October 2006 Issue
Cruise in to the Capital City
Experience Columbus Days offers entertaining options for all ages.
Whether you have to hop in the car and drive a few hours or just step outside your front door and take a left, thereâ€™s no better time to experience what Columbus has to offer. This time each year, Ohioâ€™s capital city is charged with excitement as the Ohio State football season is in full swing and the Columbus Blue Jackets are just beginning their campaign on the ice. But sporting events are only part of the entertainment equation for fall in central Ohio. From festivals and fantastic restaurants to a thriving arts scene and oodles of activities for the kids, Columbus is prepared to pleasantly surprise even those who think they already know all about the city.
If you need a bit more incentive to explore Columbus or just want to save a few bucks, mark your calendar for Oct. 6â€“9. For many, thatâ€™s the holiday weekend set aside each year to celebrate the exploits of the explorer for whom the capital city is named. Itâ€™s also Experience Columbus Days, your 96-hour window to pay half-price admission to some of the cityâ€™s most popular attractions. All you need is a free Experience Columbus Days card, which you can find in the pages of this magazine and online at www.experiencecolumbus.com.
When Dale Chihuly brought his cool and colorful glass creations to the Franklin Park Conservatory in 2003, the display drew record crowds and even prompted the botanical gardenâ€™s nonprofit support group, Friends of the Conservatory, to buy the entire 3,000-piece collection.While a handful of those pieces remain on permanent display, Chihuly has returned to the conservatory with his latest series of work, Fiori, which means â€œflowersâ€ in Italian.
Conservatory officials say Chihulyâ€™s newest set of hand-blown glass designs will encompass a 365-square-foot installation set against the backdrop of the facilityâ€™s magnificent floral display. Chihulyâ€™s newest pieces represent the artistâ€™s interpretation of what a garden would look like if it were made entirely of glass. To add to the beauty, the conservatory is reinstalling Chihulyâ€™s red and yellow â€œSunset Tower,â€ a majestic piece from his earlier collection. Youâ€™ll be sorry if you donâ€™t bring your camera to this show, which begins Oct. 7 and runs through Feb. 25.
The Franklin Park Conservatory (800/214-PARK), 1777 E. Broad St., is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.â€“5 p.m., and Wednesdays, 10 a.m.â€“8 p.m. Itâ€™s also open holiday Mondays, including Columbus Day, 10 a.m.â€“5 p.m. Regular admission rates are $6.50 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and $3.50 for children ages 2â€“12.
After youâ€™ve tiptoed through the glass tulips, head a few blocks west to the Columbus Museum of Art. There, you can view African-American artist Kehinde Wileyâ€™s take on Old Master works from the museumâ€™s collection. Drawing on those classic paintings as inspiration, Wileyâ€™s portraits address societal stereotypes of race, masculinity and class while featuring people in Columbus as his subjects. â€œKehinde Wiley: Columbusâ€ runs now through Jan. 7.
The Columbus Museum of Art (614/221-6801), 480 E. Broad St., is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.â€“5:30 p.m., but remains open until 8:30 p.m. every Thursday. Regular admission is $6 for adults and $4 for seniors and students. However, admission is always free for all ages on Sundays. Parking is $3.
It seems like every time you see Jack Hanna on TV, he is in a remote corner of the world looking at some rare species of animal. If you donâ€™t have the means to travel the world like Jungle Jack, you can head to Columbus to check out the zoo and the animals that made him famous.
New this year to the Columbus Zoo is Asia Quest, a tribute to the creatures of the massive continent on the opposite side of the earth. Your journey through the exhibit begins in the tropical rain forests of southeast Asia, home of the sun bear. Contrary to its name, the sun bear is a nocturnal creature, so youâ€™ll likely catch it snoozing as you pass by. The red panda is the next animal to greet you as the path takes you on a northwesterly jaunt across the continent. Youâ€™ll also encounter colorful pheasants, antelope-like markhor and the owl-eyed Pallasâ€™ cat along the way. The highlights of the exhibit, however, are the massive Siberian tigers with their beautiful striped coats.
The zoo (614/645-3550), 9990 Riverside Dr., is open daily, 9 a.m.â€“5 p.m. Regular admission is $10 for adults, $6 for children 2â€“11 and $8 for seniors age 60 and older. There is no charge for children younger than 2. Parking is $3.
If you want to continue your safari, pack the family in the minivan and head about an hour southeast of Columbus to Cumberland, Ohio. Thatâ€™s where youâ€™ll find the Wilds, a 10,000-acre nature preserve inhabited by exotic animals. Giraffes, zebras, rhinos and other creatures roam the rolling hills right before your eyes as you ride along the 7-mile guided tour.
The Wilds (740/638-5030), 14000 International Rd., Cumberland, is open weekends only through the end of October, 10 a.m.â€“ 4 p.m. Regular admission for the guided safari tour is $14 for adults, $13 for seniors, $9 for children 4â€“12 and free for children younger than 4. Parking is $2. More elaborate and extensive tours are available for an additional charge.
Columbusâ€™ long-time public media outlet, WOSU, is going a little more public. Just in time for Experience Columbus Days, WOSU has opened an interactive digital radio and television studio in the Center of Science and Industry (COSI).
WOSU@COSI is a working 12,000-square-foot TV and radio studio where you can witness programs being produced as you meander through the open floor plan. You and the kids also can learn, through hands-on exercises, how video and audio are edited using modern digital methods â€” gone are those bulky tapes and spools of film.
Meanwhile, COSIâ€™s Extreme Screen movie theater is featuring the films â€œFighter Pilot: Operation Red Flagâ€ and â€œCowboys: Ride Around the World.â€ In â€œFighter Pilot,â€ you take a virtual seat in the cockpit alongside the captain for an up-close view of intense combat training. And, in â€œCowboys,â€ you learn about the evolution of the horse-and-cattle culture from its beginnings in Spain to the more familiar Texas cowboy. Along the way, the film makes stops in Morocco, Mexico, Argentina, Canada and other wide-open spaces.
COSI (614/228-COSI), 333 W. Broad St., is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.â€“5 p.m., and Sundays, 12â€“6 p.m. Regular admission is $12.50 for adults, $10.50 for seniors and $7.50 for children. Extra charges apply for the movies and some special exhibits.
After a day of learning at COSI, you can let the brood run wild at one of the two Magic Mountain Fun Centers in Columbus. There, the kids can strap themselves into bumper cars and go-karts and take off on the track or climb through a maze of tunnels and dive into piles of plastic balls in the playground. Magic Mountain (614/844-4FUN) is located at 5890 Scarborough Blvd. in east Columbus and 8350 Lyra Dr. near the Polaris Fashion Place, a sprawling shopping mall on the north side of town. Rates and hours vary, so call ahead.
Itâ€™s that time of year again â€” time to find something that will scare you silly. Fortunately, Columbus has a few entertainment options that aim to do just that.
With Halloween approaching, the Contemporary American Theatre Company (CATCO) is staging a compilation of world-premiere plays by Ohio playwrights with â€œGhost Light: The Shorts Festival 2006.â€ Every two years, CATCO invites local playwrights to submit their work based on a particular setting established by the theater company. This year, the shorts are all set in a haunted old Columbus theater. CATCO officials caution that some of the plays contain adult language, so you may want to leave the children at home.
â€œGhost Lightâ€ runs Oct. 6â€“29. Performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday during the Experience Columbus Days weekend. The plays are performed at the Studio One Theater in the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, 77 S. High St. Call the CATCO box office at 614/469-0939 for ticket information.
For a different twist on the traditional haunted house, head to Cooper Stadium on the near west side of Columbus. Every October, the summer home of minor-league baseballâ€™s Columbus Clippers is transformed into Terror Park, where bats of the baseball variety are replaced by the vampire kind. Located at 115 W. Mound St., the park is open every Friday and Saturday in October, 7 p.m.â€“midnight, and the last two Thursdays of the month, 7â€“10 p.m. Regular admission is $13 and parking is $3.
Looking for something more silly than scary? If so, the sketch comedy of Shadowbox Cabaret is your ticket. â€œFreak Show 2006â€ is Shadowboxâ€™s salute to Halloween, with music and skits poking fun at ghosts, ghouls and other symbols of the season. Shadowbox is located in Easton Town Center, a mammoth shopping and entertainment complex on the east side of Columbus. For ticket information and show times, call 614/416-7625.
Six years after they first hit the ice in Columbus, the National Hockey Leagueâ€™s Blue Jackets have their eyes on their first Stanley Cup as they begin the 2006-07 campaign. While they havenâ€™t cracked the post-season yet in their brief history, thereâ€™s always hope and optimism in October. With young stars Rick Nash, Rostislav Klesla and Nikolai Zherdev teamed with one of hockeyâ€™s all-time greats, Sergei Fedorov, who can blame Columbus for being excited?
The Blue Jackets play their home games in the beautiful Nationwide Arena, which is the centerpiece of a bustling dining and entertainment district in the northwest corner of the cityâ€™s downtown. They host the Phoenix Coyotes on Columbus Day, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. Regular ticket prices range from $10 to $150. For more information, call the Blue Jackets at 614/246-3350.
Farther north up St. Rte. 315 at the Value City Arena, 555 Borror Dr., youâ€™ll find the Ohio State Buckeye hockey team battling the University of Guelph (from Ontario, Canada) at 7:05 p.m. Oct. 6.
While your Experience Columbus Days card wonâ€™t get you a discount for the Oct. 7 Buckeye football game against Bowling Green, it will work for the hockey game and several other contests, including the menâ€™s soccer game against Wisconsin and the womenâ€™s volleyball tilt with Minnesota. Both of those games are slated for 2 p.m. Oct. 8. Call 800/GO-BUCKS for ticket and venue information for any Ohio State sporting event.
If motorsports are your thing, head just southeast of Columbus to Pickerington, home of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. There, youâ€™ll find â€œMotocross America,â€ an 8,000-square-foot exhibit featuring more than 60 bikes that tell the history of cross-country motorcycle racing from its beginnings in the 1920s to today.
During Experience Columbus Days weekend, the hall of fame will be celebrating the induction of its 2006 class of new members. As a result, some of the most legendary names in the motorcycle world will be on hand. Regular admission to the museum, 13515 Yarmouth Dr. in Pickerington, is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children 11 and younger. Hours are 9 a.m.â€“5 p.m. every day. Call 614/856-2222 for more information.