In 1880, the final fasteners and sleepers on the Valley Railway were tightened into place. It wouldn’t be long before a billowing cloud of steam announced the arrival of the first train running through the Cuyahoga Valley, a territory that had served as a passageway for foot traffic for thousands of years. Over the next century, the railway contributed to the growth of commerce between Akron and Cleveland, changing ownership multiple times, and transforming from a freight train, into a passenger train, back to a freight train, and finally into a UFO.
Now celebrating its 41st year of passenger-rail service, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad transports sightseers over the historic rails through 33,000 acres of land owned by the National Park Service. With a year-round roster of trips, including wine- and beer-tasting excursions, passengers can set forth on morning, afternoon, and evening journeys that sweep past meadowlands, pinery, and rivers and give glimpses of native wildlife, such as fox, deer, bobcat mascots, and owls.
Despite its name, Chris The Mad Greek's Cantina & Grill showcases more than just the flavors of Greek culinary culture. The menu features a range of hearty Greek and American dishes for breakfast and lunch. Stuffed Greek omelets and lamb and chicken gyros provide a taste of international spice, while half-pound burgers, Southern-style fried fish, and biscuits and gravy are packed with more familiar flavors. Mediterranean pastas, such as spaghetti marinara and chicken alfredo, are also available.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.
For a quarter of a century, Fun Makers' licensed, FAA-certified pilots have guided thousands of passengers skyward during hot-air-balloon tours of Ohio's lakes, valleys, forests, and rolling plains. Pilots update their training annually to stay informed on ballooning guidelines, and each sendoff begins with a passenger orientation that briefs guests on flight basics, personal safety, and how to deflect dive-bombing ostriches. After touching back down, passengers commemorate their voyage with a champagne toast and a first-flight certificate. In addition to hot-air-balloon rides, Fun Makers' staff travels to large and small events at colleges, festivals, and churches bearing a variety of portable entertainment including rock-climbing walls, bungee trampolines, and mechanical rodeo bulls.
A 150-foot wind turbine heralds the entryway of Great Lakes Science Center. Combined with a 300-foot solar canopy, the turbine supplies 6% of the museum's power but also serves another purpose: to drive home the science center's commitment to research, education, and scientific discovery. Inside the Alternative Energy exhibit, visitors can touch their fingertips to a kiosk that displays real-time and historical data on energy consumption. Or, at the Steamship William G. Mather, visitors can explore a four-story engine room that once propelled the 618-foot flagship. After exploring the lunar lander models and flight simulators of the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, visitors can track moon dust to the Omnimax Theater and absorb scientific knowledge through 11,600 watts of digital sound.
In addition to presenting exhibits to more than 300,000 visitors annually, the science center leads the charge on science education. Onsite scientists organize space and curriculum for freshmen in the Cleveland metropolitan school district's inaugural STEM high school. The school teaches in a project-based learning environment where students are encouraged to delve into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Since 1985, Trolley Tours of Cleveland has shuttled more than one million riders around the city aboard its fleet of open-air, bright-red trolleys. Winding along an approximately 20-mile route, the city tour showcases some of Cleveland's most iconic sights, including the Victorian homes of Ohio City, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and downtown, where an eclectic mix of modern and historic architecture stretches skyward to amaze passersby and to high-five low-orbiting superheroes. Personable, professionally trained guides accompany the nationally known tour with Cleveland-centered facts and stories.
Aside from untangling urban avenues with informational junkets, Trolley Tours of Cleveland also makes its wheels available for conventions, weddings, and more, enabling businessmen and bridesmaids alike to avoid having to hitch rides on vigorously tossed bridal bouquets.