"Ohio is a state that offers an amazing array of diverse, value-laden tourism opportunities, and this year's additions will strengthen that reputation by providing plenty of new, fun-filled travel experiences," said Ohio Tourism Director Amir Eylon.
Visitors seeking an adrenaline adventure can try one of the world's tallest swing rides opening at two of Ohio's amusement parks or dare to zip into the night on a new nighttime zipline tour. The arts and history buffs in the family won't be disappointed either as the Baroque World of Fernando Botero closes out in Ohio and Cleopatra reigns through Labor Day.
"Located within a day's drive of about 60 percent of the U.S. population and with Ohio's reputation for delivering world-class experiences on an affordable budget, Ohio is perfectly situated for travelers seeking a vacation close to home," Eylon said. "No matter your interests, Ohio has a new adventure to enhance your visit in 2011."
Following are just a few highlights of the new exhibits, attractions, events and travel opportunities that make Ohio Too Much Fun For Just One Day! For more information,
check out DiscoverOhio.com, follow us on Twitter @DiscoverOhio, become a fan of the Ohio Tourism Divisionon Facebook or join the conversation on our blog at DiscoveringOhio.com.
WindSeeker - Kings Island, Cincinnati (Opens April 30); Cedar Point, Sandusky (Opens May 14)
Go for an exhilarating spin on WindSeeker, a new thrill ride debuting at both Kings Island and Cedar Point in the 2011 season. WindSeeker is a 301-foot-tall tower that spins riders nearly 30 stories above the ground. Seated in two-person swings that allow their feet to dangle, riders will slowly begin rotating around the tower as the swings ascend to the top. The swings will reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour and flare out 45 degrees from the tower.
Dinosaurs Alive! - Kings Island, Cincinnati (Opens May 26)
Get an up-close look at 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.
African Elephant Crossing at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo - Cleveland (Opens May 5)
Modeled after African savannas, the new exhibit offers a 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. Meerkats, naked mole rats, African rock pythons and a spectacular collection of colorful birds round out the exhibit.
Sports & Recreation
Hocking Hills Canopy Zipline Night Flight - Rockbridge (Beginning in May)
Get acquainted with the night at the new Night Flight Zipline Tours. If you've ever dreamed of zipping in the darkness, this two-hour nocturnal tour, offered on Fridays
and Saturdays beginning in May, is made for you. You'll 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.
Scottish Links Golf Course at Glenlaurel - Rockbridge (Opens in May)
The Scottish Links at Glenlaurel will replicate the links-style courses built in the British Isles hundreds of years ago. This eight-hole, private course will feature
sand greens and tees and pasture-like fairways. It 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
ColumbusFood Adventures - Columbus (Now Open)
If you love to discover new flavors and experience new restaurants, Columbus Food Adventures has a tour for you. In addition to sampling a variety of dishes, the 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.
Baroque World of Fernando Botero - Toledo Museum of Art (Open through June 12)
Colombian artist Fernando Botero, born 1932, works in a broad range of media as he depicts the comedy of human life. More than 100 paintings, sculptures and drawings from Botero's personal collection over the past 50 years are included and on display. Toledo is the final stop (and only stop in the Midwest) for this traveling exhibit.
Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power - Cleveland (Opens May 13)
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will open a radical and provocative new exhibit in May focusing on the key roles women have played in rock and roll, historically and today. The exhibit will fill two entire floors of the museum and 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- Cincinnati (Open through September 5)
The world of Cleopatra, which has been lost to sea and sand for nearly 2,000 years,has resurfaced in a new exhibition, "Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt." The exhibit opened in February at the Cincinnati Museum Center, and the 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 - provide a window into Cleopatra's life and times. Visitors can go inside the present-day search for Cleopatra with underwater footage and photos of archeology teams retrieving displayed artifacts from the ocean, as well as learn about the ongoing search on land for Cleopatra's tomb.
Civil War Sesquicentennial - (Now through 2015)
Ohioans from communities across the state played critical roles in the Civil War, and the sesquicentennial, observed from 2011 through 2015, is an ideal time to learn about and honor those individuals. The recently relocated and renovated American Civil War Museum of Ohioin Tiffin 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 facilities and more than 40 hands-on educational opportunities. 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. The Statehouse has a fantastic hands-on museum featuring an interactive look at Ohio's government and also offers free tours of this architectural