The hills are alive with adventure

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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There??€™s an endless supply of summer activities in Ohio. Here??€™s a sampling of the fun.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A diverse stretch of the state, southeast Ohio offers numerous music festivals, a plethora of outdoor adventures and delectable regional food and drink.

Here is a sampling:

BOTANICAL GARDENS/ZOOS

The Wilds

14000 International Road, Cumberland (Guernsey County)

What was once an area devastated by strip mining has since become one of the premier spots in the country to see endangered species such as giraffes, antelopes, rhinos and cheetahs.

At nearly 14 square miles, the safari park and conservation center provide natural habitats to animals that you just wouldn’t ordinarily see in Ohio. Not only is the Wilds a spot where scientists and educators work to learn more about the art of conserving the world’s animals, it also serves as a fantastic place to set your own P.A.C.E. — Personal Adventures in Conservation Education.

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Zip lining and horseback riding are now available in addition to the traditional tours of many sections of the area, including the midsized carnivore conservation center, the wetland trail, the outpost and others.

ADMISSION: Open-air Safari (2.5 hours): $30 a person; Wildside Tour (2.5 hours): $125 a person; call for other fees

INFORMATION: thewilds.org, 740-638-5030

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Nelsonville Music Festival – Line dancing at the Boxcar Stage at the 2017 Nelsonville Music Festival (credit WOUB Public Media/Marie Swartz)

Nelsonville Music Festival – Line dancing at the Boxcar Stage at the 2017 Nelsonville Music Festival (credit WOUB Public Media/Marie Swartz)

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Nelsonville Music Festival – Line dancing at the Boxcar Stage at the 2017 Nelsonville Music Festival (credit WOUB Public Media/Marie Swartz)

John Glenn Astronomy Park

20531 Route 664, Logan (Hocking)

The park is dedicated to the same mystifying and inspiration-sparking sight that has captivated generations of great thinkers, artists and scientists: the night sky.

Opening on June 21, the park will offer regular programs that welcome the public into their observatory to check out the night sky via its many telescopes.

The part is named for Ohio native John Glenn, a devoted military pilot, U.S. senator and the first astronaut to orbit Earth.

ADMISSION: free

INFORMATION: jgap.info

OUTDOOR MUSIC

The Nelsonville Music Festival, May 31-June 3

3301 Hocking Parkway, Nelsonville (Athens)

The Nelsonville Music Festival, organized by regional nonprofit Stuart’s Opera House, never disappoints. This year, the festival will feature the likes of George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, the Decemberists, Alvvays, Twain, Ani DiFranco, the Black Angels and much more. The festival takes place on the grounds of Robbins Crossing, a small pioneer village on the campus of Hocking College. Camping, regional food and art and a general sense of community are among the highlights of the event.

ADMISSION: $75 (teen/Nelsonville resident pass), $150 weekend pass, $135 Stuart’s member pass, $50 to $85 day passes, $350 VIP weekend pass, $40 camping pass, $75 non-electric motorhome pass

INFORMATION: nelsonvillefest.org, 740-753-1924

Jamboree in the Hills, July 19-22

43510 National Road, Belmont (Belmont)

This festival has been taking place in the foothills of eastern Ohio since 1977, and the event is still going strong some 41 years later. The 2018 lineup includes the Marshall Tucker Band, the Charlie Daniels Band, Toby Keith, Travis Tritt, Tim Montana and more.

ADMISSION: four-day pass $215 to $225, three-day pass: $205 to $215, two-day pass: $140 to $150, single-day pass: $65 to $95, camping: $215 to $225

INFORMATION: www.jamboreeinthehills.com

Big Bend Blues Bash, July 27-28

Riverside Amphitheatre, 100 East Main St., Pomeroy (Meigs)

Always hosted on the last weekend of July in the picturesque Riverside Amphitheatre in quaint downtown Pomeroy, the Big Bend Blues Bash brings blues and brews to the riverside in style. Although this year’s lineup has yet to be announced, be sure to keep up to date with the festival at pomeroyblues.org.

ADMISSION: Friday: $20, Saturday: $25, weekend: $40; free camping and boat docking on the Ohio River

INFORMATION: pomeroyblues.org

Coshocton Dulcimer Days, June 15-17

200 N. Whitewoman St., Coshocton (Coshocton)

This festival has been taking place in the historic Roscoe Village in Coshocton for 44 years. The event celebrates the heritage instrument that is the dulcimer, a fretted instrument of the zither family. This year’s event will feature headliners Walt Michael and Joe Collins, as well as 2018 National Hammered Dulcimer Champion Amanda Roberts.

ADMISSION: free, although workshops that take place throughout the event cost $15 each

INFORMATION: coshoctondulcimerdays.com, 740-545-6265

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‘The Living Word’

6010 College Hill Road, Cambridge (Guernsey County)

For more than 40 years “The Living Word” has served as Ohio’s one and only outdoor “passion play,” depicting the Biblical story of Jesus Christ. The combination of theater and evangelism was put together by founder Rev. Frank Roughton Harvey in 1975, and has been going strong ever since, attracting crowds from all over the world.

ADMISSION: $18, or $16 for those 60 and older, $6 for children 6 to 12

INFORMATION: livingworddrama.org, 740-439-2761

MUSEUMS

Southeast Ohio History Center

24 W. State St., Athens (Athens)

The center, nestled in the city of Athens in a stunningly preserved church, serves a large surrounding region, highlighting the rich, unique history of the area. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Athens Asylum, a complex that remains relatively well-preserved on a hillside outside of Athens proper, an occasion that the museum is celebrating with an extensive exhibition — “The Athens Asylum: 150 Years of a Healing Landscape.” The exhibit features everything from photos of the early days of the mental-health facility to artifacts that attest to the structure’s original holistic health philosophy. The exhibit runs through Dec. 29.

ADMISSION: $7, or $5 for children 12 to 18 and senior citizens, free for children 12 and younger

INFORMATION: athenshistory.org, 740-592-2280

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Zebra and The Wildside Tour at The Wilds. credit: Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Credit: Grahm S. Jones

Zebra and The Wildside Tour at The Wilds. credit: Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Credit: Grahm S. Jones

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Zebra and The Wildside Tour at The Wilds. credit: Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Credit: Grahm S. Jones

Credit: Grahm S. Jones

The Lillian E. Jones Museum

75 Broadway St., Jackson (Jackson)

Miss Lillian E. Jones was an eccentric, wealthy Jackson resident who had a vision for her nicely appointed home in the midst of an Appalachian town that has cycled through a series of industries, including salt and frozen food. She wanted her home to become a place where the diverse history of her hometown could be preserved, even after her long life and many philanthropic contributions to the region.

So is the story of the Lillian E. Jones Museum in Jackson, which opened in 1995 following Miss Jones’ death. The permanent collection at the museum features an enormous array of archival materials, many of which were collected by Jones herself.

During her lifetime, Jones made four different international trips, in which she amassed a collection of pewter, bone china, antique furniture and clothing and even 19th-century coins from 12 countries.

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The museum also features memorabilia from the Globe Iron Co., which was once based in Jackson. It was once one of the predominant iron manufacturers in the world, run by four generations of the Jones family.

ADMISSION: free

INFORMATION: jonesmuseum.com, 740-286-2556

SPORTING EVENTS

Southern Ohio Copperheads

Bob Wren Stadium, 140 S. Shafer St., Athens (Athens)

The Copperheads of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League play on the campus of Ohio University. The next homestands include: June 9-10 vs. the Cincinnati Steam; June 12-13 vs. the Saginaw Sugar Beets and June 15 vs. the Hamilton Joes.

ADMISSION: $5

INFORMATION: copperheadbaseball.com

FESTIVALS AND FAIRS

Y Bridge Arts Festival, Aug. 3-4

Zane’s Landing Park, Market Street, Zanesville (Muskingum)

For two days each summer, the Y Bridge in Zanesville closes and becomes host to a series of outdoor exhibitions. Zanesville has a rich artistic history that includes everything from oil painting to a long heritage of pottery and other earthenware art.

The festival is organized by the close-knit Artist Colony of Zanesville, and provides the opportunity to meet more than 75 artists and purchase their wares.

ADMISSION: free

INFORMATION: ybridgeartsfestival.com

River Boat Days (June 24, 28; July 14, 18)

Ohio River Levee, 100 Front Street, Marietta (Washington County)

Marietta is famously a riverboat town, and two large sternwheeler boats — the Queen of the Mississippi and the American Queen — will be making stops there this summer. The Queen of Mississippi, a 150-passenger riverboat, will be docked in Marietta on June 24 and 28 and July 14 and 18. The American Queen, known as the largest riverboat ever built, will be docked in Marietta on July 14 and 18. The sounds of the calliope will also fill downtown Marietta on July 14. Although the boats are not open for exploring, downtown Marietta certainly is.

ADMISSION: free

INFORMATION: mariettamainstreet.org

Lilyfest, July 13-15

Bishop Educational Gardens, 13200 Little Cola Drive, Rockbridge (Hocking)

The gardens are among the gems tucked away in the beautiful Hocking Hills region. All year long, the bountiful and diverse gardens serve as a place to play and learn. But for one weekend in July, they also play host to one of the more meditative and family-friendly festivals in the region: Lilyfest. More than 70 artists take part in a juried show that also features peaceful, atmospheric music in the background.

ADMISSION: free

INFORMATION: lilyfest.com

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Shade Winery – The trellises at Shade Winery are covered with juicy grapes ready to be made into the winery’s signature wines. (Credit: Neal Dix)

Shade Winery – The trellises at Shade Winery are covered with juicy grapes ready to be made into the winery’s signature wines. (Credit: Neal Dix)

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Shade Winery – The trellises at Shade Winery are covered with juicy grapes ready to be made into the winery’s signature wines. (Credit: Neal Dix)

WINERIES AND BREWERIES

Shade Winery

401 Gilkey Ridge Road, Shade (Athens)

Few things are more picturesque than rustic wooden trellises draped with fat, juicy grapes, all alight in the golden late-day summer sun.

Such a sight can be found at Shade Winery, an intimate establishment worn neatly into a relatively rural area where Athens and Meigs counties meet. The winery welcomes you to hang out in its tasting room, or to just take a bottle of premium wine to enjoy with cheese, crackers and even some tasty lox.

INFORMATION: shadewinery.com, 740-696-1323

Sixth Sense Brewing Co.

175 Main St., Jackson (Jackson)

Specializing in American ales, this brewery is conveniently located next to Arch & Eddie’s, which is a great spot to grab a burger or a sandwich to sample with your craft brew. The brewery hosts some unconventional events, such as beer and yoga on Wednesdays, as well as your more conventional burrito (and taco) Tuesdays.

INFORMATION: facebook.com/sixthsensebrewery, 740-577-3681

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES

Moonville Tunnel

Hope-Moonville Road, McArthur (Vinton)

Once an integral part of the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad, the ghostly remnants of this picturesque tunnel now stand abandoned in an eerily forested portion of Vinton County outside of Zaleski. Although the tunnel is allegedly haunted, that doesn’t mean that the area doesn’t make for some fantastic hiking. The path through the tunnel is well-trodden and easy to traverse for a good portion of the hike. After the tunnel, there is some more advanced hiking, which can become a full-fledged 10-mile trek, if one so chooses.

ADMISSION: free

INFORMATION: forestry.ohiodnr.gov/zaleski

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Sixth Sense Brewing – Tasty burritos and other Mexican fare are available Thursday through Saturday at Jackson’s Sixth Sense Brewing. (Credit: James Ratliff)

Sixth Sense Brewing – Tasty burritos and other Mexican fare are available Thursday through Saturday at Jackson’s Sixth Sense Brewing. (Credit: James Ratliff)

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Sixth Sense Brewing – Tasty burritos and other Mexican fare are available Thursday through Saturday at Jackson’s Sixth Sense Brewing. (Credit: James Ratliff)

Cantwell Cliffs

Hocking Hills State Park, Route 374, Rockbridge (Hocking)

The breathtaking cliffs, created partially by the natural erosion caused by Buck Run, are beautiful any time of year. Check out the sarcastically named “Fat Woman’s Squeeze,” which is also the tightest corridor in the Cantwell region.

ADMISSION: free

INFORMATION: hockinghills.com/cantwell_cliffs.html

Forest Hill Lake

52176 Coshocton County Road 425, West Lafayette (Coshocton)

Summer memories are things to be cherished, and many involve swimming in a lake, camping in the woods and enjoying a low-tech barbecue.

All of these things can be enjoyed at Forest Hill Lake, a secluded 6-acre lake that features picnic shelters with tables and grills, as well as campsites with and without water and electricity.

COST: swimming, $5 a day; tent camping, $25 a night to $180 a week; campers, $30 a night to $180 a week

INFORMATION: foresthillake.com, 740-545-9642

Veto Lake

Route 339, Ohio Division of Wildlife District 4, Vincent (Washington)

Veto Lake is a 160-acre lake with more than 6 miles of shoreline perfect for hiking, fishing and camping. The lake is filled with largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish and more.

The spot has been designated as a place for people to enjoy nature since it was designed in 1954 by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Although fishing abounds, boats are limited to 10 horsepower, making the lake especially nice for kayaking and canoeing.

INFORMATION: wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/vetolake

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