June 2009 Issue
All in the Family
Kids and their parents are eager for summer adventures. They’ll find them —with a side of learning — at events and attractions throughout the state.
By Margaret Phillips and Ilona Westfall
After seemingly endless months of snow and a grueling school year, there’s no doubt that the entire family is ready for a break. Whether you’re looking for a quick day trip or a full weeklong excursion, pack your bags and head out to discover some unique experiences close to home.
History & Heritage
Just because school’s out for the summer doesn’t mean the kids can’t keep learning. Take them to one of Ohio’s many historic locales for a history lesson so fascinating they won’t even realize they’re still feeding their brains.
Start the summer with a trip to Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati for the third annual Major League Baseball Civil Rights Game. The game pits the Cincinnati Reds against the Chicago White Sox on June 20, and follows two days of events highlighting baseball’s impact on the civil rights movement. A roundtable discussion, a youth summit and a spectacular fireworks show are just a few of the events planned. Families on a budget should also watch for half-price Reds tickets for select nights throughout the summer. While you’re at the ballpark, check out the on-site Reds Hall of Fame & Museum. Currently on exhibit is “The Negro Leagues and Cincinnati,” featuring images, period artifacts and rare film footage.
As summer passes, baseball gives way to football, but year-round, Canton offers the perfect chance to see the best in football history at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The annual Enshrinement Festival is a must-attend event for any diehard pigskin fan, especially this year during the American Football League’s 50th anniversary season. The events last a full week, starting on July 31 and culminating in the enshrinement on August 8. Make sure to check out the Balloon Classic Invitational, the parades, the fireworks shows, tailgate parties and the kick-off of the 2009 NFL preseason in the Hall of Fame Game featuring the Buffalo Bills versus the Tennessee Titans.
For those less interested in sports, the sweet history of nearby Harry London Quality Chocolates may be impossible to resist. The Canton factory offers tours, giving visitors the chance to see how their favorite treats are made. The 45-minute guided tour starts with the story of how steelworker Harry London turned family recipes into a booming business in 1922. Afterward, visitors watch the candy-making process from windowed observation rooms above the production floor. Free samples are available and guests can also purchase the famous chocolates, as well as ice cream, in the factory store. The tours run Monday through Friday (except for June 12–July 5) and reservations are required.
Arts & Culture
Broaden your family’s horizons by exposing them to a variety of festivals and events packed with music, food and fun.
The country stars are singing and the barbecue is sizzling in Cincinnati this summer. Families looking for a free concert or two should check out Summerbration, a three-day concert series (June 5–7). Performers include Diamond Rio, Rodney Atkins and James Otto, while the Honky Tonk Tailgate Party on Sunday evening is sure to get everyone dancing and singing along. If the music isn’t enticing enough, the best barbecue from local restaurants will bring you running.
Enjoy more music and warm-weather fun at Red, White and Blue Ash on July 4, with country music star Gretchen Wilson and the region’s biggest fireworks show — set to music.
If you’re a little more rock ’n’ roll than country, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland will have you rocking out to Bruce Springsteen this summer. The exhibit “From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen,” through spring 2010, traces Springsteen’s career and music, from his early bands to his time as a solo artist. Fans won’t want to miss the first major artifact-driven exhibit for this rock legend, which includes several guitars, such as the Fender Esquire on the cover of “Born to Run,” as well as the outfit Springsteen wore on the cover of “Born in the U.S.A.”
Science & Exploration
Families who like their fun just a tad quieter can discover the science behind ancient Egypt and evolution at several special exhibits this summer.
Those interested in an archaeological adventure will want to visit COSI in Columbus to explore its newest exhibit, “Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science.” The interactive exhibit, through Sept. 7, takes visitors from a simulated, modern Egyptian field site into the past of ancient Egypt. Kids can learn about the treasures found in pyramid tombs and even see a real mummy up close. The laboratory shows budding young archaeologists how scientists reveal the secrets of history through the powers of modern technology. Because, who wouldn’t want to be Indiana Jones, even if only for a day?
After learning about mummification, head north to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, which, in celebration of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday, is showing “Surviving: The Body of Evidence,” an exhibit about the evolution process, particularly as it impacts human life. Visitors can touch more than 100 casts of fossil bones and discover the strengths and weaknesses of the human body in light of evolutionary science, June 6–Aug. 30. While you’re at the museum, be sure to spend some quality time with T. rex, a new full-sized replica of the largest and most formidable dinosaur of its time.
For a truly wild time, plan a visit to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, home to nearly 3,000 different species of animals. After exploring the African Savannah, Australian Adventure and Northern Trek, step back in time to visit an animal of an entirely different kind. “Dinosaurs!,” a walk past 18 huge, animatronic dinos — including a 20-foot-tall T. rex — that roar and move, delights kids and adults alike, through Sept. 13. A gentler experience can be had at “Flutter!” — a butterfly exhibit in the zoo’s greenhouse.
If the kids are brimming with energy, head to northwest Ohio and Time Warner Cable’s KidsFest at the Riverbend in Findlay on July 23. The activities include inflatable bouncers, face painting, a Boonshoft discovery zone, COSI on Wheels and other kid-friendly attractions. If the youngsters are hungry after all that playing, stop by the Old Millstream Farmers’ Market and pick up some fresh, local produce for a snack. Wind down with Rally in the Alley, every Friday evening June 12–July 31, in downtown Findlay. The event is the perfect way to relax after all the sun and excitement, while listening to music and enjoying great food.
While you’re in the northwest area of the state, rest your head at The Inn at Ohio Northern University, on the college’s campus in Ada. The inn offers elegant yet family-friendly accommodations sure to please exhausted travelers. On Friday nights, the inn offers live jazz performances on its fountain-adorned courtyard. Kick back with the kids on the patio and enjoy the sounds of jazz combos, pianists and student musicians. If you’re looking for something more fast-paced, the inn is conveniently located near the Ohio National Championship Motorcycle Races in Lima, taking place on June 27. Motor on over and join the thousands who attend each year to see action-packed racing.
When You Go...
For more information on family field trips, contact the following:
Canton/Stark County Convention & Visitors’ Bureau 330/454-1439. www.visitcantonstark.com
Cincinnati USA 859/581-2260.www.cincinnatiusa.com
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo 216/661-6500.
Cleveland Museum of Natural History 216/231-4600.
Findlay/Hancock County Visitor’s Bureau 419/422-3315.
Great American Ball Park 513/765-7000.
Harry London Quality Chocolates 800/321-0444.
The Inn at Ohio Northern University 866/713-4513.
Northern Cincinnati Convention & Visitors’ Bureau 866/55CINCY. www.cincynorth.com
Pro Football Hall of Fame 330/456-8207.