Founded in 1963 at a local YMCA, the Cincinnati Ballet grew into a major regional company by adhering to its mission to express the human experience through dance. Today, it continues upholding that vision by housing resident artists who entertain audiences with dance performances of both classic and original work. Beyond supporting local audiences and their right to clap, the Cincinnati Ballet also seeks to nurture artists through the Otto M. Budig Academy. There, a professional faculty trains aspiring performers at all skill levels. These training opportunities are supplemented by outreach programs such as CincyDance!, which provides free training and dance attire to children.
Outside of saddling a flying squirrel or constructing a eagle-drawn chariot, there’s nothing quite like zipping from tree to tree through a blur of branches and leaves, hearing the fresh forest air whiz by. To bring the experience to central Ohioans, Jerrod and Lori Pingle built a network of ziplining platforms in the forest canopy of Camp Mary Orton and began leading ZipZone canopy tours. During the company’s signature two-hour tour, professionally trained guides lead guests through the sky-brush and over ravines and streams, just out of reach of leaping sasquatches. To protect the natural scenery that surrounds the 20-acre tour, ZipZone implements a number of eco-friendly measures, such as building hiking trails in lieu of roads, limiting tree intrusions, and reducing soil compaction.
The nearly 50 brewery buildings that make up Cincinnati's Brewery District range from Romanesque works of art to impressive brick industrial spaces. Many have stood on the same spots since long before Prohibition, outlasting neighboring structures that fell to the wrecking ball. If those buildings had faces, they'd use them to thank the Brewery District's redevelopment group. The band of residents, business owners, and developers helps protect and promote the rich history of this former German cultural hub and epicenter of the Cincinnati brewing industry.
As part of a long-term plan to redevelop the area, the organization welcomes visitors into diverse events such as seasonal beer festivals and a pop-up beer garden at the Findlay Market. But the most popular gatherings are the brewery tours that stop at pre-Prohibition breweries and explore the historic, secret barrel-transportation tunnels that run 40 feet below street level and directly into local refrigerators.
Initially designed as a temporary tour and fundraiser for student travel, American Legacy Tours began humbly as the Newport Gangster Tour in 2008. When met with overwhelming success, the friends who had embarked on what they thought was a temporary project decided to take root and expand, creating American Legacy Tours in 2010.
Their first order of business as an official company was to introduce the Queen City Underground Tour, an exploration of the city's underground tunnels and history as a rabbit village. Today, a cadre of educated guides leads 10 different area walking tours, including Civil War in Cincinnati and Newport is Haunted, one of several ghost-themed tours held around Halloween. There are also art-focused excursions, such as the Rookwood Pottery Factory tour.
Founded by a group of friends who created the acclaimed Newport Gangster Tour as a fundraiser in 2008, American Legacy Tours blossomed into a full-fledged tour company two years later. Participants choose from seven distinct tours that traverse cities as guides share fascinating and sometimes seedy history. The Queen City Underground Tour ventures beneath the city’s streets into a hidden burial vault and long-forgotten tunnels, and the Newport Gangster Tour delves into a scandalous past by visiting the sites of former brothels and speakeasies. Elsewhere, on the Haunted Covington Tour, guests feed their thirst for fright and their hunger for candy handouts from amiable apparitions.
The American Sign Museum dazzles peepers with its staggering collection of nearly 3,000 signs and sign-related objects. Admission for two (a $20 value; children under 12 are free) grants curious excursionists, postmodern art-lovers, and knowledge-thirsty bounty hunters a personally guided tour through a century’s worth of clearly labeled exhibits, including spinning Sputnik-like signs, opulent gilded specimens, and the samples used by salespeople. Witness scientific signage with a “changeable” neon sign that runs on radio waves, or surf through a sense-sating sea of sign-making tools, photographs, models, and artwork. Founder Tod Swormstedt leads most tours, doling out generous portions of knowledge on various signs’ histories and contributions to the American landscape.