From family travel spots, a Jurassic forest, recreational activities to the cultural and historical tour, Ohio in the United States has a lot more to offer to attract tourists in 2011.
Ohio is unveiling a host of new and unique travel experiences this year, ranging from a one-of-a-kind elephant habitat to a rare glimpse into the life of Cleopatra and from Civil War history and more, Ohio Tourism Division said in a statement.
Following are just some of the highlights of the new exhibits, attractions, events and travel opportunities to look forward to in Ohio this year:
WindSeeker, a new thrill ride is debuting at both Kings Island on April 30, and Cedar Point on May 14. The 301-foot-tall tower will spin riders nearly 30 stories above the ground in two-person swings, reaching speeds up to 30 miles per hour and flaring out 45 degrees from the tower.
Dinosaurs Alive!, a Jurassic forest at Kings Island opens on May 26. The highlight of Dinosaurs Alive! is the world's largest animatronic dinosaur, the Ruyang Yellow River dinosaur – measuring an incredible 72 feet long, 12 feet wide and 30 feet high – and more than 60 of his life-sized friends like the meat-eating Tyrannosaurs Rex and the three-horned Triceratops. Other highlights in the 12.5-acre Jurassic forest setting include a kids' paleontological dig site where visitors can uncover prehistoric fossils, and interactive consoles that allow guests to guide movement in some of the dinosaurs.
Modeled after African savannas, a new exhibit named African Elephant Crossing opens on May 5 at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The highligh of the exhibit is its naturalistic five-acre habitat with two sprawling ranges, deep ponds, a waterfall and mud wallow for up to 10 elephants. Visitors will be immersed in a realistic African village setting at the Crossing's education center that offers interactive displays, as well as "nose-to-trunk" viewing areas.
Sports & Recreation
Hocking Hills Canopy Zipline Night Flight, a two-hour nocturnal tour in Rockbridge, beginning May, will be offered on Fridays and Saturdays. Visitors will experience the sounds, the smells and the creatures of the night – then bravely zip off into the blackness! The tour includes six ziplines and four skybridges.
The Scottish Links Golf Course at Glenlaurel will replicate the links-style courses built in the British Isles hundreds of years ago. This eight-hole, private course will be available for guests of Glenlaurel, a Scottish-themed inn in the Hocking Hills, and may be played with modern clubs or – for a true old-time experience – visitors can rent hickory-shaft clubs and vintage golf balls.
Cities, Culture & Cuisine
Columbus Food Adventures tours showcase a new side of the city, including eclectic neighborhoods, unique architecture and ethnic offerings. Starting in June, Columbus Food Adventures will add a German Village walking tour to its existing tours that focus on taco trucks, alternative eats, Short North food and desserts.
Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power – a new exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland opens May 13. It will touch on the firsts, the best, the celebrated, under-rated, and every rockin' woman who moved rock and roll music forward. Check out artifacts, video and listening stations, and other interactive exhibits that will tell the stories of more than 60 artists.
History & Heritage
Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt – a new exhibition opens through September 5 at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Roughly 150 artifacts in the exhibition – from the smallest gold coins and jewelry to a papyrus document believed to be hand-written by Cleopatra and colossal statues – will provide a window into Cleopatra's life and times.
Civil War Sesquicentennial, which is now being observed through 2015 in Ohio offers a great chance to learn about and honor those Ohioans who played critical roles in the Civil War. Options include the recently relocated and renovated American Civil War Museum of Ohio in Tiffin, which offers eight exhibit rooms that follow the Civil War and Ohio's role in the conflict, boasting more than 10,000-square-feet of exhibit space and research. Additionally, the Ohio Statehouse – the spot where Abraham Lincoln learned he was officially elected U.S. President – is celebrating its 150th birthday in 2011 with a series of special events.