Between its large cities and more than 5,000 miles of natural trails, Ohio appeals to those who love exploring urban metropolises, taking a spin on exciting thrill rides and embracing nature’s majesty. Here are attractions that will appeal to athletes of all ages when their tournaments have wound down.
Cedar Point in Sandusky has been branded the Roller Coaster Capital of the World for good reason. The park boasts a world-record 71 rides, including 17 roller coasters, the second-most coasters on the planet behind Six Flags Magic Mountain in California. Cedar Point is the only amusement park featuring six roller coasters taller than 200 feet, and is the most visited seasonal amusement park in the United States with an estimated 3.6 million visitors in 2017. Adjacent to the park is the Cedar Point Shores Water Park, which features 18 acres of adventures, including 12 water slides, five pools, four children’s areas and a lazy river.
Dayton Air Show
Dayton’s motto is the Birthplace of Aviation because Orville and Wilbur Wright built their Wright Flyer, the first successful heavier than-air powered aircraft, in the Ohio city. Thus, it’s appropriate the city holds one of the top annual air shows in the country, the Vectren Dayton Air Show at the Dayton International Airport. The show takes place on a weekend in late June or mid-July of each year, and draws around 85,000 spectators. The air show showcases some of the world’s best-known civilian and military pilots, one of which includes the legendary Blue Angels. Other notable performers include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Golden Knights, and the show features wing-walkers, historic planes, parachutists and acres of ground displays.
Hocking Hills State Park
Located in southeastern Ohio, this park has received national and international acclaim as a top park to visit. Stunning in every season, visitors can enjoy views of wildflowers adorning the forest floor in springtime and vibrant foliage in autumn. The park features colossal cliffs, waterfalls and gorges for hikers and local outfitters offer adventure options including canoeing, ziplining and rock climbing. There are about 200 campsites in the park, and the campground is close to all of the hiking trails in the area.
This 364-acre amusement park in Mason is the largest amusement and waterpark in the Midwest. The park is known for attractions like Flight of Fear, the world’s first linear induction motor launched roller coaster, and The Beast, which has held the record for the world’s longest wooden roller coaster since its opening in 1979. The park’s newest attraction is Mystic Timbers, a wooden roller coaster whose addition enabled Kings Island to tie the record for most wooden roller coasters in the world, with five. Since 1989, Kings Island has also hosted Soak City water park, a 35-acre park that features 36 water slides, five pools and five children’s areas.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum
Opened in October, 2018, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum is a place where the stories of American veterans, their families and the fallen, across all branches of service and all eras of conflict, are told together. This cultural institution stands as a place of inspiration for all visitors to come together with a common bond and a shared pride in our veterans. NVMM takes visitors on a narrative journey telling individual stories and shared experiences of veterans throughout history through photos, letters, multi-media presentations and interactive exhibits.
This amusement park, which is scheduled to open as soon as 2019, will cost around $2 billion, will be built on 350 acres of land in Sunbury, outside of Columbus, and will be about four times the size of Disneyland. Planet Oasis is expected to have 15 to 20 major attractions, including an indoor water park, a wave park for surfing, roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, rock walls and virtual reality. The park will also offer sand beaches, snowboarding, BMX racing, skydiving, a salt water lake, retail outlets and a butterfly museum.
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Since it first opened its doors in 1963, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton has enshrined 318 of the greatest players, coaches, franchise owners and front office personnel who have made a mark in the sport of football. This renowned museum continually enhances its exhibits and displays to provide guests with an immersive and experiential visit that entertains and informs them about the history of America’s Game. The Hall of Fame currently measures 118,000 square feet and is undergoing an $800 million expansion project that will be completed to coincide with the NFL’s Centennial in 2020.
Soapbox Derby and Hall of Fame Museum
The first All-American Soapbox Derby, a youth soapbox car racing program, was held in Dayton in 1934, but since 1935, the championship race has taken place in Akron, near Cleveland. Children between the ages of 7-20 are eligible to race in the program. These competitors, along with a parent or mentor, build a car using a specially designed kit purchased from the International Soap Box Derby, an Akron-based nonprofit organization. The cars are unpowered, relying completely on gravity to move, and tend to reach nearly 30 miles per hour. During the racing season, competitions are held in officially sanctioned locations throughout the United States and even in some foreign countries before culminating at the world championship race at the famous Derby Downs
track in Akron. Those who can’t make the race can still visit Akron for the Soap Box Derby Hall of Fame Museum. The museum displays historical cars, plaques of champions, Hall of Fame honorees and memorabilia.