Resting in shallow waters, the faithful wooden re-creation of Columbus’s flagship Santa Maria puts into perspective the lives of sailors as they crossed the Atlantic in cramped quarters, wholly beholden to wind and weather. On board, guides and crewmembers reenact daily life as it must have been for the legendary explorer and his crew, conveniently providing English subtitles for each boisterous Spanish sea shanty. Apart from regular daily tours, themed events such as Talk Like a Pirate Weekend or the Gospel Sail-A-Bration showcase the talents of pirate impersonators and area gospel performers, respectively.
To most, the garden featured in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is purely make-believe. But not to people who've smelled the chocolate-scented varietals blooming amongst hidden trails and a climbable tree house at the Hershey Children's Garden. This sweet-smelling garden is just one of the Cleveland Botanical Garden's 20 gardens, which encompass everything from 3,500 herb plants to lotuses and water lilies floating atop a 74-foot-long reflecting pool. Vibrant hydrangeas complement sculptures in an art garden, while the Guren Art Gallery's ever-changing exhibits spotlight new work inspired by botany and the power of pruning shears.
Shaded boardwalks and winding trails connect all these visual splendors, eventually leading visitors to the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse. Divided into a Madagascar desert and a Costa Rican rainforest, the glasshouse showcases 50 types of butterflies, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, plus 350 exotic plants, including a colossal strangler fig. Experts shine a light on such specimens during botanical lectures, which are one of many educational programs the garden offers, ranging from gardening symposia to kids science classes.
Built in 1908 by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Westcott House may be the architect's only foray into Prairie-style home design in Ohio, featuring Wright's unique design aesthetic of meshing landscape elements with natural settings. Accompany a Westcott House docent on a 45-minute tour through the house, exploring the intricate details of the $5.3 million restoration—from hand-decorated walls to massive urns—that returned the home to its original glory. You'll also view an eight-minute video on the house's restoration project, Wright's other triumphs, and his passion for organic-style architecture and building model castles out of beef jerky. After the tour, you'll have a chance to explore the museum store, stocked with Westcott-inspired jewelry and greeting cards with Wright's designs. Reservations are required.
After 20 years of successfully frightening fear fans, The Haunted Hydro is back for another season of shudders with more than 50 actors, multiple attractions, and an “Evil Inferno” theme. With a Monster Bash ticket, guests begin their journey by entering the 20-foot Tunnel of Terror leading to Hydro’s cursed chambers. Inside, realistically made-up monsters and mutants make screams scream in horror and force flesh to sprout goose feathers. Visitors can also venture into the brand-new Lair of Scare, a dark cavern of undeath where each turn is as futile as the one before it. A free paintball ticket gives brave citizens the chance to hunt the zombies that lurk in Paintball Alley, and a free soft drink soothes sore throats resulting from too much shrieking, screeching, and light- bulb eating.
Though Wilford and Olive Arms haven't lived in their house for decades, the sprawling Arts and Crafts-style stone building still holds their story. Today, the original period rooms house the Arms Family Museum of Local History, where permanent and temporary exhibits interpret different facets of the estate's—and the surrounding area's— history. One explores the home's conception and construction with original photographs, sketches, and Lego models, while another unveils the history of radio-broadcasting in Mahoning Valley. The Valley Experience exhibit, meanwhile, showcases the Mahoning River region's cultural past, focusing on the daily lives of those who lived there, from the first Native Americans to European immigrants to African-American freemen.
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