June 2007 Issue
Family trips can encompass fun, adventure and a little learning as well.
It's that time of the year: School's out, your home is turning into a depot for the neighborhood kids, and a much-needed vacation is calling - make that yelling - your name. Before you book a flight to a distant resort, check out the following reasons to plan your next family getaway in Ohio. From hiking through scenic trails in the northeast part of the state to climbing aboard a steamboat in the southwest, consider this your family-fun travel guide for the summer. > > > >
Take a trip to Stark County in northeast Ohio and you'll discover a wide range of history-rich destinations and experiences that your entire family will remember for years to come.
First stop, the Ohio & Erie Canalway. Learn how this waterway put Ohio on the map during the country's westward expansion in the 1820s and discover the communities that thrived during this time. Take a round-trip ride June 23–24 on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for "A Canton Overnight Excursion," making stops from Canton to Akron at places such as the Pro Football Hall of Fame, First Ladies National Historic Site, Canton Classic Car Museum and more. Whether your mode of transportation happens to be by foot, bike, vehicle or train, you'll find an impressive selection of museums, historical sites, shops and recreational opportunities along the Canalway.
Next stop, the William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum. Put your child's history knowledge to the test in Canton, the birthplace of one of eight U.S. presidents who called Ohio home. Tour the collection of artifacts at the museum and visit the tomb of the 25th president, then visit the library, where you can read about McKinley's life and the events leading up to his assassination. You won't want to miss the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the McKinley National Memorial June 27–July 1, featuring 100 consecutive hours of activities and entertainment for all ages.
In Trumbull County at the northeastern edge of the state, you'll find an old-fashioned tent featuring "Ohio Chautauqua" programs in downtown
Warren, June 26–30. The Ohio Humanities Council sponsors these evenings of performances featuring characters from history such as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White, Tuskegee airman Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., and more. Each evening begins with music at 6:30 p.m., followed by the performances at 7:30 p.m.
Beginning on June 26, the Warren Community Amphitheatre will showcase a "Spectacle of Speed," a public art display consisting of 36 different Packard automobile Goddess of Speed ornaments. From July 4 to September 18, the ornaments will be on display at various locations throughout Trumbull County; 25 of the statues will be available for auction on October 27.
Get a closer look at this Packard trademark at the National Packard Museum in Warren. Motor enthusiasts will appreciate the impressive collection of cars, ranging from the 1903 Packard two-passenger runabout to the 1958 Packard Hawk. July 20–22 offers you a chance to attend the "18th Annual Car Show Weekend," featuring antique Packard automobiles, driving tours, art and photography shows and live entertainment. This year's show features an all-new automobile restoration workshop, where your family can learn about such car restoration techniques as painting, motor rebuilding and detailing. Live music by the W.D. Packard Band, Packard Dixieland Band and the Stephen Foster Chorus fuel this event all day long.
If a mix of history and live entertainment is what your family seeks, then make reservations for Schoen-brunn Amphitheatre's Trumpet in the Land in New Philadelphia. This outdoor historical production, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Green, recalls the time when Ohio was the western frontier of America. Learn about Schoenbrunn, Ohio's oldest settlement, founded in 1772. More than 70 professional actors, singers and dancers bring this extraordinary production to life.
Take a trip to Licking County in central Ohio, where your family will discover an archaeological site at the Flint Ridge State Memorial. Years ago, Indians traveled to this central Ohio location to find the flint stone, which was used for making tools, lighting fires and carving weapons. At the museum, your family will learn the geological characteristics of the flint stone, while outside you can explore the flint pits and nature trails.
The Ohio Historical Center in Columbus focuses on the history and heritage of the Buckeye State. The center's archives contain a wealth of information, including a genealogical records section where you can find and trace your ancestry.
Does the thought of walking though a snake's mouth sound intriguing? In southwest Ohio's Adams County you can do just that at the ancient Serpent Mound. Considered to be the largest serpent effigy in the United States, the mound is about a quarter of a mile in length and was created by Native Americans between 800 B.C. and 100 A.D. Footpaths allow visitors to inspect the ancient site up close, while a nearby museum contains exhibits about the mound as well as the geology of the area.
If space and science fire your imagination, hop in the car and head to Auglaize County in northwest Ohio, where the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum documents the career of the renowned Wapakoneta native as well as Ohio's notable contributions to aviation. See a moon rock, inspect the 1965 Gemini VIII spacecraft or experience what it's like to land a moon rover.
Check out one of the largest collections of Indian artifacts in Ohio at the Fort Recovery State Museum in Mercer County on the western border of the state. Retrace the movements of General "Mad" Anthony Wayne's troops and the Native Americans they fought in one of the most dramatic battles in American history. View the 103-foot monument that pays homage to the more than 900 soldiers who died, and an oak tree that serves as a memorial to the Native Americans who perished in the battle. A log home, blacksmith shop and historical walkway provide additional learning opportunities at this family-oriented exhibit.
Check out the wheels at the Bicycle Museum of America in New Bremen, where more than 250 bicycles show the history of cycling. From the wood-wheeled 1816 Draissine model to the 1980 BMX GT Performer dirt bike, this museum's collection is an impressive testament to the evolution of two-wheeled vehicles.
******ARTS & CULTURE******
The arts thrive in Cincinnati, a city that Esquire magazine lists as one of the "Top 10 Cities That Rock."
With more than 60,000 works in its permanent collection and a wide range of art programs and activities, the Cincinnati Art Museum is the perfect destination for a family getaway. The "Mary Baskett Collection" exhibit asks, "Where Would You Wear That?" June 2–August 12. More than 15 avant-garde fashions from a selection of contemporary Japanese designers will inspire a new generation of "Project Runway" devotees.
June 23 is your chance to see an 80-foot-long mural portraying "A New Yorker's View of Cincinnati," on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum through September 23. Created by Saul Steinberg for the Skyline Room at the Terrace Hotel, you'll notice famous landmarks such as the Roebling Suspension Bridge. Also, gaze at Steinberg's "Illuminations" collection, featuring more than 100 drawings, collages, and sculptures, many of which were displayed in the pages of The New Yorker. Don't miss "Family ARTventures, 45-minute interactive tours filled with family fun each Saturday.
The kids will rave about the Duke Energy Children's Museum at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, named one of the top 25 children's museums in the world. Youngsters can explore eight different educational exhibits, including an "Infant Garden" and a "Toddler Farmyard." More crawling and climbing opportunities can be had in "The Woods," featuring hollow-log structures, rope bridges, climbing walls and a tree house overlooking a waterfall that empties into a river filled with live creatures.
On June 30, the Museum Center premieres "Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship." This exhibit takes you on a journey through a vessel that was once used as a slave ship, only to later be taken over by fiendish pirates. Your children will leave with plenty of stories to tell their friends once they return home.
Discover the significance of the Ohio River and its shoreline communities in the fight against slavery at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on Cincinnati's riverfront. One of eight permanent exhibits features the film "Brothers of the Brotherland," based on the stories of John Parker and the Rev. John Rankin, residents of Ripley, Ohio, who aided runaway slaves.
On July 28, your family is invited to the Freedom Center's "Freedom Fest," an all-day event with live entertainment, activities, special tours and plenty of Cincinnati foods.
While you're in the tri-state area, make sure to stop at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, and just across the river, the Newport Aquarium, where you can walk through a glass tunnel with sharks swimming around you.
E is for Explore
Summer spent with the family wouldn't be complete without a trip to COSI in Columbus. Since 1964, COSI has provided a plethora of educational exhibits and entertaining activities for children, adolescents and adults.
COSI's summer season kicks off on June 9 with "Animation," an interactive exhibit that encourages visitors to explore animation techniques from concept (including storyboarding and character design) to the finished project (filming and sound). The hands-on exhibit, sponsored by the Cartoon Network, gives visitors the chance to star in their own full-body animation and tour the Cartoon Museum, which showcases characters created by favorite animators. "Animation" continues through September 3.
Ever wonder what it's like to sit behind the wheel of a bulldozer? COSI gives you that opportunity during "The Science of Big Machines," an interactive outdoor exhibit in downtown Columbus July 7–15. Massive bulldozers, dump trucks and backhoes provide a vivid lesson in the science and technology of construction, and participants receive their very own plastic hardhats to take home with them.
July 25–29, COSI presents "Farm Days: Little Seeds, Big Tractors," focusing on the foundations of farming with activities including a pedal-tractor obstacle course and seed-growing projects.
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, located in the city's University Circle cultural center, has packed its summer schedule with family-oriented activities. Make sure to visit the museum's most recent permanent exhibit, "Meet Jane, Juvenile Tyrannosaur," a life-sized skeletal cast of a miniature T.rex that roamed the land during the late Cretaceous period. Through September 9, kids ages 3–8 can interact with a variety of critters during "Animal Secrets," a hands-on experience that encourages them to discover natural habitats — including a stream, woods, meadow and cave — and the species that exist within those environments. Children also can play the role of a naturalist in a canvas tent equipped with real field equipment and tools.
And for the Indiana Jones wannabe looking for adventure, "GPS Fun Day" on June 23 provides a search for buried treasure in the Natural History Museum's natural areas in Ashtabula County.
On June 9, "Parade the Circle" with your family for entertainment, food and family-friendly activities provided by more than 20 cultural institutions on Wade Oval in Cleveland's University Circle. The fun begins at 10 a.m., followed by the parade at noon.
The Call of Nature
Bask in the summer rays shining across the beautiful state parks of Clermont County. Centrally located between Cincinnati, Portsmouth and Lexington, Kentucky, the 39-acre Chilo Park features a riverwalk that provides prime views of the Ohio River, as well as picnic areas and a new steamboat-themed playground. The park's visitor center and museum, accessible from the Ohio River Scenic Byway, lets you experience "Working and Living with the Ohio River," with hands-on activities and an observation deck.
See how many beavers, deer and bald eagles your family can spot in the park's one-and-a-half-acre wetland or in the adjacent Crooked Run Nature Preserve, one of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' top "watchable wildlife" areas in the state. For an even closer look, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens will bring a bald eagle to the park on June 23 during "Eagles up Close."
If a park filled with fitness and recreational opportunities piques your interest, East Fork State Park is the spot for you. Located 25 miles east of Cincinnati, East Fork offers hiking on the 32-mile Steven Newman Worldwalker Premier Trail, boating on the 2,160-acre East Fork Lake, swimming and camping. On August 5, watch athletes run, bike and swim during the "East Fork Triathlon and Duathlon," beginning at 8 a.m.
In northeast Ohio, nature- and horticulture-loving families flock to Holden Arboretum in Lake County. Before strolling through the gardens or setting off on one of 12 walking and hiking trails, make sure to stop by the Visitor Center and pick up informational brochures, meet the knowledgeable staff and view art show exhibits and interactive displays.
Beginning on Father's Day, June 17, the arboretum presents "Holden Express: A Garden Railroad," featuring a 2,000-linear-foot railroad track within a garden setting, complete with replicas of area bridges and barns placed along the way.
Stretch your legs on one of the hiking and walking trails that cover more than 20 miles of natural areas and gardens. The trails range from easy to rugged. Take a relaxing walk with your family along the half-mile Crabapple Trail, or opt for a real workout on the 1.9-mile Pierson Creek Loop while enjoying the collection of wildflowers and ferns. For a more relaxing tour, Holden provides a one-hour guided tram trip.
Give Dad a break at the Longaberger Golf Club, named one of the top 100 courses in the U.S. by both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest.
Located just 10 minutes from the Longaberger Homestead, this par-72 course features 850 rolling acres of lush grass with bent grass tees, greens and fairways. The 25-acre practice facility will help you get to the top of your game with target greens, two practice greens and a short game area.
Refuel with a juicy New York strip steak, filet mignon or prosciutto-wrapped salmon at the 60,000-square-foot clubhouse, complete with plenty of 18th-hole views. And just in time for Father's Day, the Longaberger Golf Shop provides a variety of gear so Dad can tee off in style.
If you decide to stay a bit longer, the 117-room Place on the Square, located just nine miles west of the course, offers a variety of family accommodations and packages to ensure you have a restful stay. And while you're in the area, don't forget to stop by the Longaberger Homestead, the beloved basket company's compound, where visitors can do everything from tour the basket-making facility and peruse the factory store, to fill up on tasty fare at one of the property's many restaurants. Upcoming events include the Basketfest Reunion June 8–10, and the Independence Day Celebration on June 30.
Whether you're drawn to the serene setting of the great outdoors, the educational entertainment of a museum or the hands-on fun of an arts-and-crafts event, there's no shortage of ways to have a great family trip in the Buckeye State.