Sandusky

Happy Centennial National Parks

Today marks the 100th birthday of our National Parks Service. The parks service started in 1916. The first park was established in Ohio in 1923.  From that day forward the parks have been one of the great attractions in the state. The parks have something for everyone.

A Brief Timeline of National Parks Service in Ohio

1923 –Hopewell Culture: Started as part of the Mound City Group National Monument. It is fitting that this was the first park because it is dedicated to the history of Ohio’s earliest inhabitants

1966 – Perry’s Victory & International Peace MemorialA monument to the Commander of the Battle of Lake Erie during the war of 1812. Also memorializes the war as the last conflict between the United States, Britain, and Canada.

1969 – William Howard Taft National Historic Site: The boyhood home, and later family home, of the 27th president of the United States.

1980 – David Berger National MonumentA monument to one of athletes killed at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
North Country Scenic Trail: Established as one of the longest of the 11 scenic trails. In Ohio it connects to the Buckeye Trail and runs through Hocking Hills, one of Ohio’s most hiked areas.
James A Garfield National Historical Site: The Home of 20th President James A Garfield. Considered the first Presidential Library in America.

1992 – Dayton Aviation HeritageCelebrates the history of flight and the two Dayton Brothers who solved the problems of getting man in the air. Is spread out in 5 different locations through out Dayton.

1999 – Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis: The site of the battle of Fallen Timbers, the final battle in the Northwest Indian War, and the site of Fort Miamis, a British fort built to stop Gen. Wayne, which he eventually held.

2000 – Cuyahoga Valley: Originally created as a recreational area in 1974, Cuyahoga became a National park in 2000. This park celebrates the history of the people, canals, and nature of the northwestern Ohio valley.
First Ladies National Historical Site: Built in the home of Ida McKinley, this site is dedicated to the history of the wives of the Presidents of The United States.

2004 – National Heritage AreaIncorporated just after the Centennial of Flight this large area of western Ohio houses the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Armstrong Air and Space Museum, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, and Woodlawn Cemetery (with the graves of Paul Lawrence Dunbar and The Wright Brothers)

2013 – Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers: So new that it is not even finished opening yet. The Monument is dedicated to one of the most famous Buffalo Soldiers and first African-American national park Superintendent.

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Summer Time in Ohio

As the weather warms we prepare for the changing of the season. Like the rain watering the flowers the warmer weather makes Ohio’s outdoor options grow. Ohio does not disappoint in the summer.

We have big plans for this Summer. We are excited to visit some more sports teams, see the new stuff at The Ohio History Center, goto a Drive in, and see a bunch of different roadside attractions along the way. So stay tuned over the next few months for a flurry of posts and reviews about the great state of Ohio.

Want to see the state, plan a trip with the help of Ohio’s tourism board or other helpful sites. Or just use our suggestions (click for more info):

Goto an Amusement Park:
Kings Island
Cedar Point
Coney Island
Zoombezi Bay

See a Show:
Drive-ins
Fraze Pavilion
Blossom Center for the Performing Arts
Riverbend Music Center
Express Live – Columbus
Toledo Zoo Ampitherater

See a game:
Dayton Dragons (the hardest seats to get in pro sports)
Cleveland Indians
Columbus Crew
Columbus Clippers
Cincinnati Reds
Toledo MudHens
Akron Rubber Ducks
Lake County Captains

Goto a Zoo:
Columbus Zoo
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
The Toledo Zoo

Go to a park:
Ohio State Parks
National Parks in Ohio

Goto a Festival:
Ohio Festivals – a crazy good list of them.

Goto a Museum:
Cleveland History Center (formerly Wester Reserve Historical)
COSI
Cincinnati Museum Center
Toledo Museum of Art 
Dayton Art Institute

Go for a Drive:
Ohio Roadtrips

While we hope this gave you some great ideas for the summer, this is just a small portion of things to do in Ohio.

 

 

 

Ohio’s “Amusing” Parks.

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Amusement parks are BIG in Ohio. From the record holding Cedar Point to the big Kings Island, Ohio has more than it’s share of rides and attractions to amaze.

History of The Ohio Amusement Park:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Amusement_parks_in_Ohio

Cedar Point:
Cedar Point is the second oldest operating park in the US. Cedar Point started life as a popular fishing and picnic peninsula.  In 1870 Louis Zistel started opened a ferry to locals to the area. A few buildings were built but it wasn’t until the 1890’s that rides were added. The first were simple raised tracks with cars that attendants had to manually move back to the top.

As with most parks in Ohio, Cedar Point was owned by a local transportation company and built up as a place for travelers to take a ride to. The company put George A. Boeckling in charge. During his tenure many more rides were constructed and the park expanded. Boeckling died in 1931 at the start of the Great Depression.

During the Depression and the War that followed little improvements were made to the park. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the aging park got a makeover. Over 1 million dollars were spent to bring the park back from the brink. in the 1960’s the idea of a “pay one price” ticket was all the introduced. in the 1970’s the great roller coaster boom began. In 1989 The Magnum XL became the first to break 200 feet and 70mph. From that point on Cedar point would be known as the roller coaster capital of the world with almost every new coaster breaking a world record.

Starting in 1997 Cedar Fair, the company that was created to own Cedar Point, started to buy other parks. To date the company owns 11 parks in 8 states and Canada.

Our Review of the park (from 2009)

Kings Island:
Kings Island was originally started as an effort to move the frequently flooding Coney Island (more below) to a drier location. Opened on April 29th, 1972 by Taft Broadcasting Company. The first few years saw many sitcoms and popular entertainers. Both the Brady Bunch (Cincinnati Kid) and The Partridge Family (I Left My Heart in Cincinnati). The most popular ride at the time was the Racer, thought to be one of the roller coasters that restarted the craze of the 70’s.  Over the years many famous, and a few infamous rides were added and removed. The Beast, still the world longest wooden roller coaster.

The parks has had many owners. First Taft Broadcasting Company, then KECO, then Paramount (former shareholder of Taft). Finally in 2006 the Cedar Fair, the owners of Cedar Point, bought the park along with many others.

Kings Island may be one of the newest parks in the state it is still one of the most loved and active in the nation.

Our Review of the park (2012)

Coney Island:
Coney Island was started in the 1870’s by James Parker, a framer who found that his land was more profitable as a tourist destination than a farm. Soon a dance hall, dining hall, and bowling alley were added. Eventually he sold the property to The Ohio Grove Company who labeled it “Ohio Grove, The Coney Island of the West.”

Over time the park expanded adding rides and carnival games. It had become one of the major attraction in Cincinnati. The location next to the river however lead to almost annual flooding. To fix this problem the park entered in to talks with Taft Broadcasting to build a new park further from the river. This park would come to be known as Kings Island. in September of 1971 the rides of Coney Island were moved to the new park. Eventually the new owners became to busy with its new parks to worry about the land near the river. In 1973 Coney Island reopened. With all of the attractions gone the park built Sunlite Pool, one of the largest in the world, to draw in customers. a few years later the park donated land to build Riverbend Music Center. This venue, which opened in 1984, is one of the leading concert venues in Ohio. Everyone from the Cincinnati Pops to the super popular Jimmy Buffet play there.

Despite all of the problems with nature, Coney Island is still one of the most popular attractions in the ever growing Cincinnati entertainment market.

Old but not Forgotten:

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Many old parks are gone, but not forgotten. Most have been turned into local parks, such as Argonne Forest Park becoming Possum Creek Metropark in Dayton. Some are still shells of their former life like LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park. The Ohio Channel will frequently play a great special about the old abandoned parks of Ohio. 10 Cents a Ticket The Stories and Glories of Old Amusment Parks

Ghostly Manor Thrill Center

 (This Post is about the original Haunted attraction, we have not visited the expansion yet)

Link: http://www.ghostlymanor.com/

Ratting: ***

Quick Review: A standard haunted house but still a good place to go while in Sandusky.

Review: Arriving in Sandusky the night before a fun day at Cedar Point. Looking for something the whole family can do? Ghostly Manor is a great place to visit.

The attraction is located in side a larger “Thrill center” with skating, video games and the like. The Haunted part is a series of rooms one walks through. Nothing was too fancy, or too bad, at the time we took a tour. The level of jumps and scares was a good balance. Not so many that you expect it, but enough to keep you on your toes. Nothing really stood out however from other the standard fare.
(They have expanded and increased since we went)

While it is a standard haunted attraction like that found in most large cities, it is open in the summer. This is great for fans of Haunted Attractions. See it early and save some room in the busy Halloween schedule.

Cedar Point

Cedar Point
Sandusky, Ohio, 44870
http://www.cedarpoint.com/

Quick Review: Cedar Point the self-proclaimed Roller Coaster Capital is one the nation’s best amusement parks.

Cedar Point the self-proclaimed “Roller Coaster Capital” is one of the nation’s best amusement parks. That is what one would think when they travel to the park, but Cedar Point was named “Best Amusement Park in the World” in Amusement Today’s annual Golden Ticket Awards. So the acolytes are not just self-proclaimed.  Cedar Point took home the top award for a record 11th consecutive year.

The big draw to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio is the amount of rides at the park. The park boasts 17 roller coasters. Once one studies the park they also realize it has many other rides, shows, games, food, and shopping. What the park has that many other parks lack is the number of rides.  A person can fill up the day riding all the rides.  One memorable ride is the Magnum XL – 200.  When built the Magnum was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. The rider will experience twists, turns, gigantic hills, and surprising tunnels. This ride will leave you breathless afterwards from all the step hills. Magnum is not to be outdone by the Mean Streak one of the tallest and fastest wooden roller coasters in the world. The Mean Streak has a good layout because the track curves back on itself, so a rider has the sensation of going under another track.

If roller coasters are not your thing, the park does have many shows to see. The park has shows from extreme motorbikes to hits of the 50’s and 60’s. Shows can be a great way to escape the hot summer sun in the afternoon. The night time also lights up with an outdoor music, sound, light, video and pyrotechnics show.  The park also boosts a pretty good kid’s area called Planet Snoopy. Seniors will not be left out as the park has a giant wheel, Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad, sky ride, space spiral and antique cars. There is literally something for everyone.

The park was built on a peninsula that sticks out into Lake Erie. This allows Cedar Point guests to have a great view of the lake. One can also stay in one of the beach front hotels on the property. If that is not to a person’s liking, Sandusky does have many nice affordable hotels.

Suggestions for getting the most bang for your buck is to come to the park early and got to the newest ride or your favorite first.

It seems every time you come to Cedar Point you experience something new and exciting. One thing that cannot be said about Cedar Point is that there are not enough activities to fill up your day.