Perhaps the biggest splash in southwestern Ohio comes from a renovation at Kings Island.
The Warren County attraction -- celebrating its 40th anniversary -- has sunk $10 million into an expansion of the former Boomerang Bay water park. Doubling in size from 15 to 33 acres, it has been given a new name and will give water lovers a place to play, given the closing of the neighboring Beach water park.
Soak City Waterpark is scheduled to open Saturday and will feature more than 50 water attractions -- including Tidal Wave Bay, a 39,000-square-foot wave pool; a new action river, and more places to lounge and relax.
Unlike sister park Cedar Point, which charges separately for water-park admission, Soak City entry is included with Kings Island admission.
Animated history comes to life
To the north, Montgomery County boasts the opening of the Heritage Center of Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship at Carillon Historical Park. The impressive addition features animatronic figures in an interactive theater, a massive carousel, cars, toys, and a train, to name just a few of the things vying for your attention.
The 65-acre park is home to the largest carillon in Ohio, 25 historical buildings, the original 1905 Wright Flyer III, costumed interpreters, and more. If you've visited before, it's worth another trip.
It's just one location in a region of the state packed with modern lessons about history.
The new exhibition at the Cincinnati Museum Center in Hamilton County offers an ancient history lesson.
"A Day in Pompeii" features 250 artifacts from the Roman city of Pompeii, which was decimated after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Among the items featured are frescos, gold coins, statues, and jewelry as well as body casts of victims who were preserved in their final moments.
"Whether you're interested in history, art, architecture, archaeology, geology, or have actually traveled to Pompeii, this exhibition is a must-see," said Douglass W. McDonald, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. "It's impossible not to feel a connection to this thriving city and her citizens who lived 2,000 years ago."
The exhibit will be on display through Aug. 12.
All eyes will be on the Summer Games in London, but Cincinnati (Hamilton County) will host an "Olympic" event of its own -- the World Choir Games, July 4-14. The event will feature voices of all ages representing 70 countries.
Held every two years, the 11-day event will take place in the United States for the first time, after having made stops in Austria, China, Germany, and South Korea.
"Being able to host hundreds of choirs from six continents is a unique opportunity for any region," said Michael Perry, director of marketing and promotions for the 2012 World Choir Games. "For many, this will be their first -- and perhaps only -- trip to the U.S. Our community has the chance to shape the impressions international visitors will have about Cincinnati, the state of Ohio, and the United States. That's exciting."
Stop in at EnterTRAINment Junction in West Chester (Butler County) and experience the new Crazy Caper attraction that opened in the year-old A-Maze-N Funhouse space. The Crazy Caper features a wide variety of circus midway attractions, with the latest entrant in the sideshow described as an assault on the senses -- featuring noises, lighting, moving floors, and other wild surprises.
While there, check out the largest indoor train display that started it all. Featuring more than two miles of track, 90 engines, and 1,000 cars, it's called EnterTRAINment for a good reason.