From wild to mild, a variety of outdoor adventures beckons in southeastern Ohio.
A TREE TOP TOUR
If “flying” at treetop levels appeals to the senses, then adventurous folks won’t want to miss the zip-lining options in the region.
Hocking Hills Canopy Tours — which was ranked as one of the top 10 zip-lining experiences in the world, according to news.discovery.com — offers a 2½ - to 3-hour excursion above the treetops of the Hocking Hills in Hocking County.
Or perhaps the SuperZip, more than a quarter-mile long, in which riders travel up to 50 mph, is more your speed.
And, starting later this month, a “Night Flight” option will be offered after sunset on Fridays and Saturdays.
Hocking Hills Canopy Tours was the first zip-lining center in the region, co-owner Dan Eckel said.
“We are always trying to improve and create new customer-friendly experiences for our clientele,” Eckel said.
(Prices vary. Information: www.hockinghillscanopytours.com)
Just south of Lancaster in Fairfield County, you’ll find Valley Zipline Tours, which bills itself as “one of the longest zip-line courses in the Midwest.”
Features include 11 zip lines, including three Monster Zips that span more than 1,000 feet, and “the Duel” — side-by-side zip lines.
(Prices vary, reservations are required; www.valleyziplinetours.com).
Or, for a different type of zip-line thrill, visit The Wilds, a wildlife-conservation area in Muskingum County near Cumberland, Ohio. The facility consists of almost 10,000 acres of reclaimed coal-mine land dedicated to a nature preserve and conservation park.
To observe the animals in their natural habitats, try a 2½-hour Zipline Safari guided tour above the preserve. Reservations can be made at the website, www.thewilds.org.
The cost is $84; children ages 10 to 15 can tour at half-price with an accompanying adult.
A LOFTY EXPERIENCE
Those who want to take summer adventures to a higher level might consider hot-air ballooning. Hocking Hills Hot Air Ballooning, based in Lancaster (Fairfield County), offers bird’s-eye views of the hills and dales of southeastern Ohio.
The flights usually launch from the Lancaster Fairgrounds and average from 45 to 60 minutes — but the total outing requires two to three hours. Reservations are suggested four to five days in advance.
The cost: $265 for one passenger, $450 for two, $185 for each additional person.
A TEST OF STRENGTH
For those who enjoy scaling a cliff, Earth, Water, Rock Outdoor Adventures in Hocking County offers both rappelling and rock-climbing opportunities.
Multiple options are offered, including the standard three-hour excursion and half- or full-day guided adventures. No experience is needed, and equipment and instructions are provided.
(For pricing and information: www.ewroutdoors.com/earthwaterrock.html).
For those who have a need for speed — and own an all-terrain-vehicle or off-highway motorcycle — there are many scenic places to ride in southern Ohio.
The Wayne National Forest winds its way through 12 counties and offers more than 300 miles of ATV trails in three designated areas.
“We believe our trails are popular because visitors like to come to enjoy the natural scenic beauty that southeast Ohio has to offer,” said Chad Wilberger, forest recreation program manager.
AN EQUESTRIAN FLAIR
For a slower pace, consider seeing the countryside by horseback.
Equestrian Ridge Farm in Vinton County offers excursions and trail rides as well as camping and a bunkhouse cabin. Horses and basic riding instructions are provided.
(Prices, starting at $50 a person, are available at www.equestrianridge.com).
A LEISURELY PACE
And not all outdoor experiences require physical demands.
The Woodbury Wildlife Area near Coshocton (Coshocton County) is a popular bird-watching spot.
“Bobolinks, normally a more northern species found primarily in the glaciated portions of Ohio, may be observed regularly during the summer months. Birds of prey are abundant, and uncommon species such as short-eared owls and rough-legged hawks reside here in the winter,” according to the website of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.
The Dillon Wildlife Area near Zanesville (Muskingum County) has more than 20 species of ducks and boasts many other forms of wildlife, according to the Division of Wildlife. (www.dnr.state.oh.us).
While in the Coshocton area, take a stroll around historic Roscoe Village, a restored 1830s village along the Ohio-Erie Canal filled with artisans practicing period crafts. The complex also offers lodging and dining. (www.roscoevillage.com/index.php).
To relax, consider a ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway between Nelsonville and Logan. A ride along the Hocking River can provide a sense of rail travel from long ago.
(To check prices, visit www.hvsry.org.)
- Nelsonville Music Festival: May 30-June 2, multiple stages of music, on-site camping, kids activities, art vendors; Hocking College, Nelsonville (Athens County); $50-$300; 740-753-1924, www.nelsonvillefest.org
- Washboard Music Festival: June 13-15, celebration of the washboard as a musical instrument, featuring several music acts, arts and crafts; downtown Logan (Hocking County); free; 740-603-2408, www.washboardmusicfestival.com
- Poston Lake Bluegrass Festival: June 14-15, two days of regional and national bluegrass performers, camping; Guysville (Athens County); $25-$45; www.postonlakebluegrassfestival.blogspot.com
- Red, White & Blues Festival: July 5, evening of blues, brews and barbecue; Lafayette Hotel, Marietta (Washington County); $5; www.mariettaohio.org
- Lancaster Festival: July 18-27, city-wide celebration of the arts, featuring live music, an art walk and more; Lancaster (Fairfield County); admission varies; 740-687-4808, www.lancasterfestival.org
- Boogie on the Bricks: July 20, 15 musical acts on two stages, craft brews, arts and crafts, food; Court Street, Athens (Athens County); free; www.boogieonthebricks.com
- Parade of the Hills: Aug. 14-17, four days of live music, rides, games, nightly parades, Ohio State Fiddling Contest; Public Square, Nelsonville (Athens County); free; www.paradeofthehills.org
- Ohio River Sternwheel Festival: Sept. 6-8, live entertainment, boat races, fireworks; Front and Greene Streets, Marietta (Washington County); free; 1-800-288-2577, www.ohioriversternwheelfestival.org
- Ohio Pawpaw Festival: Sept. 13-15, celebration of the official native fruit of Ohio, featuring pawpaw food and products, live music, arts and crafts, exhibits and more; Albany (Athens County) $8-$14; www.ohiopawpawfest.com
- Jackson Apple Festival: Sept. 17-21, live entertainment, rides, games, parades; Broadway Street, Jackson (Jackson County); free; 740-288-6714, www.jacksonapplefestival.com
— Compiled by Thomas Hodson, WOUB Public Media
SUMMER FUN, ANYTIME
A sampling of popular summertime activities, compiled by Columbus Dispatch staff members:
‘THE LIVING WORD’
Description: 39th season for the religious drama about the life of Christ
Location: 6010 College Hill Rd., Cambridge (Guernsey County)
Performances: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays July 12 to Sept. 28; also Fantastic Fairytales (6 p.m. June 28), a children’s puppet show; Some Enchanted Evening (7:30 p.m. July 7-8, 14-15, 21-22), a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical revue; The Memory Man (7 p.m. Aug. 18), a one-man solo religious show
Admission: $18, or $15 for senior citizens, $5 to $7 for children 4 to 12 for The Living Word; admission varies for other shows
Seating capacity: 800
Running time: 2½ hours; one hour (Fantastic Fairytales and The Memory Man); 2 hours (Some Enchanted Evening)
Information: 740-439-2761, www.livingworddrama.org
‘TRUMPET IN THE LAND’
Description: 44th season for the historical drama about the founding of Ohio’s first settlement
Location: Schoenbrunn Amphitheatre, New Philadelphia (Tuscarawas County)
Performances: various dates June 14 to Aug. 24; also The White Savage (various dates July 6 through Aug. 17); Les Miserables (July 27, Aug. 2, 8, 16); all shows 8:30 p.m.
Admission: $12 to $20, or $12 to $18 for senior citizens, $6 to $10 for children 12 and younger
Seating capacity: 1,279
Wheelchair access: yes
Running time: 2½ hours
Information: 330-339-1132, www.trumpetintheland.com
JAMBOREE IN THE HILLS
Description: An outdoor rain-or-shine event, the festival boasts some of the top names in country music.
Location: Off Rt. 40, Morristown (Belmont County)
Performances: July 18: Miranda Lambert, Dwight Yoakam, Chris Young; July 19: Luke Bryan, Thompson Square, Florida Georgia Line, Davisson Brothers Band; July 20: Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, Kip Moore, the Henningsens, Chris Janson, Jason Thomas; July 21: Neal McCoy, the Oak Ridge Boys, Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin
Parking: $20 daily (no overnights), with $25 daily VIP parking available. Camping pass ($200 to $220) does not include admission.
Tickets/information: $65 to $90 (one day), $130 to $140 (two days), $185 to $200 (three days), $215 to $235 (four days); 1-800-594-8499; www.jamboreeinthehills.com
Description: The music and camping event near Buckeye Lake features veteran musicians as well as rising stars.
Location: 7585 Kindle Rd., Thornville (Perry County)
Performances: May 24-26: Dark Star Jubilee featuring Dark Star Orchestra, Mickey Hart Band, Yonder Mountain String Band, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, the Wailers, the New Orleans Suspects, Melvin Seals & JGB, the Werks, Greensky Bluegrass and more; July 18-21: All Good Festival featuring Furthur with Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, Pretty Lights, Primus, Yonder Mountain String Band, STS9, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, John Butler Trio, Keller Williams, Dark Star Orchestra, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Parking: free; RV camping, $50 to $275
Description: The 1800s canal-era experience features hands-on activities and costumed interpreters.
Location: 600 N. Whitewoman St., Coshocton (Coshocton County)
Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; call for times of tours
Admission: free; a fee for some attractions
Information: 1-800-877-1830, 740-622-7644, www.roscoevillage.com
ZANESVILLE MUSEUM OF ART
Description: The museum boasts an extensive Ohio glass and pottery selection as well as works by Cezanne, Grandma Moses, Lautrec, Matisse, Picasso, Rembrandt and Rubens.
Location: 620 Military Rd., Zanesville (Muskingum County)
Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Admission: $6, or $4 for senior citizens 60 and older and children 10 to 18, free for children 9 and younger and museum members
Special exhibits: “Seeking Harmony with Nature: Ceramic Sculpture by Denise Romecki,” clay sculptures (through June 8); “Superlatives II: Ohio Quilts,” competitive exhibit featuring quilts from Ohio textile artists (June 1 to Aug. 3); “Ohio Innovators in Clay,” 16 artists showcase pottery, tile and sculptures (June 15 to Aug. 31)
Information: 740-452-0741, www.zanesvilleart.org
Description: A 10,000-acre conservation center in southeast Ohio features rare and endangered animals living in natural, open-range habitats.
Location: 14000 International Rd., Cumberland (Guernsey County)
Big attractions: Giraffes, wild dogs, rhinos, zebras and cheetahs are just a few of the animals visitors can see during bus rides through the natural habitat. Zip lines, horseback riding and fishing tours are available at additional costs. Lodge, cabins and yurts available.
Open: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily May through September
Admission: Safari Transport tour in enclosed bus, at least 2 hours, $20, or $19 for senior citizens 60 and older, $15 for children 4 to 12, free for children younger than 3; open-Air Safari tour, 21/2 hours, $30, all ages; Wild Animal Encounter tour, for younger children, on open-air bus, $30, or $15 for children 4 to 12, free for children younger than 3; Wildside Tours, offered year-round, 2½ hours, $125, reservations required.
Information: 740-638-5030, www.thewilds.org