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.
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.
The Haunted Trail of Horror channels bone-chilling monsters, specters, and spirits confirmed by expert mediums into acres of spine-tingling woodlands. Located next to a cemetery, the trail plays out 18 different scenes that feature such haunts as headless zombies, evil clowns, and the vengeful ghosts of the ants that were slain in your childhood sandbox. Hazy fog and eerie webs drape the wooded path as visitors sneak past iconic movie haunts and cursed headstones. Upon approaching the haunted oaks, the Tunnel of Doom flashes black lights and strobe lights to warn guests of the ensuing spirits. The haunted experience is not intended for children, pregnant women, those with breathing problems, or those with evil-beagle familiars.
At Aunt Katie's, the walls covered in black-and-white photos of women in baseball uniforms and team rosters filled with women's names. The eponymous Aunt Katie is Katie Horstman, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988 to commemorate her contribution to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which the movie A League of Their Own made famous. The decor complements the menu of traditional cooking. Prime rib, lobster tails, and breaded pork chops comfort appetites better than a deep-fried Snuggie.
This year, Meadow View's maze designers and dungeon masters have designed the eight-acre corn maze in the shape of the city of New Carlisle's Bicentennial and Speedway SuperAmerica logos—though that won't help you much as you gleefully lose yourself in the disorienting twists, turns, and dead-ends at ground level. Along the way, you may encounter figures from the city's past, such as Jesse James, who famously robbed one of his first banks in New Carlisle before giving up thieving and becoming president. Once you've successfully traversed the maze and its litter of minotaurs, you can relax around the campfire in the Kidz Corral, pick up a pumpkin at the pumpkin patch, visit the whimsical Pumpkin House, or take part in the goat walk, among other activities.
The hale and hearty team of instructors at Eco Expedition Educators boast an array of titles and certifications, including wilderness EMT, combat veteran, firefighter, master scuba diver trainer, sail boat captain, and U.S. Coast Guard medic—and there are only four of them on staff.
When participants take classes at Eco Expedition Educators, they gain an in-depth understanding of how to get themselves out of Mother Nature's toughest scrapes. Each guided expedition introduces novices to sticky situations they might encounter when outdoors, then equips them with the knowledge needed to escape unscathed or at least survive long enough to whittle a cellphone out of tree bark.