Thrill-lovers won’t find much in the way of mountain climbing or ocean surfing in central Ohio. But plenty of other outdoor adventures await Columbus-area residents and visitors willing to seek them out.
Just plane exciting
Central Ohio is a great place to jump out of an airplane. Really.
“People still think sky diving is only something you can do in an exotic location, but you can experience all of this right here in Ohio,” Skydive Columbus owner Chris Chapman said.
Chapman’s company, located at the Fairfield County Airport 20 minutes from Downtown Columbus, has a program for beginners.
Participants jump attached to an experienced sky diver. These “tandem” jumps require minimal training, he said.
“Tandem sky diving sort of revolutionized the sport,” Chapman said.
“Years ago, if you wanted to jump, you had to take a six- or eight-hour class and then try to remember everything. Now, you don’t have all that expense and risk. There’s a 15-minute briefing, then you get in the plane and do the jump.”
The highly trained instructors use top-notch gear and, of course, have a vested interest in the safety of the person they’re strapped to, Chapman said.
Tandem jumps open sky diving to people of all physical abilities, too, Chapman said.
“Almost any kind of person you can think of, I’ve attached them to me and jumped out of an airplane. From 18 to 80, blind, deaf, non-English speaking, veterans without legs and a surprising number of people who have never even been in an airplane before.
“All of my staff have other full-time jobs, so we all do it because of a passion for the sport. And when you land and that other person is just so overwhelmed with emotion, it takes you back to why you’re doing this.”
Rates start at $209 a person, with discounts for groups of two or more.
(Information: 614-203-0210, www.skydivecmh.com.)
For those who want to get close to nature, there are few places better than Big Darby Creek just west of Columbus, and there are few better places to see the National Scenic River than from on the water.
Trapper John’s Canoe Livery in Darbydale (Franklin County) has been offering canoe rides through the beautiful Darby Valley for decades. But recently, kayaking has become more popular, said livery owner Jason Kaufman.
“Kayaks are the hottest thing now,” Kaufman said.
“They go a little faster … and are a little more maneuverable” than a canoe, he said. And this year, the livery is adding two-person kayaks.
“The creek is very clean and free-flowing,” Kaufman noted.
“Most of the trip is through a metro park or nature preserve. When they come out here, people are amazed. We’re so close to Columbus, but when they get on the river, it seems like they’re as far from civilization as they can get.”
The livery offers trips of various lengths, including all-day floats and a “sampler,” which takes from one to two hours.
“The sampler is great for after work, or if you just want to give canoeing a try,” Kaufman said.
The livery operates seven days a week in season. Trips start at $15 per person, or $5 for children 6 (minimum age) to 12.
(Information: 614-877-4321 or visit www.trapperjohnscanoeing.com).
Rock ’n’ hold
Rock climbers can practice their sport in Downtown Columbus at the largest free outdoor climbing wall in the country, at Scioto Audubon Metro Park (Franklin County).
The 35-foot-high wall features about a dozen routes to the top. And where else can you climb an artificial “natural arch”?
Climbers must take their own ropes and equipment. The park offers a free course for novice climbers about once a month. Gear is provided, and the course includes the basics of equipment, knot-tying, climbing and belaying.
Metro Parks Director John O’Meara, himself an expert rock climber, said the wall provides challenges for all climbing styles and experience levels.
“It’s a fun climb — I always think of it as a big piece of playground equipment for adults,” O’Meara said. “And we have a series of boulders that are even good for little kids and don’t require safety gear.”
The wall is normally open from 9 a.m. to one hour before the park closes. But for those who like night climbing, the wall stays open until midnight on the second Friday of each month through November.
(Information: 614-891-0700, www.metroparks.net/parkssciotoaudubon.aspx)
The flatlands of central Ohio are perfect for recreational bicycling, and the region offers many bike trails, including the
4-mile Genoa Trail that parallels state Rt. 3 on an abandoned railroad bed in Delaware County.
The trail passes a nature preserve and is known for bird and wildlife sightings. It also connects to several parks in the area.
CAN’T-MISS SUMMER FESTIVALS
- Utica Sertoma Old Fashioned Ice Cream Festival: May 25-27; Velvet Ice Cream is featured along with car and motorcycle shows, magic performances and a grand parade at 11 a.m. May 25.; Velvet Ice Cream Ye Olde Mill, Utica (Licking County), $5 per car, www.uticaoldfashionedicecreamfestival.com
- Newark Strawberry Festival: May 31-June 2; The theme “Strawberries on the Square” is celebrated with rides, food, games, crafts and, of course, strawberry shortcake; Newark Courthouse Square (Licking County); free, 740-345-6910, www.newarkstrawberryfestival.com
- London Strawberry Festival: June 20-22; Strawberry foods are featured, including delicious ice cream, plus rides, games, contests, live music, arts and crafts; historic downtown London (Madison County); free, 740-857-1417, www.londonstrawberryfestival.com
- Ashville 4th of July Festival: June 30-July 4; This street festival is so big one day couldn’t hold it. Famous fish sandwiches, entertainment on two stages and a grand parade at 11 a.m. July 4 are featured; Ashville Park, Ashville (Pickaway County); free, 740-207-1865.
- Pickerington Violet Festival: July 24-27; This family festival features rides, musical entertainment with big-name acts, a 5-kilometer fun run, a parade on July 26, a car and bike show and a beer garden with domestic and imported libations; Victory Park, Pickerington (Fairfield County); $3-$5 (free for children 12 and younger); 614-524-4758, www.violetfestival.org
- Obetz Zucchinifest: Aug. 22-25; Everything zucchini stars, including zucchini bread, fudge, ice cream, plus entertainment, rides, games pagents and more; Memorial Park, Obetz (Franklin County); free, 614-491-1080, www.obetzzucchinifest.com
- West Jefferson Ox Roast: Aug. 31-Sept. 2; Traditional end-of-summer fun includes watermelon-eating contests, bike tour, queen and baby contests, and 5,500 pounds of pit-roasted beef sandwiches available Labor Day; Garrette Park, West Jefferson (Madison County); free, 614-879-9287, www.westjeffoxroast.com
- Lithopolis Honeyfest: Sept. 6-7; Sweet natural honey treats include baked items, ice cream and mead. Other fun includes the Honey Brown Beer Garden, honey bake-off sale, live music on two stages and a kids’ craft “beehive; central Lithopolis along Columbus and Market streets (Fairfield County); free; 614-837-2031, www.lithopolishoneyfest.com
— Compiled by Steve Stephens, The Columbus Dispatch
SUMMER FUN, ANYTIME
A sampling of popular summertime activities, compiled by Dispatch staff members:
COCO KEY WATER RESORT
Description: A 50,000-square-foot water park including an interactive-adventure area for young children, body slides, an activity pool with water basketball and a fast-paced tube ride
Location: Cherry Valley Lodge, 2299 Cherry Valley Road, Newark (Licking County)
Open: operating hours vary, check website for details
Admission: varies, check website for details
Least-busy day: Wednesdays
Tickets/information: 1-800-788-8008, 740-788-1200 or www.cherryvalleylodge.com
FORT RAPIDS INDOOR WATERPARK RESORT
Description: A 60,000-square-foot park, including an area with two small slides for young children; a 40-foot-tall interactive-play area with a water cannon, four slides and a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket; and an activity pool with basketball hoops
Location: 4560 Hilton Corporate Drive, Columbus (Franklin County)
Open: daily June 1 to July 31; Fridays through Sundays year-round
Admission: all-day pass $23.95 (Monday through Friday), $29.95 (Saturday and Sunday), or $21.95 after
4 p.m.; spectator pass $9.95
Least-busy days: Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Tickets/information: 1-877-33-SPLASH, 614-868-1380 or www.fortrapids.com
OHIO STATE FAIR
Description: The state’s premier fair, including entertainment, livestock competitions, rides, youth organizations, agriculture, natural resources and fine arts
Location: Ohio Expo Center, I-71 and E. 17th Avenue, Columbus (Franklin County)
Open: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 24 through Aug. 3 and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 4
Admission: $10 at the gate for those ages 13 to 59, or $8 for senior citizens 60 or older and children 5 to 12; free for children 4 or younger; special discount days throughout fair run Midway wristbands: for unlimited rides, $23; $1 coupons for individual rides available
New attractions: Sea Lion Splash: sea lions and their handlers will perform tricks. (When they aren’t performing, the sea lions can be seen in an underwater viewing tank); and camel rides ($7, or $5 for children 12 or younger).
Least-busy days: Tuesdays through Thursdays
Tickets/information: advance $6 tickets available through Aug. 4 at participating AAA, Kroger and Ticketmaster outlets; all-day wristband vouchers, $20, available at Kroger stores and Ticketmaster outlets through July 23; 614-644-FAIR, www.ohiostatefair.com
Description: A 22.7-acre water park — adjacent to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium — featuring 17 water slides, a wave pool, an action river, a lazy river, private cabanas and a kiddie play pool
Location: 4850 W. Powell Rd. (Delaware County)
Open: daily, operating hours vary May 19, May 23 through Aug. 20, Aug. 24-25, Aug.31-Sept. 2 (call for details)
Admission: $32.99, or $24.99 for children 2 to 9 and senior citizens 60 or older; free for children younger than 2
Least-busy days: weekdays
Tickets/information: available at the park, AAA, Columbus-area Kroger stores and online; 614-645-3550, 1-800-MONKEYS, www.zoombezibay.com
Description: 31st season of Shakespearean plays and classics
Location: Schiller Park in German Village, 1000 City Park Ave., Columbus (Franklin County) and the Columbus Commons, E. Rich and S. High streets, Columbus
Performances: King Arthur and the Sword of Britain (May 23 to June 23), Twelfth Night (June 27 to July 28), The Beaux’ Stratagem (Aug. 1 to Sept. 1); all shows 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays; Romeo & Juliet (Sept. 6-15) 7:30 p.m. Fridays through Sundays
Seating capacity: 1,000 on the Schiller Park amphitheater lawn, 5,000 to 6,000 on the Commons lawn (take your own chairs and blankets)
Running time: about 2½ hours;
Information: 614-444-6888, www.theactorstheatre.org
THE BLUEGRASS CLASSIC: MUSICIANS AGAINST CHILDHOOD CANCER
Description: Proceeds from the annual event benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
Location: Hoover Y-Park, 1570 Rohr Road, Columbus (Franklin County)
Performances: July 17-20: including Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice; Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out; Rhonda Vincent and the Rage; Marty Raybon and Full Circle; Rhonda Vincent, Russell Moore, Junior Sisk; July 18: MACC Opry with Flatt Lonesome, Mo Pitney, Billy Ryan Droze; Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out; the Grascals; SteelDrivers; July 19: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver with the Centerville Alternative Strings; Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers; Larry Sparks and Doyle Lawson 50 Year Celebration; the Seldom Scene; July 20: Aubrey Haynie and Terry Baucom; MACC Opry with Carl Jackson, Val Story, Larry Cordle and Jerry Salley; Gibson Brothers; Rambling Rooks; J.D. Crowe and Bradley Walker
Tickets: $35 to $105; half-price for children 11 to 15; free for children 10 or younger accompanied by a parent. Tickets available at Bluegrass Musicians Supply, 614-443-3558 or 1-800-753-2583; at Ticketmaster outlets (1-800-745-3000) or www.ticketmaster.com; by calling 740-548-4199; or at the gate. Camping: $5 a day
Information: 740-548-4199, www.bluegrassclassic.com
Description: Home to the Columbus Crew MLS soccer team, the stadium doubles as a concert venue that seats up to 30,000 people.
Location: 1 Black & Gold Blvd., Columbus (I-71 near E. Hudson Street, Franklin County)
Performances: June 29 (5 p.m.): Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Eli Young Band, Kacey Musgraves
Parking: $15 to $22
Tickets: $35 to $199 at Ticketmaster outlets (1-800-745-3000) or www.ticketmaster.com
Information: 614-447-2739, www.crewstadium.com
LIFESTYLE COMMUNITIES PAVILION
Description: Located in the Arena District, the outdoor amphitheater has a seating capacity of 4,500.
Location: 405 Neil Ave., Columbus (Franklin County)
Performances: May 29 (7 p.m.): Of Monsters and Men; June 7 (7 p.m.): Passion Pit; June 9 (6 p.m.): Dropkick Murphys; June 11 (7 p.m.): Grizzy Bear, the xx; June 15 (6:30 p.m.): Next@Wex fest featuring the National, Local Natives, Matthew E. White; June 18 (7 p.m.): Alabama Shakes; June 20 (6:30 p.m.): Peter Frampton, Robert Cray; June 21 (7 p.m.): Summerland Tour 2013 featuring Everclear, Live, Filter, Sponge; June 22 (6 p.m.): Legends of Hip-Hop featuring Scarface, 8Ball & MJG, Juvenile, Mystikal; July 5 (6 p.m.): Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, Guster; July 6 (6 p.m.): O.A.R.; July 9 (6:30 p.m.): Fitz & the Tantrums; July 14 (7 p.m.): fun., Tegan and Sara; July 19 (7 p.m.): Melissa Etheridge; July 24 (5:30 p.m.): the Black Crowes, Tedeschi-Trucks Band; July 25 (6:30 p.m.): OneRepublic, Mayer Hawthorne; July 26 (6 p.m.): Under the Sun Tour 2013 with Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Gin Blossoms; Aug. 1 (6:30 p.m.): Ted Nugent; Aug. 6 (6:30 p.m.): the Killers; Aug. 9 (6 p.m.): Rob Zombie, Mastodon; Sept. 5 (6:30 p.m.): Zappa Plays Zappa
Parking: area lots and garages
Tickets: $15 to $80 at Ticketmaster outlets (1-800-745-3000) or www.ticketmaster.com
Information: 614-461-5483, www.promowestlive.com
PICNIC WITH THE POPS/POPCORN POPS
Description: Casual outdoor performances featuring the Columbus Symphony and guest artists; reserved and lawn seating available.
Location: Columbus Commons, E. Rich and S. High streets, Columbus (Franklin County)
Performances: Picnic With the Pops — (all shows 8:15 p.m.) June 14: Chaka Khan; June 15: Richard Marx; June 22: Pink Martini; June 29: Patriotic Pops; July 6: Kansas; July 13: Natalie Merchant; July 20: the Music of Queen — Rock and Symphonic Spectacular; July 26-27: Ohio State University Marching Band
Performances: Popcorn Pops — (all shows at 7 p.m., pre-concert activities at 5 p.m.) June 21: First Day of Summer Party; July 19: Broadway for Kids
Parking: $5 for underground parking off South 3rd Street and in City Center garage between East Main and South High streets; metered parking nearby
Tickets: $23 ($25 at the gate), or $8 for children 3 to 14; free for ages 2 or younger for Picnic With the Pops; $8 for adults and children 3 to 14, free for ages 2 or younger for Popcorn Pops
Information: 614-228-8600, 614-469-0939, www.picnicwiththepops.com
COLUMBUS MUSEUM OF ART
Description: Known for its collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century American and European modern art and its regional collections, such as the largest public collection of woodcarvings by Columbus folk artist Elijah Pierce, and the world’s largest repository of paintings and lithographs by Columbus native George Bellows.
Location: 480 E. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin County)
Open: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday
Admission: $12, or $8 for senior citizens 60 or older and students 18 or older with valid ID, $5 for those 6 to 17, free for members and children 5 or younger, free for everyone on Sundays
Parking: free, behind the museum
Special exhibits: “Strings Attached: The Living Tradition of Czech Puppets,” explores the history of puppetry in the Czech Republic since the 1850s (through Aug. 4); “Surface Tension: the 2013 Greater Arts Council Visual Arts Awards Exhibition,” honors the works of six central Ohio artists (June 14 to Sept. 14); “George Bellows and the American Experience,” includes more than 35 paintings as well as drawings and caricatures (Aug. 23 to Jan. 4).
Information: 614-221-4848, 614-221-6801, www.columbusmuseum.org
Description: A hands-on science center featuring several permanent exhibits, plus an Extreme Screen theater.
Location: 333 W. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin County)
Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday; Family Friday Nights ($9.95 after 5 p.m. the last Friday of each month)
Admission: $16.95 for those 13 or older, or $15.95 for senior citizens 60 or older, $11.95 for children 2 to 12, free for members; additional fee for Extreme Screen movies and some exhibits. All admission prices will increase $1 beginning June 8.
Parking: $5 for public, $4 for members
Special exhibits: “Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition,” allows guests to investigate myths hands-on through interactive elements, including workshops, a demonstration stage and blueprint room (June 8 to Sept. 2). Tickets to the exhibit include general admission and cost $25.95, or $6 for members.
Information: 614-228-2674, 1-888-819-COSI, www.cosi.org
KING ARTS COMPLEX
Description: The complex features the cultural and historical contributions of African-Americans.
Location: 867 Mount Vernon Ave., Columbus (Franklin County)
Open: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to
7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Admission: free; donations accepted for gallery
Parking: free, at the Garfield entrance
Special exhibits: “Visual Voices: Dayton Skyscraper V,” recognizing African-American artists in Dayton and the Miami Valley (through Aug. 23).
Information: 614-645-5464, www.thekingartscomplex.com
OHIO HISTORY CENTER AND OHIO VILLAGE
Description: The center focuses on connecting visitors with the state’s history; Ohio Village is a recreated Civil War-era community.
Location: I-71 and E. 17th Avenue, Columbus (Franklin County)
Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; Ohio Village: same hours Memorial Day through Labor Day
Admission: $10, or $9 for senior citizens 60 or older, $5 for children 6 to 12, free for children 5 or younger; Ohio Village included with admission to the center
Special exhibit: “Face of Appalachia: Photographs by Albert J. Ewing,” 200 photos capture the daily lives of Appalachians in the 1900s (through December); “Controversy 2: Pieces We Don’t Talk About,” examines perceptions of racial stereotypes from a historical perspective (through Dec. 30.); “The War of 1812: Ohio on the Frontline,” includes artifacts and materials from Ohio in the War of 1812 (July 4 to Dec. 30); “1950s: Building the American Dream,” a walk-through exhibit that looks into lives of a 1950s central Ohio family living in a Lustron home (opens July 13)
Information: 614-297-2300, 1-800-686-6124, www.ohiohistory.org
WEXNER CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Description: The center offers dance and music performances as well as films and special exhibits.
Location: 1871 N. High St. at 15th Avenue, Columbus (Franklin County)
Open: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
Admission: $8, or $6 for seniors 65 or older, Ohio State faculty and staff; free admission for members, students with a college ID and anyone under 18; free admission every Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. and on the first Sunday of each month.
Parking: nearby garages
Special exhibits: “Shimon Attie: Metro.PAL.IS.,” video installation of eight flat-screen monitors that highlight an overlap between Palestine and Israel’s declarations of independence (through Aug. 4); “Paul Sietsema,” an exhibit of his productions from the past 50 years and his Chinese Box, created through the Wexner Center Artist Residency Award (through Aug. 4).
Information: 614-292-0330, www.wexarts.org
Description: An interactive history, science, technology and art learning center where people of all ages can be inspired.
Location: 55 S. 1st St., Newark (Licking County)
Open: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
Admission: $8, or $6 for senior citizens 55 or older, $4 for children 2 to 17, free for children 1 or younger
Parking: free, on-site
Special exhibits: “They Still Draw Pictures: Children’s Art in Wartime from the Spanish Civil War to Kosovo,” a collection of children’s art produced in wartime, mainly from the Spanish Civil War (through July 13); “Mr. Jim: Growing Art in Our Community,” highlights Columbus artist Jim Arter’s projects with children around the world (July 26 to Oct. 12).
Information: 740-349-9277, www.attheworks.org
Description: The Cleveland Indians’ International League affiliate plays in the heart of the Arena District.
Location: Huntington Park, 330 Huntington Park Lane, Columbus (Franklin County)
Home games: May 19-21 vs. Scanton/Wilkes Barre; May 23-26 vs. Syracuse; May 31-June 3 vs. Indianapolis; June 17-20 vs. Pawtucket; June 21-24 vs. Lehigh Valley; July 5-7 vs. Louisville; July 8-10 vs. Indianapolis; July 11-12 vs. Toledo; July 26-29 vs. Durham; July 30-Aug. 2 vs. Buffalo; Aug. 6-7 vs. Toledo; Aug. 8-9 vs. Louisville; Aug. 17-20 vs. Norfolk; Aug. 22-25 vs. Gwinnett; Aug. 28-29 vs. Louisville; Sept. 1-2 vs. Toledo
Admission: $6 to $10, or $3 to $7 for senior citizens and children 12 or younger
Parking: nearby lots
Tickets/information: available at the Clippers office, 614-462-2757; through Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000; 614-462-5250, www.clippersbaseball.com
Description: Playing in the first soccer-specific stadium in the U.S., the Crew has one of the best home records in the MLS.
Location: Columbus Crew Stadium, One Black & Gold Blvd., Columbus (I-71 near E. Hudson Street)
Home games: June 1 vs. Houston Dynamo; June 15 vs. Montreal Impact; June 22 vs. Chicago Fire; July 7 vs. Port
land Timbers FC; July 20 vs. New England Revolution; Aug. 10 vs. New York Red Bulls; Aug. 17 vs. Toronto FC; Aug. 31 vs. Seattle Sounders FC
Admission: $23 to $48 in advance, $23 to $50 on game day
Parking: $10, on Ohio Expo Center grounds
Tickets/information: available at Crew office, 614-447-2739; Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000; www.thecrew.com
THE OHIO MACHINE
Description: A professional men’s team
Location: Selby Stadium, 45 S. Henry St., Delaware (Delaware County)
Home games: May 23 vs. Hamilton Nationals; June 15 vs. Rochester Rattlers; June 29 vs. Boston Cannons; July 6 vs. Chesapeake Bayhawks; July 27 vs. Charlotte Hounds
Admission: $12 to $18, or $20 game day
Tickets/information: 614-754-1973, or www.theohiomachine.com
Description: Many of the best golfers in the world come to Dublin to play in the event that Jack Nicklaus started in 1976.
Location: Muirfield Village Golf Club, 5750 Memorial Drive, Dublin (Franklin County)
Dates: May 27 to June 2
Admission: $155 (all-tournament badge), $30 (all three practice rounds); free for 12 or younger when accompanied by paying adult; 18 or younger free Wednesday (Junior Golf Day)
Parking: Main lot is off Dublin Road near the 6th tee; overflow parking is available in the Ashbaugh Road lot. Complimentary shuttles transport patrons between the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the tournament-grounds main gate Thursday through Sunday.
Tickets/information: badges available by calling 614-889-6712; or online; 1-877-MTBADGE, www.thememorialtournament.com
COLUMBUS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Description: A 1/3-mile semi-banked oval track plays host to weekend warriors and NASCAR pros.
Location: 1841 Williams Rd., Columbus (Franklin County)
Events: NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Saturdays through Aug. 10; May 25: Jegs CRA All-Star Tour Memorial; June 22: Super Late Models; June 29: Hilarious Trailer Races; July 6: 94-Lap Robbie Dean Memorial Series; July 13: 150-Lap NASCAR K and N Pro Series; July 27: 30th Annual John Nuckles Memorial; Aug. 17: Amazing School Bus Figure Eight; Aug. 24: Kid’s Night; Aug. 31: Labor Day Championship
Admission: varies per event
Tickets/information: at the gate only; 614-491-1047, www.columbusspeedway.com
NATIONAL TRAIL RACEWAY
Description: The National Hot Rod Association owns the facility, which has a concrete-and-asphalt racing surface.
Location: 2650 National Rd. S.W., Hebron (Licking County)
Events: Weekly racing with special events including T-100 Wednesday Nights and Blitz Friday Night Street fights/NHRA Street Legal (selected Fridays); May 19: 21st-annual Mo-Power event; May 25-26: JEGS ET Series; May 31-June 1: Chevy Performance Nationals; June 7-9: No Hatin Drag Racing’s Motorcycle Madness; June 15: JEGS Super Quick Series; June 16: National Dragster Challenge; June 22-23: Spring Nostalgia Nationals; July 5-7: JEGS Foundation Buckeye Open — Midwest Jr. Super Series; July 12: Goodguys Friday Night Drags; July 13: Night of Thunder; July 19-21: NHRA Lucas Oil Regional Buckeye Fuel Wars; July 27: NHRA street legal; July 28: NHRA Summit King of the Track; Aug. 2-3: 10th annual BPG Buick Horsepower Nationals; Aug. 8-11: 33rd annual MOPAR Nationals; Aug. 16-17: OHSAA CC Invitational; Aug. 23-24: Beat the Heat World Finals; Aug. 30-Sept. 1: 35th annual NMRA Ford Expo
Parking: free for most events
Tickets/information: available at the gate; 740-928-5706, www.nationaltrailraceway.com
Description: The 5/8-mile harness track is one of the fastest in the nation.
Location: 6000 S. High St., Columbus (Franklin County)
Season: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (post time 6:30 p.m.), May 8 through Sept. 14; simulcasting daily
Information: 614-295-4700, www.sciotodowns.com
COLUMBUS ZOO AND AQUARIUM
Description: The 86-year-old zoo boasts more than 9,400 animals representing 680 species and sits on 582 acres (100 are developed), plus a golf course and water park.
Location: 4850 W. Powell Rd. (Delaware County)
Big attractions: Dinosaur Island, located in the Australia and Island regions, will feature 26 animatronic dinosaurs that move and make noise as well as an archeological dig pit, boat ride and gift shop (Memorial Day through Labor Day). Admission for the exhibit is $3, or $2 for zoo members.
Open: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily May 25 through Labor Day
Admission: $14.99, or $10.99 for senior citizens 60 or older (and half-price on Tuesdays), $9.99 for children 2 to 9, free for children younger than 2; Wednesdays are half-price for Franklin County residents
Information: 614-645-3550, www.columbuszoo.org