Updated Sun, May 18, 2014 6:34 am
Central Ohio, ironed flat by glaciers, might not offer much in the way of topography, but visitors will find an abundance of historic sites, parks, family attractions and shops that more than make up for the area’s lack of fancy geography.
Here are 10 must-see places to visit:
Broad and High streets, Downtown Columbus (Franklin County)
More than just the center of deal-making and politicking, the Ohio Statehouse is a beautifully restored Greek Revival structure offering tours, an Ohio politics museum and a chance to see your elected officials in action, for good or ill. You’re paying for it, after all. (614-752-9777, www.ohiostatehouse.org)
333 W. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin County)
The Center of Science and Industry, located on the site of the old Columbus Central High School (and using part of the old building), is one of the country’s leading science centers and has been named the best for families by Parents Magazine. The center boasts areas such as Lab space, Little Kidspace, Space and live shows. Plus, you can watch rats play basketball! And, visitors can become super sleuths in the Sherlock Holmes exhibit, which runs through Sept. 1. For ticket prices and hours of operation, call 614-228-2674 or visit www.cosi.org.
E. Town Street, Columbus (Franklin County)
The Georges Seurat painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte comes to life in the seven-acre Old Deaf School Park near a quiet neighborhood Downtown. Shrubs are trimmed to resemble the figures of the paintings as seen from a central vantage point. Visitors can join the topiary people and animals — some larger than life-sized — for a picnic or an afternoon in the park any day of the week. (www.topiarypark.org)
The Book Loft
631 S. 3rd St., Columbus (Franklin County)
Bibliophiles might never leave this 32-room bookstore, one of the largest independents in the nation. The Book Loft offers a labyrinth of bookish delights, spread through several pre-Civil War buildings in the city’s popular and visitor-friendly German Village neighborhood. And while there, check out the legendary cream puffs at nearby Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant. (614-464-1774, www.bookloft.com, www.schmidthaus.com)
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
4850 W. Powell Rd. (Delaware County)
The world-famous zoo earns its reputation as one of the country’s best. New this year is the Heart of Africa exhibit, in which visitors can view lions from inside a plane. True, the old 1956 Beech-18 aircraft will be on the ground, but it still makes an unusual viewing platform. (614-645-3550, www.columbuszoo.org)
Velvet Ice Cream’s Ye Olde Mill
11324 Mount Vernon Rd., Utica (Licking County)
The mill is a fabulous place for ice-cream lovers and history buffs (despite ye olde annoying spelling). Velvet celebrates its centennial this year, and the 20-acre mill site, which also includes an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, museum and factory viewing gallery, will be bustling with special activities this summer, including the Utica Sertoma’s Ice Cream Festival, which will take place Memorial Day weekend. (740-892-3921, www.velveticecream.com)
Sherman House Museum
137 E. Main St., Lancaster (Fairfield County)
The birthplace of Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman (and his brother, U.S. Senator John Sherman) is now a museum with original Sherman-family and Civil War artifacts. It’s a great place to celebrate this year’s sesquicentennial of Sherman’s famous March to the Sea, which helped bring the war to an end. Just don’t tell your friends from Georgia. (740-687-5891, www.shermanhouse.org)
Slate Run Historical Farm
1375 Rt. 674 N., Canal Winchester (Pickaway County)
Visitors can experience life on an 1880s farm — part of the Franklin County Metro Parks — which features farm animals, demonstrations and a restored 1856 gothic revival farmhouse. Costumed guides plant and harvest, take care of the animals and show visitors 19th-century farm life in all its mud-and manure-bespeckled glory. (614-833-1880, www.metroparks.net/ParksSlateRunFarm.aspx)
The tiny, beautiful Bigelow and Smith cemetery state nature preserves near Plain City in northern Madison County harbored some of the last remaining tall-grass prairie plants left in the state. Seeds gathered from these quiet, beautiful cemeteries have helped re-grow prairie areas and spread the plants to other parks. (www.ohiodnr.gov)
Northwest of Columbus, Union County is home to four historic 19th-century covered bridges — plus several picturesque modern additions — over Big Darby Creek, a National Scenic River, and its tributaries. The bridges have all been refurbished and are well-maintained, and the drive between them is quite scenic. The county hosts an annual Covered Bridge Festival in late summer. (www.coveredbridgefestival.com)
CENTRAL OHIO ATTRACTIONS
A sampling of popular summertime activities, compiled by Columbus Dispatch staff members.
THEME AND WATER PARKS
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, a wading pool, a family hot tub and an indoor/outdoor hot tub for adults; plus a resturant and bar
Location: Cherry Valley Lodge, 2299 Cherry Valley Rd. S. E., Newark (Licking County)
Open: 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday; check website for special summer dates
Admission: $12 on Fridays and any day after 5 p.m., $18 on Saturdays and Sundays
Least-busy day: Sundays
Tickets/information: 1-800-788-8008, 740-788-1200 or www.cherryvalleylodge.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 23 through Aug. 2 and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 3
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
Midway wristbands: $23 for unlimited rides; $1 coupons for individual rides available
New attractions: including Welde’s Big Bear Show — an educational exhibit about the majestic creatures (daily); Civil War Encampment — discover how Union soldiers lived, plus view the Ohio Civil War 150 traveling exhibit (daily); Southern Ohio Flying K-9s Ohio Cup — disc dog competition (9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 26-27; High School Rodeo (10 a.m. and 5 p.m. July 26, noon July 27); Dino Walk — a giant Tyrannosaurus rex puppet more than 8 feet tall and 12 feet long; Spoon Man — playing with two household tablespoons, he creates a mountain band and plays spoons on the heads of fair-goers; and Matt Jergens — a comedy juggler
Least-busy days: Tuesdays through Thursdays
Tickets/information: advance $6 tickets are available through Aug. 3 at Kroger, participating AAA locations with AAA membership and Ticketmaster outlets; all-day-rides wristband vouchers, $20, available at Kroger stores and Ticketmaster outlets through July 22; 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 22 through Aug. 19, Aug. 23-24, Aug.30-Sept. 1 (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
New attractions: Baboon Lagoon — an animal-themed play structure that includes 10 waterslides and a 1,000-gallon tipping water bucket with multi-level platforms and more than 115 interactive aquatic controls
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
Actors' Theatre of Columbus
Description: 33rd 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; and Easton Town Center Square
Performances: Hamlet (May 22 to June 22), The Barber of Seville (June 26 to July 27), The Merry Wives of Windsor (July 31 to Aug. 31), all shows 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays; The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sept. 5-14, Commons), 7:30 p.m. Fridays through Sundays; A Rare Vision: Six Plays by Shakespeare, (June 6-27, 7 p.m. Fridays, Easton) and All the Great Books, Abridged (June 7-28, 7 p.m. Saturdays, Easton)
Seating capacity: 1,000 on the Schiller Park amphitheater lawn; 5,000 to 6,000 on the Commons lawn; 300 on Easton Square (bring chairs and blankets)
Running time: about 21/2 hours; 90 minutes to 2 hours, Commons and Easton
Information: 614-444-6888, www.theactorstheatre.org
The Bluegrass Classic: Musicians Against Childhood Cancer
Description: An annual event to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
Location: Hoover Y-Park, 1570 Rohr Rd., Columbus (Franklin County)
Performances: July 16-19: including Rarely Herd, Clay Hess Band, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, Joe Mullins and Junior Sisk, Daryle Singletary, Blue Highway; July 17: Adkins and Loudermilk, Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice, Marty Raybon and Full Circle, Gibson Brothers, Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers, Lonesome River Band, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, James King; July 18: Flatt Lonesome, Kenny and Amanda, Lou Reid and Carolina, Josh Williams, Randy Kohrs, Aubrey Haynie, Larry Stephenson Band, the Grascals, Seldom Scene, Rambling Rooks, Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out featuring Centerville Alternative Strings; July 19: MACC Children’s Band; Breaking Grass; Feller and Hill; Don Rigsby and Midnight Call; Lost and Found; Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time; Bradley Walker and Friends; MACC Opry with Carl Jackson, Val Story, Larry Cordle and Jerry Salley; J.D. Crowe and Josh Williams; the Steel Drivers
Tickets: $40 to $110; half-price for children 11 to 15 daily ($50 for children’s four-day pass); free for children 10 or younger accompanied by a parent. Tickets available at Bluegrass Musicians Supply, 614-443-3558 or 1-800-783-2583; at www.musiciansagainstchildhoodcancer.com or www.ticketbud.com; by calling 740-548-4199; or at the gate. Camping: $5 to $25 a day
Information: 740-548-4199, www.bluegrassclassic.com
Lifestyle Communities Pavilion
Description: An intimate outdoor amphitheater located in the Arena District
Location: 405 Neil Ave., Columbus (Franklin County)
Performances: May 27 (7 p.m.): Bastille, sold out; May 28 (7 p.m.): B.B. King; June 4 (7 p.m.): Santana; June 10 (7 p.m.): Chvrches; June 17 (6 p.m.): O.A.R., Phillip Phillips; June 20 (7 p.m.): Beck; June 27 (6:30 p.m.): Ziggy Marley; June 29 (6 p.m.): Fifth Harmony; July 7 (6:30 p.m.): 311, The Wailers; July 8 (6 p.m.): Under the Sun Tour featuring Blues Traveler, Sugar Ray, Uncle Kracker, Smash Mouth; July 13 (6:30 p.m.): Sublime with Rome; July 15 (6 p.m.): Counting Crows, Toad the Wet Sprocket; July 19 (7 p.m.): Nickel Creek; July 20 (6 p.m.): Neutral Milk Hotel with Circulatory System and Connections; July 23 (6 p.m.): Matt Nathanson, Gavin DeGraw; July 29 (6:30 p.m.): Panic! at the Disco, Walk the Moon; Aug. 14 (6:30 p.m.): Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang; Aug. 20 (6:30 p.m.): Boston; Aug. 25 (6 p.m.): Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry; Sept. 4-5 (6 p.m.): Twenty One Pilots (sold out)
Parking: area lots and garages
Tickets: $5 to $59.50 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 p.m.) June 13: Classical Mystery Tour; June 14: Cirque Musica; June 21: Ben Folds; June 28: The Legends of Classic Rock; July 5: Patriotic Pops; July 12: The O’Jays; July 19: Manhattan Transfer; July 25-26: Ohio State University marching band
Performances: Popcorn Pops — (all shows at 7 p.m., pre-concert activities at 5:30 p.m.; a movie screening will follow each concert) June 20: “Gotta Love the Symphony!”; July 18: “Out of This World: Music from Star Wars, Superman and Beyond!”
Parking: $5 (cash only) for underground parking off S. 3rd Street and in City Center garage between E. Main and S. High streets; metered parking nearby
Tickets: $23, or $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
Scioto Downs Racino
Description: A covered pavilion lining the racetrack seats 3,800 for rain-or-shine performances
Location: 6000 S. High St., Columbus (Franklin County)
Performances: (all shows 8 p.m.) May 25: Kenny Rogers; June 27: Josh Turner; July 5: Bret Michaels; Aug. 23: Jamey Johnson
Tickets: $20 to $35
Information: 614-295-4700, www.sciotodowns.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. Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays
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: Lilli Carre: 2014 Graphic Novelist Residency, featuring works in a variety of media including animation, illustration and comics (through June 8); The Art of Matrimony: Thirty Splendid Marriage Contracts From the Jewish Theological Seminary Library, reflecting the geographical diversity of Jewish settlement (through June 15); COLOR, exploring the way artists play, create a mood, or affect viewers’ senses through the use of color (through October); Imagine! The Art of the Picturebook, exploring children’s picturebooks as works of art (June 19 to Nov. 9); Modern Dialect: American Paintings from the John and Susan Horseman Collection, featuring paintings from the 1920s to the beginning of World War II (June 6 through Aug. 31)
Information: 614-221-4848, 614-221-6801, www.columbusmuseum.org
Description: A hands-on science center featuring several permanent exhibits, plus a National Geographic Giant Screen Theater
Location: 333 W. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin County)
Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m. Sundays; Family Friday Nights ($10.95 after 5 p.m. the last Friday of each month)
Admission: $17.95 for those 13 or older, or $16.95 for senior citizens 60 or older, $12.95 for children 2 to 12, free for members; additional fee for movies and some exhibits.
Parking: $5, or $4 for members
Special exhibits: Sherlock Holmes — Using the powers of deduction and cutting-edge 19th-century techniques of forensic science, you can be a super sleuth ($8 additional fee); Adventure: In the Valley of the Unknown — Step inside a mysterious world inside COSI, in which visitors are transported to a remote island where remnants of an ancient culture guard a secret that only you can unlock; National Geographic Giant Screen Theater: Tornado Alley 3-D — Narrated by Bill Paxton (Twister, Titanic), the film trails storm chaser Sean Casey and the scientists of VORTEX2, the largest tornado-research project ever assembled; Pandas: The Journey Home — Follow giant panda Tau Tau from birth to release into the wild.
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: complex hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The gallery is open from 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Admission: free; donations accepted for gallery
Special exhibits: 16th Annual Heritage Concert Series (July 17, 24, 31 and Aug. 7, 14, 21),featuring performances from local, regional, and national musical artists culminating with the Urban Jazz Coalition. Bring a blanket or lawn chair, and enjoy Mayme Moore Park.
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. Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays; 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 exhibits: Going, Going, Gone? Endangered and Extinct Species — Explore how species go from enormously large populations to the brink of extinction (opening July 2 through Jan. 4)
Information: 614-297-2300, 1-800-686-6124, www.ohiohistory.org
Wexner Center for the Arts
Description: The center offers dance, theater 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. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 7 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays
Admission: $8, or $6 for those 55 or older; free for students with a college ID and anyone 18 and younger; free admission from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and on the first Sunday of each month.
Parking: nearby garages
Special exhibits: Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes, original black ink and Zipatone drawings of pages from Ghost World (1997), David Boring (1999), and Wilson (2010), (through Aug. 3); Eye of the Cartoonist: Daniel Clowes’ Selections from Comics History (through Aug 3); Comic Future, featuring the work of 15 contemporary artists (through Aug. 3)
Information: 614-292-3535, www.wexarts.org
Description: An interactive history, science, technology and art learning center for people of all ages
Location: 55 S. 1st St., Newark (Licking County)
Open: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays
Admission: $8, or $6 for those 55 or older, $4 for children 2 to 17, free for children 1 or younger
Parking: free, on-site
Special exhibits: Local Color, featuring pottery, creative wearables, stained glass, paintings and unique jewelry by local artists (through July 12); Story Teller: The Art of the Story Book, including original illustrations by local, regional and nationally known artists (July 25 to Oct. 11)
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 22-25 vs. Durham; May 26-29 vs. Charlotte; May 30-31 vs. Louisville; June 12-15 vs. Scranton; June 16-19 vs. Buffalo; June 30-July 1 vs. Louisville; July 4-5 vs. Toledo; July 6-9 vs. Pawtucket; July 17-20 vs. Indianapolis; July 25-28 vs. Norfolk; July 30-Aug. 1 vs. Louisville; Aug. 11-14 vs. Lehigh Valley; Aug. 18-20 vs. Toledo; Aug. 23-25 vs. Indianapolis; Aug. 31-Sept. 1 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: An original Major League Soccer team in its 19th season, the Crew is playing under first-year sporting director and coach Gregg Berhalter.
Location: Columbus Crew Stadium, 1 Black & Gold Blvd., Columbus (I-71 near E. Hudson Street)
Home games: May 24 vs. Chicago; June 4 vs. Salt Lake; June 28 vs. Dallas; July 16 vs. Kansas City; July 19 vs. Montreal; Aug. 9 vs. Toronto; Aug. 16 vs. LA Galaxy; Aug. 23 vs. Houston; Sept. 7 vs. Chivas USA; Sept. 20 vs. New England; Sept. 27 vs. Montreal; Oct. 26 vs. Philadelphia
Admission: $23 to $50 in advance, $23 to $55 on game day
Parking: $10, on Ohio Expo Center grounds
Tickets/information: available at the Crew office, 614-447-2739; Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000; www.thecrew.com
The Ohio Machine
Description: Ohio’s professional lacrosse team
Location: Selby Stadium, 45 S. Henry St., Delaware (Delaware County)
Home games: June 6 vs. Cannons; June 14 vs. Rattlers; July 4 vs. Bayhawks; July 19 vs. Hounds; July 26 vs. Outlaws; Aug. 9 vs. Launch
Admission: $12 to $18, or $20 on 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 Dr., Dublin (Franklin County)
Dates: May 26 to June 1
Admission: $165 (all-tournament badge), $35 (all three practice rounds); free for 12 or younger when accompanied by paying adult; 18 and younger free on 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
Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship
Description: Part of the Web.com Tour Finals, it precedes the Web.com Tour Championship.
Location: Ohio State University Golf Club, 3605 Tremont Rd., Upper Arlington (Franklin County)
Dates: Sept. 11-14
Admission: $30 (all-week grounds admission), $10 (one-day grounds admission Thursday through Sunday)
Parking: free; “A” parking lot is located off Ackerman Road and Rt. 315; complimentary shuttles will run from one hour before the first tee time to one hour after play ends.
Tickets/information: 614-764-4653, www.ncc-golf.com
Columbus Motor Speedway
Description: A 1/3-mile paved oval track with eight to 10 degrees of banking plays host to weekend warriors and NASCAR pros.
Location: 1841 Williams Rd., Columbus (Franklin County)
Events: NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Saturdays through Sept. 6; May 24: Jegs CRA All-Star Tour; June 21: Hilarious Trailer Races; July 5: Robbie Dean Memorial Series; July 26: 31st Annual John Nuckles Memorial; Aug. 16: Amazing School Bus Figure Eight; Aug. 30: Labor Day Championship; Sept. 13: USAC Midget Tripleheader
Admission: varies per event; children 4 and younger free
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 Blitz Thursday Night Street fights (select Thursdays) and NTR ET Series (select Fridays); May 18: Inaugural Chrysler Power Classic; May 25: NHRA National Dragster Challenge; June 6-8: 2nd Annual NHDRO Motorcycle Madness; June 15: NHRA Summit Junior Dragster Challenge; June 27-29: 15th Annual JEGS Foundation Junior Dragster Buckeye Open; July 11: 17th Annual GoodGuys Friday Night Drags; July 12: 27th Annual Night of Thunder; July 18-20: 13th Annual NHRA Lucas Oil Buckeye Fuel Wars; July 27: UMTR Stick Shift Summer Nationals; Aug. 1-2: 11th Annual Buick Performance Group Nationals; Aug. 8-10: 34th Annual the ’NATS; Aug. 15-16: 3rd Annual OHSAA Cross Country Invitational; Aug. 24: NHRA Summit King of the Track; Aug. 29-31: 36th Annual Ford Expo; Sept. 12-14: 2nd Annual Chevy Perfomance Nationals; Sept. 19: 10th Annual JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals; Sept. 28: 9th Annual Fall Import Face-Off
Parking: free for most events
Tickets/information: available at the gate; 740-928-5706, www.nationaltrailraceway.com
Little Brown Jug
Description: The Jug is the highlight of the Delaware County Fair, bringing top 3-year-old colts to central Ohio for a leg of pacing’s Triple Crown.
Location: 236 Pennsylvania Ave., Delaware
Date: Sept. 18; racing starts at 11 a.m., with Jug races at 3:30 p.m.
Admission: $15, or $6 after 2 p.m., for general admission; or $35 to $240 for reserved seating
Parking: $5, parking passes available; $60 Jug Day permit for Wednesday overnight parking (only available for purchase at the Rt. 23 gate)
Information: 740-362-3851, www.littlebrownjug.com
Scioto Downs Racino
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 through Saturdays (post time 6:30 p.m.), through Sept. 27; simulcasting daily
Information: 614-295-4700, www.sciotodowns.com
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Description: The 87-year-old zoo boasts more than 10,000 animals representing 575 species and sits on 582 acres (140 are developed), plus a golf course and water park.
Location: 4850 W. Powell Rd. (Delaware County)
Big attractions: Heart of Africa! — a new 43-acre region set to open this month will include giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, lions, warthogs, vervet monkeys and guinea fowl. It will be the first time since 2005 that giraffes have been featured at the zoo. . Dinosaur Island, featuring animatronic dinosaurs with movement and sound, will roar its way back to the Australia and the Islands region beginning Memorial Day weekend. Admission for Dinosaur Island 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 those 60 or older (half-price on Tuesdays), $9.99 for children 2 to 9, free for children younger than 2; half-price for Franklin County residents on Wednesdays
Information: 614-645-3550, www.columbuszoo.org