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102 Days + Nights: July 2017

Take in the spectacle of Red, White & Boom, enjoy a summer cruise on the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway and more. Read

102 DAYS + NIGHTS: MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUGUST | SEPTEMBER

7/1: 
Love, money, prejudice and social injustice clash in “The Merchant of Venice.” The Bard’s comedy is the star of this year’s open-air Shakespeare by the River Festival at Marietta’s Muskingum Park. June 29–July 9, peoplesbanktheatre.com

7/2: Prepare yourself for a Berry Blast. This festival at Hidden Valley Fruit Farm in Lebanon welcomes the season’s sweetest treats with train rides, hayrides, homemade desserts and a whole lot of berries. July 1–2, hiddenvalleyfruitfarm.com

7/3: A crescendo of fireworks at Ohio’s largest annual display is certainly the icing on America’s birthday cake. But Columbus’ Red, White & Boom also kicks off the Fourth of July holiday with a parade, children’s inflatables and activities, great food and multiple stages of entertainment. redwhiteandboom.org

7/4:Celebrate the stars and stripes with the Cleveland Orchestra’s “A Salute to America.” The concert at Cuyahoga Falls’ Blossom Music Center features patriotic marches, Broadway favorites and a salute to the Armed Forces, capped off with the “1812” Overture and an impressive fireworks finale. July 3–4, clevelandorchestra.com

7/5Put down the textbook and head to Chillicothe to remember WWI during Camp Sherman Days. Stroll through a living history encampment, watch live fire demonstrations, shop at an antiques show and explore historical exhibits. July 1–9, campshermandays.com

7/6: Since 1904, Guernsey County has embraced the long days of summer at the Ohio Hills Folk Festival. Enjoy entertainment, a car show, flea market, a country store, amusement rides, games, fireworks and four parades, including Friday’s Big Mile Long Parade. June 6–8, 740/679-2954

7/7: Racks of ribs, barbecue, polka music, wildlife presentations and fishing are all part of Farmfest: Ribs, Brews & Music at Lake Farmpark, but we’re most looking forward to the inaugural Farmpark Chicken Run and costume contest. July 7–8, lakemetroparks.com

7/8: Rising 85 feet, the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse began illuminating the entrance to the Toledo Shipping Channel in 1904. It continues to flash off the shore of Maumee Bay State Park, home of the Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival. July 8–9, toledolighthousefestival.com

7/9Park yourself at British Car Day at Fairfield’s Harbin Park. Browse more than 100 new and vintage British vehicles while enjoying a DJ, door prizes, food and drinks. gettothebc.com

7/10Fuel up, roll down the windows and hit the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway. This 26.4-mile route winds through the scenic Hocking State Forest, where you can park and take a hike to discover waterfalls, caves and other natural gems. dot.state.oh.us/ohiobyways

7/11: Walk on the wild side with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Get personal at Animal Encounter Village, high-five a sea star at Tide Pool Touch, lose yourself in Lorikeet Garden, feed giraffes at Heart of Africa and spend time with countless other zoo creatures. columbuszoo.org

7/12Help wish the Cleveland Metroparks a happy centennial celebration by visiting one — or all — of its 18 reservations. The combined more than 23,000 acres includes over 300 miles of trails, eight lakefront parks and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. clevelandmetroparks.com

7/13Follow the yellow brick road with Dorothy and her friends when Chillicothe Civic Theatre takes the stage at the Majestic Theatre to belt out “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and other tunes from the classic film “The Wizard of Oz.” cctchillicothe.com

7/14Swap the studio for an open-air excursion. Painters flock to Lakeside for the Plein Air Art Festival, where you can watch the artists at work, take home something to hang on your wall or even encourage your little ones to pick up a brush. July 14–16, lakesideohio.com

7/15Make waves at the Crazy Cardboard Boat Regatta, a wacky race featuring vessels crafted entirely out of cardboard, tape and glue. Work with a team to test your engineering skills or watch the competition from the shore at Butler County’s Voice of America MetroPark. gettothebc.com

7/16Show your Lake Erie love during Island Fest. The Kelleys Island festival offers family entertainment, a parade, crafters, games and food, plus nighttime street dances and fireworks once the sun goes down. July 14–16, kelleysislandchamber.com

7/17Kings Island adds another wooden roller coaster to its collection with Mystic Timbers. Whip through an extreme S-turn aboard this coaster that reaches a height of 109 feet and barrels along its 3,265 feet of track at speeds up to 53 miles per hour. visitkingsisland.com

7/18Discover the secrets of our inland seas by browsing 300 genuine artifacts and 40 hands-on interactive exhibits at Toledo’s National Museum of the Great Lakes. Then, take a tour of the Col. James M. Schoonmaker museum ship. inlandseas.org

7/19: The Wilds brings the safari to central Ohio, with endangered species encounters, bird-watching and glamour camping in yurts. Read more below. 

7/20: The Eagle has landed. Neil Armstrong uttered these words 48 years ago, and the Ohio native’s first lunar steps are honored with food, entertainment and exhibits during Wapakoneta’s Summer Moon Festival. July 19–23, wapakoneta.com

7/21: The Lancaster ArtWalk features works on display throughout downtown businesses to coincide with the Lancaster Festival. You can meet the artists on this day, but visitors can catch the collection on display through July 29. destinationdowntownlancaster.com

7/22Float on over to Middletown to watch more than 30 hot air balloons take flight during the Ohio Challenge. A classic car show, carnival rides, music, arts and craft vendors and the Saturday night balloon glow provide additional entertainment for those of us who prefer to keep our feet firmly planted on solid ground. July 21–22, ohiochallenge.com

7/23Journey to an enchanted forest, where comedy ensues as the Bard’s characters are intertwined in a web of love and mischief. Shakespeare at Sugarloaf Amphitheatre presents “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” tecumsehdrama.com

7/24Spy on the winged wonders in the Bird Watching Garden at The Dawes Arboretum visitor center before heading out to hike through the woodlands, relax in the Japanese garden or take in the views from the hilltop at Glacier Ridge. dawesarb.org

7/25It’s time for mistletoe and holly! Pay a visit to the North Pole during “Christmas in July” at Entertrainment Junction in West Chester. Children can slide and climb in the play area, but even the young at heart will marvel at what’s billed as the world’s largest indoor train display. entertrainmentjunction.com

7/26: Who will bake a blue-ribbon pie and what shape will the annual butter sculpture take? The Ohio State Fair returns with all the midway fare, carnival games, classic rides, music, agriculture exhibits and daily attractions we’ve come to love at this summertime favorite. July 26–Aug. 6, ohiostatefair.com

7/27: Take a break from the summer heat as the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio in Lancaster creates a moment to reflect with “Three Voices: Conversations on Life and Conflict,” an exhibition featuring the works of three Ohio artists. May 20–Aug. 13, decartsohio.org

7/28Here’s your chance to be a real party animal this summer. The Toledo Zoo’s Rock ’n’ Roar invites adults to dance the night away to a mix of pop, R&B, jazz, rock and country. toledozoo.org/rock-n-roar

7/29Smokin’ blues and sizzlin’ hot ribs await you at the Canal Winchester Blues and Ribfest. Enjoy two days of entertainment ranging from full bands to traditional acoustic performances, and be sure to savor some of the event’s sauce-covered stars. July 28–29, bluesandribfest.com

7/30“Little Miss Sure Shot” is the star of the weekend at the Annie Oakley Festival in Greenville, but you can test your own skills in the fast-draw competition and marksmanship contest. Enjoy a car show, antiques market, a visit to Annie Oakley’s grave and the Saturday parade through downtown. July 28–30, annieoakleyfestival.org

7/31: Buzz Lightyear would feel right at home at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton. Explore the history of military aviation, from the early years of flight to space travel, and register for a behind-the-scenes tour to see even more aircraft, including the World War II bomber B-17F known as the Memphis Belle. nationalmuseum.af.mil

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Animal Kingdom

The Wilds offers a chance to observe animals from around the globe in a natural setting, whether you’re looking for an afternoon tour or an overnight stay. 

Get up close with animal species from North America, Asia and Africa without ever leaving Ohio by exploring The Wilds in rural southeast Ohio. “We have six different pastures and about 30 different species that we manage,” says Rick Dietz, vice president of The Wilds. “Many of them are endangered outside The Wilds.” Visitors can opt for safari tours, self-guided bird-watching and even overnight stays in yurts.  — Alexis De Leaver

On Safari: Take off across The Wilds’ 10,000 acres of grasslands, wetlands, woodlands and lakes. The 2 1/2-hour open-air safari tour offers glimpses of cheetahs, giraffes and even dholes — an Asian wild dog — in natural settings. “We are one of three facilities in the entire country that you can see dholes,” says Dietz. “What’s special about The Wilds is that each tour is different since the animals can move around freely. Guests have even seen animals being born.” 

Birds Eye: The diversity of bird species found at The Wilds attracts birders from throughout the state. But the sweet spot is the Birding Station at Jeffrey Point: an observation deck open year-round where visitors can spots grassland nesting birds such as Henslow’s sparrows and bobolinks. “We’ll also get the golden eagles that have been spotted out here,” says Dietz, “but the grassland nesting birds are the species that people come out to see.”

Camp Out: Nestled on a hillside overlooking the animal pastures, The Wilds’ Mongolian-style yurts at Nomad Ridge provide an overnight camping experience for adults only. Take in views from the observation deck and fall asleep to the sounds of animals. “[People] usually don’t know what to expect or have never heard of a yurt before,” Dietz says of the circular-shaped tent that is fully furnished and adorned with bamboo flooring and Egyptian cotton sheets. “It’s our version of glamping.”  

14000 International Rd., Cumberland 43732, 740/638-5030, thewilds.columbuszoo.org

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