Parents, grandparents, favorite aunts, uncles, and babysitters and all others who find they are expected to be the discoverer and successful scheduler of all things "cool to do" during the summer months for family and friends ages 6 to 16 diagnosed with the dread summertime doldrums, aka the "I'm bored" bug.
In such times of crisis, not everyone will find success easily.
But it's a sure bet that should you approach a home computer, or one at your local library, in search of hints revealing the whereabouts of some of our region's most unique tourism temptations - not to mention budget friendly - you will likely walk away with a sizeable list to consider, thanks in part to the efforts of such organizations as the Belmont County Tourism Council and the Ohio Division of Tourism.
Any way you look at it there are top quality options easily available to consider adding to your budget friendly battle plan to vanquish seasonal doldrums from your household with little or no muss, fuss, or frustration.
Now is the time to grab the newspaper entertainment section and find venues offering up a variety of activities and entertainment options you might have put off visiting when gas prices were not nearly so high - simply because they were close to home - a fact that makes them perfect for current day-trip considerations when fighting the seasonal symptoms of the widely known unsettled feelings that can accompany the annual "I hate being stuck at home syndrome."
The fantastic, always fun-filled finds at the end of a drive to the Columbus location of The Center of Science and Industry, aka COSI, offers an experience to be remembered for a lifetime appealing to the entire family.
This summer COSI's programs for the public are nothing short of colossal when it comes to expectations of successfully capturing the imaginations of the young and young at heart.
"Dinosaurs: Explore, Escape, Survive," is the new COSI attraction which opened recently and will continue to be available through September 5, 2011.
This limited time exhibition lets guests explore giant lifelike dinosaurs, challenges them to escape from a 3,000 square foot maze, and more, and includes scientifically accurate animatronic dinosaurs, complete with movement, sound, and realistic environments.
Visitors get the rare opportunity - with the help of simulator gaming pods - to become a dinosaur and interact with up to 15 other users while exploring a dinosaur's ecosystem millions of years ago. The adventure's colossal maze offers aspiring paleontologists the chance to uncover facts and fossils on a Mesozoic mission.
"This unique exhibit offers an amazing chance for visitors to take their innate interest in dinosaurs to engage in our world millions of years ago from the dinosaurs' own perspective," said David Chesebrough, COSI President and CEO.
"Dinosaurs: Explore. Escape. Survive. Uses technology to give the guest an immersive way to gain more insight into what an ecosystem in the Mesozoic Era was like by using interactive digital learning, role-playing and digging for facts like a real paleontologist. We can learn about our own environment in the process."
Highlights of the exhibit include the following.
Details of admission to COSI for adults, seniors and youths can be found at www.cosi.org, or by calling 614-228-2467. COSI is open 7-days a week through September 5th, operating hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to
5 p.m., Sunday Noon to 6 p.m.
Looking for something a bit quieter and relaxed; consider several of the region's state parks. State parks across Ohio offer a diversity of environments and levels of living the life of luxury or the fun of a more rustic setting. Both offer the opportunity to personally enjoy the results of your tax dollars at work.
Barkcamp State Park is open year round from dawn to dusk. Admission to the park is free. Details of what amenities are available to guests can be found by calling 740-484-4064. The park's main entrance is located on Township Road 92, off Ohio Route 149, just northeast of Belmont.
The park location is easily located while at the same time considered secluded making it a perfect setting in which to enjoy the area's wildlife. Public access is readily available to its recreational facilities, mature woodlands, open meadows, scenic lake with a 700-foot beach area for swimmers and sunbathers to enjoy. Its modern campground features campsites with electricity, showers, picnic tables, fire rings, wheelchair accessible sites and a dump station. The 25-site horseman's camp offers electrical hookups, a horse washing station and accessible mounting ramp.
The park's popular bridle trail follows the entire lakeshore offering a pleasant day's ride. Three Rent-A-Camp units consist of a tent, dining canopy, cooler, cook stove, and other equipment. Two Deluxe Camper Cabins offer bunks plus a microwave, refrigerator, two-burner stove and ceiling fan.
Nature study opportunities abound at Barkcamp. A paved trail winds through the pioneer village, into the adjoining woodlands and accesses the Antique Barn with interpretive signs explaining the cultural and natural history of the park. The Antique Barn was built in the 1800s and is now home to summer naturalist activities and historical displays. A resurrected log cabin and other pioneer structures are found near the barn.
Wolf Run State Park can be found at the end of a drive of a little more than an hour for many local residents. Admission to the park is free, and it is open to the public from dawn to dusk on a daily basis. The park office can be contacted at 740-732-5035. The park grounds are located on Ohio 215 just north of Caldwell, Ohio.
A unique 20-site primitive fly-in camping area is found on the north side of the lake, which is within walking distance of the Noble County Airport and its 4,700 foot runway.
The woodlands and inviting waters of the park offer guests a quiet retreat in one of the more remote of the state parks. A family campground with 71 electric and almost as many non-electric sites is on the south shore of the lake. The grounds also feature showers and laundry facilities, picnic tables, fire rings and restrooms.
Boats with motors of up to 10 horsepower are permitted on Wolf Run Lake. Several miles of access to the Buckeye Trail pass along the west side of the lake. A half-mile loop trail provides for ready access to those seeking opportunities for nature study and wildlife observation.
Area residents can easily enjoy the many amenities and opportunities to be found at Ohio's largest state park; Salt Fork State Park. Located in Guernsey County, at the end of what is a mere hour long drive or less for most local residents, its main entrance is found on U.S. Route 22, just northeast of Cambridge. The park office can be reached by calling 740-439-3521. The park grounds, which include beautiful woodland fields, sit next to the Salt Fork Reservoir. The Salt Fork Lodge overlooks the lake.
The lodge, acclaimed for its rustic yet polished family friendly atmosphere includes nearly 150 guest rooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, sauna, tennis, volleyball, basketball, and shuffleboard courts. The lake includes a 400-foot swimming beach, and boat launching and docking facilities.
Two-bedroom fully furnished cottages with living and dining areas, kitchens with cooking and eating utensils, a bath with shower, and screened porch are available, as are chalet cottages with gas log fireplaces and hot tubs. All cottages are available year-round. The modern campground includes 18 wheelchair accessible locations among its nearly 200 sites most of which include a 50-amp electric hookup. Some also offer sewer and water hookups as well. Some sites include a separate beach, boat launching and docking facilities.
A miniature golf course is offered at the beach, near the park's nature center. Basketball courts are located at the beach and near the park office. Playgrounds are offered in the campground and at the beach.
Regardless where you look throughout the region there are tourism treats to be enjoyed by Ohioans of all ages and interests.