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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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Toledo Zoo
The Toledo Zoo is recognized as one of the world’s most complete zoos, and one of the region’s top family destinations. It boasts over 6,000 mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and invertebrates representing more than 750 species, and innovative exhibits also get visitors up-close to many of your favorites.

Each year, nearly one million people visit the zoo to experience the wonders of the natural world, stroll the scenic grounds and explore the historic WPA-era buildings. Zoo highlights include the Arctic Encounter, the Africa! exhibit, Nature’s Neighborhood children’s area, the Tembo Trail, and the new Australian-themed Wild Walkabout, which runs through Sept. 2.

Wild Walkabout will lead visitors through a journey that will bring them face-to-face with some of the world’s most unusual reptiles, birds, mammals and fish, including a saltwater crocodile, death adder, coastal taipan, green tree python, kookaburra and wallaby.
2 Hippo Way, Toledo
419-385-4040, www.toledozoo.org


Toledo Museum of Art
Experience one of the finest and most diverse collections of artwork in the country at the Toledo Museum of Art. Discover treasures ranging from ancient Egypt to contemporary art, including glass, sculpture, European and American painting, African and Asian art, graphic arts and decorative arts.

Other highlights include the Sculpture Garden outside and the architecturally renowned Glass Pavilion, located across Monroe Street.
2445 Monroe St., Toledo
419-255-8000 or 800-644-6862, www.toledomuseum.org


Imagination Station Toledo
Ready to experience the unexpected? Explore the exciting? Imagination Station – Toledo’s hands-on science museum – promises to immerse visitors of every age in a multi-sensory experience that’s as fun as it is educational.  

Defy gravity as you ride the High Wire Cycle 20 feet above the atrium; or visit the Learning Worlds designed to focus on a specific science genre – Energy Factory, Mind Zone, Water Works, Little Kidspace, and more. A number of special exhibits and events are planned throughout the year, including “Grossology, The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body,” which runs through Sept. 2.
One Discovery Way, Toledo
419-244-2674, www.imaginationstationtoledo.org


Toledo Botanical Garden
Originally consisting of 20 acres donated by George P. Crosby to the City of Toledo, Toledo Botanical Garden now encompasses more than 60 acres of beauty, tranquility and opportunities for exploration and reflection. It is currently a public/private partnership between Metroparks and the non-profit Toledo Botanical Garden Board, Inc. in collaboration with the City of Toledo.

A living museum for plants, Toledo Botanical Garden’s notable gardens include shade,  perennial, English border, aquatic, herb, rose, dahlia and grass, among others.

Special events include the Crosby Festival of the Arts (June 29-30), summertime jazz concerts, Peter Navarre Day (Sept. 8) and Heralding the Holidays (Dec. 6-8).
5403 Elmer Dr. Toledo
419-536-5566, www.toledogarden.org


Tony Packo’s Café
Tony Packo’s is famous for its Hungarian-style hot dogs, for its hot dog buns signed by movie stars, other celebrities and U .S. Presidents and for its frequent mention by Toledo’s Jamie Farr on the TV series M*A*S*H*.

In addition to the flagship eatery, Packo’s has a location across from Fifth Third Field, home of the Toledo Mud Hens.
1902 Front St., Toledo
800-366-4218, www.tonypackos.com
 

Hollywood Casino Toledo
Penn National Gaming extends the red carpet to Hollywood Casino Toledo, located just off I-75 on the banks of the Maumee River.

The casino, which opened last year, offers 2,000 slot machine and table game positions, a sports bar, restaurants and an entertainment lounge.
777 Hollywood Blvd., Toledo
www.hollywoodcasinotoledo.com


The Butterfly House
Hundreds of live butterflies from North America, Central America and Asia can be seen in a beautiful indoor garden setting. Open May-August Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m.; September Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m. and weekends noon-5 p.m. in October.
11455 Obee Rd., Whitehouse
419-877-2733, www.butterfly-house.com 


Sandpiper Boat
The 100-passenger canal boat replica cruises upriver past elegant estates and yacht clubs, or down river toward Lake Erie. Special cruises include “Discover the River,” “Fall Color,” “Sunset and City Lights” and “Halloween Rides for Kids.”


Promenade Park
Jefferson Avenue & Water Street, Toledo
419-537-1212, www.sandpiperboat.com 


Sundance Kid Drive-In
Spend an evening under the stars at the Sundance Kid Drive-in, located across from Pearson Park. First-run films are offered on two screens April through October. The 50’s-style drive-in has all the nostalgia and the best in FM Stereo sound. Concession stand and the Butch Cassidy Canteen, a concession wagon is available.

Admission prices are $8.75 per adult and $3.75 each for children 6-12. (Children ages 5 and under are free.)
4500 Navarre, Oregon
419-691-9668, www.greateasterntheatres.com


Green spaces
• Metroparks of the Toledo Area preserves many of Lucas County’s most unique natural areas, from the Oak Openings to the Lake Erie coastal zone.

 Locally, Pearson Metropark, located at 761 Lallendorf Rd., Oregon, is one of the last remaining stands of the Great Black Swamp, a notorious forest that once blanketed much of Northwest Ohio. The thick woods and location close to Lake Erie make Pearson a favorite stopover for a wide variety of migrating birds.

Pearson includes picnic areas, a playground, ball diamonds, a soccer field, tennis courts, walking trails, historical WPA buildings and bridges and more. Pioneers of all ages are invited to enjoy the Johlin Black Swamp Cabin, where they learn about home life in the 1800s.

Open 7 a.m. until dark every day; extended hours for winter recreation.

Metroparks of the Toledo Area
419-407-9700, www.metroparkstoledo.com
• Maumee Bay State Park 1400 State Park Rd., in Oregon and Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center, 1750 State Park Rd., offer not only the finest of recreational facilities but also a unique natural environment created by the convergence of the land and Lake Erie.

The balance of recreational facilities with the natural world gives visitors a diverse experience in a coastal environment.

The lodge, cottages and golf course are nestled among scenic meadows, wet woods and lush marshes teeming with wildlife. Visitors can enjoy a two-mile elevated boardwalk plus an observation tower, lakeshore and inland beaches, a marina, a golf course, campground sites, a sledding hill and more.
1-800-282-7275 (Lodge reservations)
419-836-7758 (Park office)
www.maumeebaystateparklodge.org

• The Wood County Park District oversees several park facilities in the county, including Cedar Creeks Preserve, a 42-acre tract located east of Walbridge where Woodville Road (SR 51) crosses Walbridge Road. The park is an excellent example of the former Black Swamp that once covered a large portion of Northwest Ohio and includes hiking trails, a footbridge, picnic tables, restrooms and an information kiosk.

William Henry Harrison Park, located in Pemberville along the Portage River, offers picnic areas, an open-air shelter, playground, hiking trails, and a large open field for a variety of uses.
419-353-1897, woodcountyparkdistrict.org.
• The Sandusky County Park District operates 10 facilities, including the 93-acre Wolf Creek Park, 160-acre Blue Huron Reserve, the Mull Covered Bridge, the 310-acre Creek Ben Farm and others. White Star Park, located south of Gibsonburg on SR 300, has a quarry up to 40 feet deep that is used by scuba divers throughout the region as well as for non-power boating and fishing; a beach with changing rooms and a concession stand, and a campground located across from the park’s main entrance that has electric and water hookups and primitive campsites on a reservation basis.

In addition, the park offers picnic tables, grills, well water, restrooms, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, playfield, nature trails, mountain bike trails, shelters, day camp area and more.

419-334-4495, 1-888-200-5577, www.lovemyparks.com

• East Harbor State Park, 1169 N. Buck Rd off SR 269 in Marblehead, on the shores of Lake Erie. The park has unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation. Boating, fishing, swimming, picnicking and camping are popular while nature enthusiasts will enjoy the abundance of waterfowl, shorebirds and other species of wildlife found in the park’s scenic wetlands.
419-734-4424, 1-866-644-6727 (camp reservations), www.eastharborstatepark.org

• Marblehead Lighthouse State Park, 110 Lighthouse Dr., Marblehead. One of Lake Erie’s best known and most-photographed landmarks, the lighthouse is one of Ohio’s newest state parks. The grounds surrounding the lighthouse offer excellent picnicking and views of Lake Erie, Sandusky Bay, Kelleys Island, South Bass Island and Cedar Point. The park is open year-round.

The Keeper’s House, the oldest surviving home in Ottawa County, offers visitors the chance to experience the history of lighthouse keepers. The 1822 home was the residence of the first three keepers of the oldest continually operated lighthouse on the Great Lakes.  
419-734-4424 ext. 2, dnr.state.oh.us/parks


Schedel Arboretum
The Schedel Arboretum was home to Joseph and Marie Schedel for more than 50 years before opening to the public in 1991.

The arboretum has more than 17 scenic acres that border along the Portage River just outside of Elmore. See gardens of nearly 20,000 annuals, roses, perennials, irises and lilies, including a Japanese garden complete with Torii, waterfall, pools, lanterns, bridges and a pagoda. A number of special exhibits and events are planned throughout the year, including exhibits in the Trellis Gallery, which has become a showcase for local artists. Group tours of the grounds and mansion are available by appointment.

Regular hours May-October, Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday 12-4 p.m. Closed Mondays. A number of special events are held throughout the year.
19255 W. Portage River South Rd., Elmore
419-862-3182, www.schedel-gardens.org


Religious sites
Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto
The grotto at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Genoa is constructed of “tufa,” fossilized vegetation found in the “blue hole” at Castilia, O. A ground-level statue of a praying Saint Bernadette Souberious looks up admiringly at Our Lady. The grounds include a small altar, an adjoining bell tower of tufa, arches and outdoor Stations of the Cross in hand-carved Italian bronze. 
204 S. Main St., Genoa, 419-855-8501

Our Lady of Toledo Shrine
Our Lady of Toledo Shrine is a place of prayer, quiet reflection and healing. All faiths are welcome. The garden and well are open during daylight hours. 
655 S. Coy Rd., Oregon, 419-697-7742
Holy Rosary Cathedral

Visitors will be moved by the beauty of the cathedral’s Old World style, and by the visual strength of its symbol as the primary church of Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo. The cathedral is Spanish Plateresque in design – the only one of its kind in North America. Thousands have been inspired by the graceful beauty of its piers and arches; by the richly decorated nave ceiling with scenes from the Old Testament, the half-domed apse embellished by frescoes in the Keim process, and by one of its most striking gems, the Rose Window, which sparkles and radiates in the changing light of the eastern sun.
2535 Collingwood Blvd., Toledo
419-244-9575, rosarycathedral.org

Sorrowful Mother Shrine
The Sorrowful Mother Shrine’s 120-acre grounds feature 40 points of interest including grottos, Sorrowful Mother Chapel, Pieta Outdoor Chapel, plus the Stations of the Cross. Founded in 1850, the original shrine is the oldest place of pilgrimage dedicated to Mary in the Midwest.

Cafeteria, picnic area and gift shop available. Handicap-accessible. There is no cost, however freewill offerings are accepted.

Chapel open daily 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Gift shop open daily.
4106 SR 269, Bellevue
419-483-3435, www.sorrowfulmothershrine.org


African Safari Park
African Safari drive-through safari is home to more than 400 of the world’s most beautiful and exotic animals.

Safari fun also includes camel and pony rides, entertaining and educational animal shows, “Pork Chop Downs” pig races, a gift shop, picnic facilities, a snack bar and café and grill.

Open through Dec. 1 (subject to change). Open daily rain or shine.
267 S. Lightner Rd., Port Clinton
800-521-2660, www.africansafariwildlifepark.com


Cedar Point
Cedar Point has been voted “The Best Amusement Park in the World” by “Amusement Today” readers for 15 years running,    In 2013, Cedar Point debuted the GateKeeper coaster – record-breaking winged roller coaster that boasts the longest drop of any winged roller coaster on the planet. The park also features more than 70 rides, 16 of which are coasters including Millennium Force, which holds the title of number one steel coaster on the planet, plus four children's areas, an ice-skating extravaganza, Dinosaurs Alive!, Luminosity light show, and musical entertainment.

Overnight guests enjoy convenient resort accommodations within walking distances to the park from the historic beachfront Hotel Breakers to an RV campground.

In September and October, HalloWeekends offer even more screams as amusement park thrills combine with spooky chills for family-friendly fun during the day and terrifying nighttime frights.

Open through Sept. 2 daily, then weekends (Fri. evenings, Sat. & Sun.) through Oct. 27.
1 Cedar Point Dr., Sandusky
419.627.2350, cedarpoint.com


Cedar Point’s Castaway Bay
Castaway Bay indoor waterpark resort features liquid fun for the whole family in a tropical island setting. Adventures include a wave pool, water coaster, slides, kiddie water play areas, and children's activities, including a visit from Snoopy and his Peanuts friends.  The resort also has a day spa, state-of-the-art arcade, restaurants, and retail shops. Overnight guests also enjoy early entry and ticket discounts for Cedar Point, in season.
2001 Cleveland Rd. (US 6), Sandusky
877-FUN-SPLASH, www.castawaybay.com


Soak City
An 18-acre outdoor waterpark located on a Lake Erie beach next to Cedar Point. Soak City features Dragster H2O, a towering multi-lane mat racer; Splash Zone, a huge bucket and multi-story interactive water play area with tipping bucket; a half-million-gallon wave pool; Zoom Flume raft ride; tube slides; a wild inner tube river and a relaxing, meandering river. Choo-Choo Lagoon and Tadpole Town offer fun for little ones. Eerie Falls plunges riders into dark tunnels, and Adventure Cove is a great place for parents and children to play. For adults only, there's Bubbles Swim-Up Bar and adjacent hot tub.

Soak City guests also enjoy the Cedar Point Beach. Open daily through Labor Day.
1 Cedar Point Dr., (off US 6) Sandusky
419-627-2350, www.cedarpoint.com.


Challenge Park
Located between Cedar Point and Soak City, Challenge Park activity complex features the RipCord Skycoaster, two go-kart tracks, miniature golf and Skyscraper, a thrilling ride that spins riders in a circular motion 16 stories above the ground at speeds of 55 mph.

Admission to Cedar Point or Soak City not required. Each attraction has a separate fee.

Open daily through Sept. 2 and weekends through Oct. 27.
1 Cedar Point Dr., (off US 6), Sandusky
419-627-2350, www.cedarpoint.com


Ghostly Manor Thrill Center
Experience four attractions in one location, including the scariest haunted house you’ll ever encounter, the fastest virtual roller coaster in Ohio, a one-of-a-kind interactive 3D blacklight mini-golf journey and a skating rink. In December, visit the Winter Wonderland walk-through. Open year-round. Call for hours.
3319 Milan Rd. (US 250), Sandusky
419-626-4467, ghostlymanor.com


Glacial Grooves
The world’s largest accessible glacial grooves, these scars in the limestone bedrock were carved 18,000 years ago by the ice sheet that covered part of North America. Fencing now protects this National Natural Landmark. A walkway and stairs permit visitors a good view of the grooves. Open year-round during daylight hours.
Division Street, Kelleys Island
ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/places/nw08


Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge is an all-suites, full-service, family destination indoor waterpark resort featuring a Northwoods atmosphere and family-friendly amenities including a 41,000-square-foot indoor entertainment area featuring a grand-scale waterpark, spacious outdoor pool, arcade, fitness room, kids’ arts and crafts center, family restaurants, gift shop and performing Great Clock Tower.
4600 Milan Rd. (US 250), Sandusky
800-641-WOLF (9653), www.greatwolf.com/sandusky/waterpark


Kalahari Resort
At Kalahari resort, visitors can surf indoors 365 days a year or take on the Zip Coaster uphill water roller coaster.

The resort also offers a spa and salon, The Candy Hut, The Ivory Coast Lounge, Great Karoo Marketplace Restaurant, Zakanaka Kids clothing and toy shop, Madagascar Indoor Glow Golf, Safari Adventures and more. Catch some rays at Kalahari’s outdoor pool complex from Memorial Day through Labor Day (weather permitting). Call for day pass information.
7000 Kalahari Dr. (off US 250), Sandusky
877-KALAHARI(525.2427), www.KalahariResorts.com/oh


Monsoon Lagoon Waterpark
Monsoon Lagoon waterpark and family entertainment complex features aquatic adventures including six waterslides, a lazy river, an adult pool with swim-up Tiki bar, and Adventure Island Tree House with 17 levels.

Miniature golf, bumper boats, grand prix cars and a gaming arcade round out a day of family fun. Open through Sept. 2.
Routes 2 & 269 (1530 S. Danbury Rd), Port Clinton
 419-732-6671, monsoonlagoonwaterpark.com


Seneca Caverns
Visitors to “The Caviest Cave” can walk natural stone steps and pathways through “the earth crack” and past the Ole Mist’ry River. Pan for gemstones at Seneca Mining Company.

The Caverns are open seven days a week Memorial Day through Labor Day, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The last tour departs one hour before close.

During the months of May (prior to Memorial Day), September (after Labor Day) and to mid-October, the caverns are open weekends (Saturday and Sunday) only from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The last tour departs one hour before close. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, daily hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m., rain or shine.
15248 E. Twp. Rd. 178 (off SR 269 S), Bellevue 419-483-6711
senecacavernsohio.com


Lakeside Chautauqua
Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, Lakeside, the Chautauqua on Lake Erie, is a family destination that has pioneered the act of nurturing mind, body, and spirit for more than 135 years. Spiritual, educational, cultural, and recreational  opportunities are available. For a complete list of weekly themes and topics, visit www.lakesideohio.com/education.
236 Walnut Ave., Lakeside
866-952-5374, www.lakesideohio.com


Lake Erie IslandsPut-in-Bay/South Bass Island
The Victorian-era village of Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island has been attracting visitors for nearly 150 years. Hundreds of thousands travel to Put-in-Bay annually to enjoy family fun activities, outdoor recreation and a large variety of special events.

Many begin with a narrated tour on the Island Tour Train. For those wishing to go at their own pace, there are golf carts, scooters and bicycles to rent. Families will find plenty to keep the kids entertained including a butterfly house, miniature golf, gem mining, cave tours, arcades, a carousel and go-kart racing. History enthusiasts won’t want to miss Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial.

2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie, and Put-in-Bay will take center stage for a year-long series of activities. The peak of the celebration will be Labor Day weekend, when more than a dozen tall ships will participate in a re-enactment of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's historic victory over the British fleet. Festivities will also include commemorative ceremonies, ship tours, day sails, educational programs, musical entertainment, and more.
419-285-2832, visitputinbay.com


Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial
The nation’s third-tallest memorial structure, the 352-foot tall column commemorates Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory over the British during the War of 1812, and the lasting peace between the U.S., England and Canada since that time. The visitor’s center features displays, a video theater, ranger talks and interpretive programs offered free of charge and a gift shop. For operating hours for the Visitor Center and Memorial Observation Deck, call or see website.
93 Delaware Ave., Put-in-Bay
419-285-2184, nps.gov/pevi


Heineman’s Winery
Founded in 1888, Ohio’s oldest family-owned winery offers tours, a tasting room and wine garden with light snacks. Tours include a visit to Crystal Cave, the world’s largest recorded geode, located directly below the winery. Tours offered daily through Sept. 25, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Winery open daily now through late October, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., except Sunday, when opening time is at noon.
978 Catawba Ave., Put-in-Bay
419-285-2811,www.heinemanswinery.com


Kelleys Island
Most commonly explored by foot, bike, golf cart, and/or kayak, Ohio’s largest island offers fun and adventure for all ages, including 600 acres of state park lands, 17 miles of coastline, beautiful wildflowers, nature trails, a fossil-filled quarry, and wetlands that are admired by nature-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

The downtown district that offers shopping and entertainment, as well as dining and drinking establishments. A high concentration of historic homes and buildings has earned Kelleys Island a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

A lakefront campground and sandy beach attract most visitors in summer, while spring birding and fall Monarch butterfly migrations are popular seasonal events.
www.kelleysislandchamber.com


Lake Erie Islands Hist. Museum
Displays include more than 65 ship models; the South Bass Island Lighthouse Fresnel lens; and artifacts from the Battle of Lake Erie, island life and the Ford Tri-Motor and great hotel eras. There is a theatre, research library and bookstore. Hours (subject to change) June and September daily 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; July and August 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and October weekends 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
25 Town Hall Place, Put-in-Bay
419-285-2804, leihs.org


Island hopping
Jet Express
The Jet-Express offers high-speed passenger ferry service from Port Clinton to downtown Kelleys Island and Put-in-Bay. Ride in the comfortable passenger cabin or on the open-air sundeck. Late-night service, evening discounts, child rates and group tour rates available. Skip the ticket counter and purchase tickets online.

See a complete schedule at www.jet-express.com.
3 N. Monroe St., Port Clinton
800-245-1538


Miller Ferries
Passenger/vehicle ferries operate round-trip between the northern tip of the Catawba Peninsula and Put-in-Bay or Middle Bass Island. Summer trips to Put-in-Bay run every half hour with limited free parking and value/group fares available. ADA accessible.

Visit the website for ferry schedules, island coupons, and event information.
5174 E. Water St. (SR 53 North), Port Clinton
800-500-2421, www.millerferry.com

Ebola outbreak

Are you worried about the possible Ebola outbreak in the United States?
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