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Ohio Explodes With New Tourism Opportunities

COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ohio travel forecasters expect summer to roar in at the speed of a record-setting Cedar Point roller coaster with 50 years of Rolling Stones music for visitors to enjoy getting wild at the zoos, zipping around the curves with NASCAR and blowing things up with Mythbusters. There are just 99 days from Memorial Day to Labor Day, so don't wait until the canons fire at the Battle of Lake Erie to make your getaway plans.

Check DiscoverOhio.com today to build your vacation itinerary and get great discounts. Following are just some of the new experiences awaiting Ohio visitors this year, with photos available in this image library.

Speed Demons GateKeeper at Cedar Point, Sandusky ( May 11) Redefining the park's entrance, this 4,164-foot-long winged coaster seats riders on either side of the coaster rails with legs swinging freely, sweeping them over the entrance crowds and narrowly through openings in two towers. At 164 feet, GateKeeper holds the record for the longest drop of any winged coaster.

NASCAR returns to Ohio , Mid-Ohio Raceway, Lexington ( Aug. 17) The Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 brings NASCAR enthusiasts back to Ohio for the first time since 2008, bringing drivers and fans to a 2.4-mile, 15-turn road course that currently hosts the IndyCar Series and Grand-Am Racing.

Animal Adventures Wild Walkabout at the Toledo Zoo ( May 24) Visitors will find themselves immersed in Australia's great outdoors, beginning with a wallaby walk and moving along to more dangerous creatures including a huge saltwater crocodile in the Reptile House. Death adders, laughing kookaburras and more will round out this Aussie adventure.

Africa at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden ( June 29) Phase III of the Africa exhibit opens this summer, allowing visitors to see and learn about African primates, wild dogs and more. The exhibit also will feature indoor-outdoor facilities and an African-themed restaurant experience.

Grizzly Ridge at the Akron Zoo ( July 20) One of the biggest openings in the Akron Zoo's 60-year history, Grizzly Ridge's main attraction will be a training wall allowing visitors a behind-the-scenes view at how the keepers train a grizzly bear. A fully enclosed slide will run through the otter pool providing kids a chance to slide through with otters swimming around them, and a walk-in aviary will feature native Ohio birds.

For Inquisitive Explorers NASA Glenn Visitor Center at Great Lake Science Center, Cleveland ( April 6)This newly renovated, $5 million facility invites explorers to steer a robotic rover, climb a Martian landscape, and more. Along with 50 new interactive exhibits, visitors also will find space suits from Skylab and Apollo, including one issued to Buzz Aldrin, and a moon rock collected by astronauts from Apollo 15.

MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition at COSI, Columbus ( June 8) Based on Discovery Channel's Emmy-nominated series, this exhibit will uncover the truth behind everything from blowing down a brick house to staying dry in the rain. Try a dozen hands-on experiments, watch live demonstrations, and explore authentic props and gadgets from the MythBusters set.

Cultural Offerings Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland ( May 24) Chronicling the band from the mid-1960s until today, the exhibit will span two-and-a-half floors of the Museum and celebrate the Rolling Stones' incredible contribution to popular music through the use of artifacts, film, text and interactive technology. The Museum also will host a range of free public programs that explore the significance and legacy of the Rolling Stones through interviews, films, and special lectures.

Crossing Cultures at the Toledo Museum of Art ( April 12)Featuring more than 100 works of contemporary indigenous art from Australia spanning five decades, this exhibition encompasses media and materials employed by contemporary Aboriginal artists from acrylic painting on canvas to earthen ochre painting on bark as well as sculpture and photography among other media.

For Sports Enthusiasts Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary , Canton (Opening-- June 1; Enshrinement Festival-- Aug. 2-6; Hall of Fame Game-- Aug. 4) Experience the new gridiron galleries and exhibits included in the Hall of Fame expansion and renovation project after a ribbon cutting ceremony June 1. Then, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will celebrate its 50 th Anniversary with a Golden Anniversary Reunion, expecting as many as 130 Hall of Fame legends to attend the Enshrinement Ceremony August 3. The Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins will kick off the 2013 preseason in the annual NFL/Hall of Fame Game August 4.

2013 Summer National Senior Games , Cleveland ( July 19-Aug. 1)This 19-sport biennial competition is open to men and women aged 50+ and includes everything from archery to tennis. Thirteen thousand athletes are anticipated in 2013.

For the History Buff Tall Ships Festival , Cleveland ( July 4-7)A fleet of 10-12 tall ships will sail into Cleveland's harbor to participate in a four-day, family-friendly festival showcasing the Great Lakes' diverse maritime history. Visitors can board vessels, meet crew and experience the heritage these ships symbolize. Cleveland also welcomes the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®, a series of port-to-port international sailing races, cruises and maritime festivals starting in Toronto, ON and ending in Erie, Pa.

Bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie , Lake Erie ( Aug. 30-Sept. 10)The waters off South Bass Island will once again thunder with cannon fire as tall ships recreate the Battle of Lake Erie. The Tall Ships sail into the area for a Parade of Sail of Lake Erie ports (Aug. 29–30), before heading to Put-in-Bay for a full-scale historical re-enactment of the Battle of Lake Erie on Labor Day. The events wrap up on Sept. 10 with the return of the U.S.S. Niagara, the restored 200-year-old ship Perry commanded in the battle.

For more information, check out DiscoverOhio.com, follow us on Twitter @DiscoverOhio, become a fan of the Ohio Tourism Division on Facebook or join the conversation on our blog at DiscoveringOhio.com.

About the Ohio Office of TourismThe Office of TourismOhio is the premier source of information for travelers and media about Ohio's vibrant tourism experiences, attractions and economy. Tourism marketing programs contributed to an estimated $40 billion in sales from visitor spending in 2011. A part of the Ohio Development Services Agency, the Office's mission is to market and celebrate Ohio's unique travel opportunities and promote the State's outstanding quality of life.

SOURCE Office of TourismOhio

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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