More than 300 masterpieces of American decorative arts will be on display at the Toledo Museum of Art beginning May 24.
The exhibition, Collecting at Winterthur: Henry Francis du Pont’s American Vision features work from several eras in American history.
Among the periods featured: Early Settlement and Sophistication, which explores works from early colonial settlers; East Meets West artwork from China as well as from European artists who interpreted Oriental motifs into their own work; and the Arts of the Pennsylvania Germans, featuring pottery, quilts and painted chests created and decorated by German settlers.In conjunction with the exhibit, which ends September 7, the museum will offer several programs, presentations and hands on activities.
The museum also displays over 35,000 pieces of artwork on a regular basis including paintings and sculptures by such luminaries in the art world as van Gogh, Rembrandt, Degas and Picasso. The museum has over 35 galleries, a Sculpture Garden, and an impressive glass collection housed across the street at its architecturally praised Glass Pavilion.
The Toledo Museum of Art is located at 2445 Monroe St. at Scottwood Avenue, just off I-75 in Toledo. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Admission to the museum and most exhibits is free, though special exhibitions or events may require a ticket be purchased. For more info, call 419-255-8000 or 1-800-644-6862, or visit www.toledomuseum.org.
Mudpuppies, Vietnamese Mossy Frogs, Slimy Salamanders, Aquatic caecilian and Spring Creepers are just a few of the interesting and exotic creatures you can find at the Toledo Zoo during the Amazing Amphibians exhibit. Open to the public May 16, the exhibit allows visitors to see and hear the wide variety of amphibians as well as learn about their protection and conservation.
The Toledo Zoo is also home to elephants, polar bears, hippos, apes, giraffe and more. The zoo is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. now through Labor Day and till 4 p.m. afterwards to April 30.
The cost is $10 for adults, $7 for children ages 2-11 and seniors ages 60 and up. Parking is $5 per vehicle in lots off the Anthony Wayne Trail or Broadway, but free in the Trail lot with zoo membership card. For more info, call 419-385-3721 or visit www.toledozoo.org.
The zoo will again host its annual summer concert season at its open-air amphitheater. Concerts for the 2008 season begin at 7:30 p.m. and include Three Doors Down May 23, Stevie Nicks June 25, Weird Al Yankovich July 6 and Earth, Wind and Fire July 23. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations, charge by phone at 419-474-1333, online at www.livenation.com, or at the zoo box office the night of the event.
Kids discover a new planet
Cedar Point's littlest visitors can have exciting adventures on Planet Snoopy, the newest “out of this world” area at the Sandusky amusement park with the most rides and most roller coasters in the nation.
The last several years has been construction of one new roller coaster after another in the off season, but for 2008 park officials decided to focus their attention on the little ones. Planet Snoopy features seven rides—including a mini-tea cup-style ride, miniature train, 4 x 4 trucks, a bouncing tower, spinning balloons, rocket ships and a crazy sub ride. Kids can also enjoy games and special live appearances by the PEANUTS characters. For convenience, Planet Snoopy’s 1.25 acres will also house a family center with changing stations and private areas to feed children in a quiet atmosphere.
Cedar Point will be open daily May 10 through Labor Day, and for frightfully fun HalloWeekends Sept. 12-Nov. 2. For more info about hours and ticket prices for 2008 at Cedar Point, as well as Soak City water park and the Challenge Park entertainment complex, call 419-627-2350 or visit www.cedarpoint.com.
Flicks under the stars
A ticket to see a movie at one of those giant metro complexes? $10 or more. Renting two DVD movies, assuming you can find what you want at the video store on a weekend? About $8 plus tax.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly alternative, first-run movies and a chance at a piece of nostalgia, drive over to the Sundance Kid Drive-In at 4500 Navarre Ave. in Oregon. Tickets for 2008 are $7.50 per adult and $3 each for children 6-12. (Children ages 5 and under are free.). For more info on current showings or other info, call 419-691-9668.
On safari – in your car
Wild animals from A(lpacas) to Z(ebras) roam free on more than 100 acres at the African Safari Wildlife Park, located at 267 Lightner Rd. off SR 2 just outside Port Clinton.
Visitors can drive through part of the preserve and feed the animals from their vehicles with the free bucket of food provided with admission. You can visit the drive-thru as many times as you like and additional buckets of food may be purchased. Then park and walk-through Safari Junction, where you can see educational programs, watch pig races, and ride a camel or a pony at no additional charge (weight and height restrictions apply; pony ride is between Memorial Day and Labor Day.)
Full park operations are in effect for the 2008 season from May 24 through Sept. 1 (Labor Day). Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., rain or shine, with the last vehicle admitted at 6 p.m. Extended weekend dates are in effect May 10-11 and 17-18 and Sept. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28.
Admission prices during the summer season are $16.95 per person for those ages 7 and up and $10.95 for children ages 3-6. Seniors age 62 years and older and military personnel get $3 off the regular admission price (with ID).
Food concessions are available or you can pack a picnic lunch. For more info, call 1-800-521-2660 or visit www.africansafariwildlifepark.com.
Gardens fit to be Eden
Two major public gardens operate in the Maumee Bay region:
The Schedel Arboretum and Gardens, located at 19255 W. Portage River South Rd.,
in Elmore is an estate that belonged to German immigrant Joseph Schedel and his wife, Marie. The couple moved into the Victorian home in 1934 (it was built in 1888), and lovingly began developing the lush grounds into an arboretum and gardens. The Victorian home houses treasures from the Schedels’ extensive travels, including a Hereke silk prayer rug, antique Persian rugs, teak furniture and Japanese silk embroideries. Enjoy the brilliance offered by nearly 20,000 annuals while strolling through a variety of gardens including, Japanese, rose, water, iris, perennial, etc. See nearly 1,000 different species, many rare and unusual. The facility is open daily -- except Mondays -- May 1 through October 31 for self-guided tours. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Guided tours, which include a walk through the mansion, are available by appointment. For info, call 419-862-3182 or visit www.schedel-gardens.org.
The world’s largest collection of lithopanes – a three-dimensional porcelain art casting that shows off its colors when illuminated – is among the colorful displays that can be found at the Toledo Botanical Garden, located at 5403 Elmer Dr. off Holland-Sylvania Road in Toledo. The garden is host to several major events each year, including the Crosby Festival of the Arts – one of Ohio’s largest outdoor juried art shows. The 43rd annual show in 2008 will be held June 28 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and June 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The facility also hosts Jazz in the Garden July 10, 17, 24 and Aug. 7, 14, 21. The garden is open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 8 p.m. April through September. Garden hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from October through March. For more info, call 419-936-2986 or visit www.toledogarden.org.
Ohio offers some of the best birding sites in the country, particularly along the Lake Erie shoreline. Ohio state parks, nature preserves, forests and wildlife areas are spectacular locations to view many species of birds including bald eagles, owls, waterfowl and shorebirds.
Prime birdwatching locations for year-round enjoyment
• Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area and its neighboring Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Lucas and Ottawa counties are recognized among the nation’s premier birding destinations. They offer thousands of acres along the western Lake Erie shoreline, and are ideal for viewing the spring migration activities of warblers, tanagers, orioles and grosbeaks. A handicap-accessible boardwalk, the Magee Marsh Bird Trail, winds through marshlands reminiscent of what was once the Great Black Swamp. Birders gather and compare sightings at the Sportsmen’s Migratory Bird Center. Visit www.dnr.ohio.gov/wildlife/resources/wbirds/birding0404.htm for info.
Kelleys Island, located just north of Sandusky (east of Toledo), attracts birds from as far north as the Arctic Circle and serves as one of the steppingstones for birds migrating north across Lake Erie to Point Pelee, Canada. A 20-minute ferry ride north across Lake Erie from Marblehead, Ohio, Kelleys Island offers a diverse habitat and 8,000 acres for birders. The island also offers rocky shorelines, pristine beaches, lush forests, fragrant vineyards and historical homes, plus a downtown that offers shopping and entertainment. For more info, visit www.kelleysislandnature.com or contact the Kelleys Island Chamber of Commerce at 419-746-2360.
The Lake Erie Wing Watch region, located between Oak Harbor and Lorain, is home to more than 300 bird species, including majestic bald eagles, colorful migratory warblers and great blue herons. For more information visit www.lakeeriewingwatch.com or call the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau at 800-441-1271.
East Harbor State Park in Ottawa County (north of Sandusky) with its scenic wetlands is sure to offer nature enthusiasts an abundance of wildlife to view including ducks, geese, gulls, terns and other migratory waterfowl. For details visit www.dnr.ohio.gov/parks/parks/eastharbor.htm.
Maumee Bay State Park in Lucas County offers a spectacular two-mile elevated boardwalk through prime birding habitat including swamplands and marsh, as well as an observation tower. The park’s scenic meadows, woods and marshes are teeming with wildlife. Visit www.coastalohio.com for photos and additional information on the park and its surrounding area.
General information on Ohio birds can be found by visiting the Ohio Ornithological Society’s Web site at www.ohiobirds.org. While birding in Ohio, visitors will find a number of overnight accommodations to choose from, including the great state park lodges, area bed and breakfasts for families and couples, inns, cabins and hotels. For more information about Ohio lodging, dining, shopping, and more, visit www.DiscoverOhio.com. Ohio’s comprehensive travel-planning Web site or call 1-800-BUCKEYE.
Timing is everything
There are many popular dining places in the Maumee Bay region, too numerous, in fact to mention them all. You can never go wrong with fresh Lake Erie perch and walleye. One of Toledo’s best ethnic restaurants with a national reputation, Tony Packo’s, has opened a location next to Fifth Third Field in downtown Toledo. Called Packo’s by the Park, it is just across the street from the ballyard.
Of course, the local restaurant still has its flagship restaurant at Front and Consaul streets in the Hungarian neighborhood of Birmingham in East Toledo. While you’re waiting for your famous Packo’s dogs with the special sauce, take a look around.
Over the years, hundreds of famous celebrities and VIPs have visited Packo’s and participated in the tradition of signing a hot dog “bun,” which is then mounted on a special plaque on the wall. Because the real bread buns deteriorated over the years, Packo’s uses a Styrofoam-like bun now to preserve the signatures of their famous clientele.
Actor Burt Reynolds first came up with the idea of signing a hot dog bun during a stop there in 1972. After performing in “The Rainmaker” in Toledo, Nancy Horvath Packo invited him over to the Consaul Street location for some food in a letter she left at his hotel. Two nights later, he showed up and began the tradition.
The restaurant’s biggest break came when Toledo native Jamie Farr mentioned the restaurant on the hit TV show M*A*S*H and ordered takeout food from there on an episode of the popular comedy. The rest, as they say, is history. For info, call 419-691-6054.
Religious points of interest
Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto 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 idea for the grotto in Genoa resulted from Archbishop Karl Alter’s visit to the Lourdes Grotto in France in 1932. While at the shrine, the Archbishop promised the Blessed Mother to make Lourdes even better known by constructing a replica of the original Grotto in his own diocese. In 1934, the Bishop chose Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Genoa as the site for the shrine. It was completed and dedicated Sept. 8, 1934 -- the birthday anniversary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The grounds include a small altar, an adjoining bell tower of tufa, arches and outdoor Stations of the Cross in hand-carved Italian bronze. Our Lady of Lourdes is located at 204 S. Main St. Tour groups are welcome. For info: 419-855-8501.
Sorrowful Mother Shrine, located at 4106 SR 269 in Bellevue, is the oldest place of pilgrimage dedicated to Mary in the Midwest. The grounds hold 40 points of interest including grottos, Sorrowful Mother Chapel, Pieta Outdoor Chapel, plus the 14 Stations of the Cross. Public and private pilgrimages are made year round. Cafeteria, picnic area and gift shop available. Open dawn to dusk. Masses are held at 11 a.m. weekdays, Saturdays at 4 p.m., and Sundays at 9 and 11 a.m. Confessions available half hour before all masses. For info, call 419-483-3435 or visit www.sorrowfulmothershrine.com.
Our Lady of Toledo Shrine, 655 S. Coy Rd., Oregon. The garden and well are open during daylight hours. Chapel is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. A daily rosary and prayer service are held at 2 p.m. in the chapel. For more info on this and other shrine activities, call 419-697-7742 or 1-888-791-0990 or visit www.protect-life.org.
The Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral, 2535 Collingwood Blvd. Toledo, is the only Plateresque (architectural style of 16th century Spain) cathedral in the world. It features layers of paintings and frescos of saints and angels reaching to the ceiling, a magnificent stained glass rose window and mosaic altars. The cathedral, which is the seat of the Catholic Church for the Diocese of Toledo, has ornate statues and carvings on both the inside and out. For more info, call 419-244-9575.
On the waterfront
A few miles away at International Park in East Toledo is The Docks restaurant complex, which features a combination of several restaurants, including Cousino’s Navy Bistro, Eileen’s Wine Bar, Tango’s Mexican Cantina, Zia’s Italian, Real Seafood and Dockside Grille. All offer a spectacular view of the Maumee River and the downtown skyline.
Outside, the riverwalk currently extends from a boat basin near the entrance of International Park to the S.S. Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship, a restored Great Lakes freighter open for public tours. Formerly known as the Col. James M. Schoonmaker, the Boyer was the largest and most well endowed ship of its time when it was built in 1911. The vessel now operates as a floating museum, and is open May 1 through Oct. 31 seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Info: www.willisbboyer.org or 419-936-3070.
Visitors and area residents – particularly schoolchildren or adults with children celebrating birthday parties – like to take a cruise along the Maumee on the Sandpiper Canal Boat, a replica of a flat-bottomed canal boat that offers lunch and dinner cruises, private charters and special event cruises. The 100-passenger Sandpiper operates from May through October, departing from its dock at the foot of Jefferson Street in Promenade Park on the downtown side of the river. Special cruises, including Sunset & City Lights, Discover the River, Fall Color and Boo cruises are available. For cruise times, fares, and info, call 419-537-1212 or visit www.sandpiperboat.com
When nature calls, visitors to the region can enjoy the lakeside experience and the great outdoors with one of several experiences.
The nine Toledo Area Metroparks, including Pearson Metropark on Lallendorf Road, just north of Navarre Avenue (SR 2) in Oregon, offer a variety of activities and programs for families.
Pearson is the only Metropark east of the Maumee River and offers a Nature Discovery Center, educational programs at Macomber Lodge, walking and cross-country skiing trails, picnic grounds, pedal boats, ball diamonds, picnic areas, sledding, play areas and more.
Most importantly, however, the park has a large swamp forest area that is one of the last remaining stands of the Great Black Swamp that once covered most of Northwest Ohio. For info, call Toledo Area Metroparks, at 419-407-9700.
The Wood County Park District offers a number of parks throughout the area, including:
Cedar Creeks Preserve, a 42-acre tract located east of Walbridge where Woodville Road (SR 51) crosses Walbridge Road. The entrance is at the “T” where Indian Estates is located. The preserve is an excellent example of the former Black Swamp that once covered a large portion of Northwest Ohio. In keeping with the idea of a nature preserve, development of the parcel has been limited to low impact features, preserving the natural setting of the acreage. Facilities include: hiking trails, foot bridge, picnic tables, restrooms and an information kiosk.
William Henry Harrison Park, a 22-acre park located at 644 Bierley Ave. (Pemberville Road), just south of Pemberville, features a large multi-purpose playfield, children’s playground, paved circular drive for rollerblading, hiking trails, Portage River fishing and more. Visit www.woodcountyparkdistrict.org or call 800-321-1897 for info.
A new playground has been dedicated for the 2007 season at White Star Park, located south of Gibsonburg on SR 300. The old wooden playground equipment was replaced with new stuff made of recycled plastic and aluminum and was purchased through a grant from the Ottawa Sandusky Seneca Solid Waste District and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
White Star Park also offers picnic tables, grills, well water, restrooms, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, playfield, nature trails, mountain bike trails, boat ramp, shelters, day camp area, accessible fishing platform, scuba diving, camping.
White Star Quarry is 15 acres of water with a depth of 40 feet and submerged items on the floor. Depth of tunnel near scuba access is 80 feet. The quarry is available for non-power boating, fishing. Vessels must have a valid Ohio boat license. Ohio fishing laws apply. No ice fishing permitted. Common fish caught: bluegill, bullhead, catfish, bass, trout, yellow perch, and pike. Night fishing allowed on Friday nights from Memorial Day to end of Sept. Must be out of the park by midnight.
Scuba Diving is permitted April 1- Dec. 31 at a cost of $10 per day per diver. Season passes are available at $100 for county residents and $120 for non-residents. No ice diving. Night dives available on Saturday nights, Memorial Day through end of Sept. and must be arranged through scuba concessions: Quarry Divers, Inc. 419-637-7911. Submerged items on quarry floor. Tunnel is off limits.
White Star Swim Beach will be open for the 2008 season on May 24-26, May 31-June 1, June 13-Aug. 17, Aug. 23-24, August 30-Sept. 1, weather permitting. The beach is closed on Wednesdays (except July 4). Hours are noon until 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays. Daily rates are 2 years and under free, ages 3-12 are $2, and ages 13 and up are $3 per day. The beach house includes changing rooms and concession stand. Swim area depth is from 0 to 15 feet.
White Star Campground is across from the park’s main entrance. Primitive sites are $15 per site per night. Sites with water hook-up & electric hook-up are $25 per site, per night. Campground is open April 11 through Dec. 31 and each site includes a table and fire ring. Youth groups are free at primitive sites with two weeks’ notice.
For more information about White Star Park or other parks in the Sandusky County Park District, call 419-334-4495 or 1-888-200-5577.
Fun going in circles
The artistry of carousel woodcarver Daniel Muller will be on display at a special exhibit at the Merry-Go-Round Museum, located in the former U.S. Post Office on US 6 at 301 Jackson St. at Washington Streets near the city square in Sandusky.
The museum celebrates the history of carousels, the carvers who made the intricate horses and other animals, and enthusiasts who enjoy them. The stone museum, which has a half-rotunda at the front and is listed with the National Register of Historic Places, features on permanent exhibit a 1939 Allen Herschell.
The museum is open year-round. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. For more info, call 419-626-6111 or visit www.merrygoroundmuseum.org.
Look out below
Explore “The Caviest Cave in the U.S.A” - Seneca Caverns, located off SR 269 about four miles south of Bellevue, on a one-hour guided tour that takes you 110 feet underground through seven levels or rooms – the largest 250 feet in length. View “Ole Mist’ry River,” pan for gemstones, shop at Hollowrock Gifts, picnic in the shade.
Open daily Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. During May (before Memorial Day), September (after Labor Day) through mid-October, the Caverns are open weekends only from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Enter through a volcano with a 35-foot waterfall. Once inside Mystery Hill and Prehistoric Forest, a 10-acre attraction located along SR 163 in Marblehead, visitors will find a replica T-Rex and more than a dozen life-sized dinosaurs.
There is also a reptile house, an exotic animal house, a barn filled with “gravity-defying” water and angled floors, an archaeological dig for fossils, an arcade, miniature golf course, playground, and gift shop.
The park is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend and weekends only May and September. For more info, call 419-798-5230 or visit www.mysteryhill.com.