October 2005 Issue
Bound for Columbus
Special events and special deals await visitors to the capital city over the Columbus Day weekend.
eople who return to Columbus after years away from the city are prone to say, "I can't believe how much this place has changed."
No longer does the old Ohio State Penitentiary stand vacant and decaying on the western edge of downtown. It's been replaced by a vibrant and growing entertainment district centered around the Nationwide Arena and the National Hockey League's Columbus Blue Jackets.
No longer does the old Central High School sit empty and off limits on the banks of the Scioto River. It once again welcomes students every day as the new home of the Center of Science and Industry (COSI).
No longer is the southern end of Ohio State University's campus area filled with shady bars and run-down apartments. High Street is now home to the South Campus Gateway, a shining jewel filled with brand-new dining, shopping and residential options.
Whether it's one of those new attractions or an old standby, such as the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the capital city seems to have something to satisfy all tastes. And there's no better time to take it all in than Oct. 7-10. The holiday weekend that celebrates the city's namesake has been designated Experience Columbus Days, when paid attractions in and around the town will offer half-price admission to those who show their Experience Columbus Days card. Look for your card on page 65 of this issue of Ohio Magazine.
Whether it's exotic animals, bumper cars or gadgets and gizmos, the Columbus area has something to offer kids of all ages.
At the Columbus Zoo, there's always the possibility of running into David Letterman's buddy and the zoo's director emeritus, Jack Hanna, in between stops marveling at the manatees and peering at the penguins. You can also take a ride round and round on the carousel, hop on the train through the zoo's North American region or drift along on a boat ride through the section devoted to the islands of Southeast Asia.
The Columbus Zoo (614/645-3550), 9990 Riverside Dr., is open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Regular admission prices are $9 for adults, $5 for children 2-11 and $7 for seniors age 60 and older. Children younger than 2 are admitted free.
If you're in the mood to see even more giraffes, rhinos and other creatures - not to mention the best fall foliage display in the state - take a trip about an hour southeast of Columbus to the Wilds. There, you'll find nearly 10,000 rolling acres of land preserved for wildlife to roam. Wilds spokeswoman Diane Carter says late fall is the perfect time to see raptors set up camp at the preserve to stalk their prey. She says the fierce hunters, and many other winged creatures, are best seen from the Wilds' birding station at Jeffrey Point.
The Wilds (740/638-5030), 14000 International Rd. in Cumberland, is open on weekends through the end of October, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. A guided safari tour through the open-range animal areas costs $14 for adults, $13 for seniors, $9 for children 4-12 and is free for children 4 and younger.
Located in the shadow of the downtown Columbus skyline, COSI offers more than ever to educate and entertain. In COSI's Big Science Park, you can watch your little one lift a 2,000-pound automobile ... with the help of giant lever, of course. Throughout COSI, pint-sized engineers can take apart and put together various gadgets, junior biologists can study what makes the human body work and little astronauts can explore the wonders of space.
A new traveling exhibit called RISK! opens at COSI on Oct. 8. RISK! is a hands-on exhibit that will dare you to, well, take risks. Have you ever wanted to lie down on a bed of nails? This is your chance.
COSI (888/819-COSI), located at 333 W. Broad St., is open Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sun., 12-6 p.m. Regular admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors 60 and older and $7 for children 2-12. Admission is free for children younger than 2.
Columbus is also home to two Magic Mountain Fun Centers, where you'll find everything from laser tag and bumper boats to a flight simulator and miniature golf. Magic Mountain (614/840-9600), which is located in east Columbus at 5890 Scarborough Blvd. and in north Columbus at 8350 Lyra Dr., is open daily, but hours vary.
From original plays to a sweet-sounding symphony, Columbus boasts a thriving performing-arts scene.
Long before the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon was an inexperienced California senator selected to be Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's running mate in the 1952 presidential election. "You're My Boy," a play written by former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Herb Brown, focuses on the topsy-turvy relationship between the golfing war hero and the young politician with high aspirations.
The world-premiere play, produced by the Contemporary American Theatre Company (CATCO), will be performed through Oct. 23 at the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, 77 S. High St. Two performances - Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. - are on the bill for Experience Columbus Days. Call CATCO at 614/469-0939 for ticket information.
If presidential politics isn't your thing, how about a comedic opera about execution and marriage in a small Japanese town? Of course, there's more to Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado" than that, but why spoil the surprises? Your chances to see this opera, which has been performed around the world for more than a century, will be Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. at the beautifully restored Southern Theatre, 21 E. Main St. For tickets, call the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) at 614/469-1045.
During that same weekend, world-renowned Irish pianist Barry Douglas will be in town to perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 and Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO). The performances will be at 8 p.m on Oct. 8 and 3 p.m. on Oct. 9 at the Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St., across from the Ohio Statehouse. Contact CSO at 614/228-8600 for ticket information.
To complete the evening with any of those downtown performances, be sure to make reservations at Mitchell's Steakhouse (614/621-BEEF), 45 N. Third St. From the service to the food, everything is done well. Of course, the steaks are only well done if you order them that way.
On its web site, the Wexner Center for the Performing Arts says the Fiery Furnaces perform songs that "resist conventional structure and range from poetically elliptical and airy to spiky and manically frenzied." To see how that actually manifests itself, you can catch the sister and brother act of Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger at Mershon Auditorium, 1871 N. High St., on Oct. 8 and 9. Call 614/292-3535 for show times and ticket information.
Another entertainment option is Shadowbox Cabaret, a local acting troupe with a mission to make you laugh. On Wednesdays through Saturdays through Nov. 19, Shadowbox will be presenting Freak Show '05 - a Halloween-themed performance featuring rock and R&B hits.
For Shadowbox show times and to make reservations, call 614/416-7625. Shadowbox is located in Easton Town Center, where you'll find enough shopping and dining options to keep you busy all day.
It's always fun to take a look back to see how we got to this point in time. Be it an image of a golden-haired golfer clad in plaid pants or a portrait created by the skillful brush strokes of a European master, Columbus is filled with places that share wonderful glimpses into our past.
At age 10, Jack Nicklaus shot a 51 on the first nine holes he ever played. For those of you who don't golf, that's a darn good score for any first-timer, regardless of age. That factoid is courtesy of the Jack Nicklaus Museum, which opened a few years back to celebrate the life and career of a hometown boy who made good ... really good.
Located at 2355 Olentangy River Rd. on The Ohio State University campus, the museum features memorabilia documenting all of the Golden Bear's achievements in golf as both an amateur and pro. The regular admission prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students with a valid ID. The Jack Nicklaus Museum (614/247-5959) is open Tues.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
While Nicklaus used his clubs to win the Masters, Pierre-Auguste Renoir wielded a paintbrush to create masterpieces. And, like many men, Renoir's favorite subject was women. Now through Jan. 8, 2005, the Columbus Museum of Art is celebrating the 19th-century French Impressionist's passion for the opposite sex with "Renoir's Women."
The Renoir collection features more than 30 paintings on loan from museums from throughout the world. According to museum officials, this is the first time a Renoir exhibition has focused solely on his paintings of women.
The Columbus Museum of Art (614/221-6801), 480 E. Broad St., is open Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Thur. 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Admission to the Renoir exhibit (which includes all galleries) is $10, students and seniors $8.
The southeast Columbus suburb of Pickerington is home to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, where the history of Harleys, Hondas and Indians takes center stage. And, during the weekend of Oct. 7-8, nine motorcycling greats will be inducted into the hall alongside Evel Knievel, who was enshrined in 1999, and other motorcycling legends.
Located at 13515 Yarmouth Dr. in Pickerington, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum (614/856-2222) is open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $3 for students 12-17 and $8 for seniors. Children 11 and younger are admitted free of charge.
Fire, fright and flora
Where can you experience fire on the river, ghosts beneath the bleachers and the sensuality of flowers all in the same weekend? Columbus, of course.
On Oct. 8 and 9, the section of the Scioto River that runs through downtown Columbus will be set ablaze from 9:45 p.m. to 2 a.m. as "WaterFire on the Mile" concludes its four-month run in the capital city. Designed by artist Barnaby Evans, the display features dozens of bonfires floating on the river's surface as a mix of world music is played. For the best views of the free attraction, grab some seats at the new North Bank Park, 311 W. Long St., and enjoy.
While the Columbus Clippers have vacated Cooper Stadium until next spring's baseball season, ghosts and goblins take their place throughout the month of October. In the true spirit of the Halloween season, the stadium transforms into Terror Park, a place where two-headed monsters and chainsaw-wielding maniacs roam.
The haunted ballpark, 115 W. Mound St., is open every Friday and Saturday in October from 7 p.m. to midnight and on the last three Thursdays of the month from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $13 (or $20 for a pass to the front of the line).
After getting scared out of your wits, maybe you should take some time to smell the roses. Or, at least, look at some really cool pictures of them. From Oct. 8 through the end of the year, photographer Joyce Tenneson's intimate and detailed images of colorful flowers set against black backdrops will be on display at the Franklin Park Conservatory. "Intimacy - The Sensual Essence of Flowers" features a collection of 30 portraits that provide close-up views of the shapely contours of the flowers' petals and stems.
Another special attraction at the conservatory is the "Garden Railways" exhibition, which runs through Oct. 30. Model trains wind through the conservatory's Perennial Courtyard over a landscape set up to mimic Ohio's terrain, from lakeside villages through farm country and down to tiny river towns.
The Franklin Park Conservatory (800/214-PARK), 1777 E. Broad St., is open Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Wed., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Regular admission is $6.50 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, $3.50 for children 2-12, and free for children younger than 2.
To learn about everything Columbus has to offer, and to obtain a free visitors pack, log on to www.experiencecolumbus.com or call 866/EXP-COLS.
Whether you surf the web or make the call, be sure to inquire about the special packages and rates area hotels are offering to visitors for the Oct. 7-10 weekend.
Additionally, several free attractions and events will be available throughout Columbus that weekend, including the North Market Harvest Festival on Oct. 8. Located in the city's historic Short North district, the festival will feature several local merchants and farmers selling their produce and other treats in a lively market setting.
After loading up on your fruits and veggies, follow the compass north, south, east or west to begin your Columbus adventure. No matter what direction you choose, you'll be rewarded with a great experience.