches via GPS coordinates. Once found you then log your name and finds at geocaching.com where literally millions of coordinates of caches from all over the world can be located. You can download a Marion County Geo playing card from the Marion Area CVB web site, www.VisitMarionOhio.com and look under “things to do.”

Our atmospheric Marion Palace Theatre is a great place to take in a theatre production or a second run movie. For complete season details and weekend movie dates visit their web site www.marionpalace.org.

The Marion community has many unique attractions that make for an adventure for the whole family so start your overnight stay at www.VisitMarionOhio.com.