Ohio is unveiling a host of new travel experiences in 2011, with the attractions ranging from a one-of-a-kind elephant habitat to a rare glimpse...

Ohio is unveiling a host of new travel experiences in 2011, with the attractions ranging from a one-of-a-kind elephant habitat to a rare glimpse into the life of Cleopatra; and from Civil War history to ‘Women Who Rock’.

“Located within a day’s drive of about 60 per cent 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,” says Amir Eylon, Ohio’s tourism director. “No matter your interests, Ohio has a new adventure to enhance your visit in 2011.”


Among the new exhibits, attractions, events and travel opportunities that Ohio is offering in 2011 are:

Family Fun

WindSeeker: Kings Island, Cincinnati (opens April 30); Cedar Point, Sandusky (opens May 14). WindSeeker is a new thrill ride debuting at both Kings Island and Cedar Point in the 2011 season. The 301-foot-tall tower will spin riders nearly 30 stories above the ground in two-person swings, reaching speeds up to 30 miles per hour and flaring out 45 degrees from the tower. For more information, go to www.visitkingsisland.com/public/park/rides/thrill_rides/windseeker.cfm and www.cedarpoint.com/public/park/rides/thrill/windseeker/index.cfm.

New WindSeeker thrill rides are making their debuts at Ohio's Kings Island and Cedar Point amusement parks in 2011

Dinosaurs Alive!: Kings Island, Cincinnati, opens May 26. The world’s largest animatronic dinosaur, the Ruyang Yellow River dinosaur is 72 feet long, 12 feet wide and 30 feet high. More than 60 other life-sized dinosaurs such as like the meat-eating Tyrannosaurs Rex and the three-horned Triceratops are also on show. 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. For more information, click on www.visitkingsisland.com/public/park/dinosaurs_alive/index.cfm.

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 ranges, deep ponds, a waterfall and a mud wallow for up to 10 elephants. Visitors will be immersed in a realistic African village setting at the Crossing’s education center, which offers interactive displays as well as “nose-to-trunk” viewing areas. For more information, visit www.africanelephantcrossing.com.

Modeled after African savannas, the new African Elephant Crossing exhibit at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo offers a naturalistic five-acre habitat with two ranges, deep ponds, a waterfall and a mud wallow for up to 10 elephants

Sports and Recreation

Hocking Hills Canopy Zipline Night Flight: Rockbridge, beginning in May. This two-hour nocturnal tour, offered on Fridays and Saturdays beginning in May, includes six ziplines and four skybridges. For more information, visit www.hockinghillscanopytours.com/night-flight-zipline.html.

Hocking Hills Canopy Zipline offers a two-hour nocturnal tour which 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 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. To find out more, go to www.glenlaurel.com/amenities/golf.

Cities, Culture and Cuisine

Columbus Food Adventures: Columbus, now open. In addition to allowing tour participants to sample a variety of dishes, these tours showcase the city’s eclectic neighborhoods, unique architecture and ethnic offerings. Starting in June, Columbus Food Adventures will add a German Village walking tour to its existing tours, which focus on taco trucks, alternative eats, Short North food and desserts. To learn more, visit www.columbusfoodadventures.com.

Columbus Food Adventures has a variety of food-sampling tours which showcase the city's eclectic neighborhoods, unique architecture and ethnic offerings

Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power: Cleveland, opens May 13. The exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will fill two entire floors of the museum. It will touch on the firsts, the best, the celebrated, under-rated, and every woman who moved rock and roll music forward. Check out artifacts, video and listening stations, and other interactive exhibits, which will tell the stories of more than 60 artists. For more information, click on www.rockhall.com/exhibits/women-who-rock.

History and 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,” at the Cincinnati Museum Center. There are approximately 150 artifacts in the exhibition – from the smallest gold coins and jewelry to a papyrus document believed to be hand-written by Cleopatra, as well as colossal statues – and together they provide a revealing window into Cleopatra’s life and times. To learn more, visit www.cincymuseum.org/cleopatra.

The exhibition "Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt," is on show until September 5, 2011 at the Cincinnati Museum Center

Civil War Sesquicentennial: 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. To find out more, go to www.ohiocivilwar150.org. Options include the recently relocated and renovated American Civil War Museum of Ohio in Tiffin, which offers eight exhibit rooms that follow the Civil War and Ohio’s role in the conflict. (Click on www.consumer.discoverohio.com/searchdetails.aspx?detail=78977 to find contact details for the museum.) The exhibit rooms boast more than 10,000 square feet of exhibit space and research. 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. For more on the Ohio Statehouse, go to www.ohiostatehouse.org/Education/Sesquicentennial.aspx.

Ohioans from communities across the state played critical roles in the American Civil War

The Ohio Tourism Division is the premier source of information for travelers about Ohio’s tourism experiences, attractions and economy. Division marketing programs contributed to an estimated $36 billion in total sales in 2009 and 437,000 jobs sustained by visitors to the state. To find out more about Ohio’s visitor attractions, go to www.discoveringohio.com.