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sns020212Caverns13 Ohio Caverns in Champaign County.
Ohio Caverns in Champaign County. Enlarge
Published: Sunday, 5/19/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

SUMMER GUIDE: SOUTHWEST

Discover your inner cave man — and woman

BY ALEXIS LARSEN
DAYTON DAILY NEWS

For those who thrive on an adrenaline rush, southwestern Ohio has a wealth of thrill-seeking adventures.

For those seeking to venture below ground, a trip to Ohio Caverns in West Liberty (Champaign County) might be in order.

The largest of Ohio’s caves, the site features more than two miles of passageways ranging from 30 to 103 feet in depth. Tours leave about every 20 minutes, so it’s an adventure into the Earth you don’t necessarily need to plan in advance. The caverns remain a steady 54 degrees year-round, with air that’s cleaner than what you can find above the ground.

The largest and most famous formation in the caverns is the Crystal King — one of the biggest and most perfectly formed stalactites in any cave. Nearly five feet long, weighing about 400 pounds, and estimated to be more than 200,000 years old, it drips once every seven to eight minutes.

“We have been wowing visitors for over 100 years,” manager Tim Grissom said. “We are open every day except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. People can come and warm up on a cold winter day or come and cool off on a hot summer day.”

Pricing varies depending on the tour. Information: 937-465-4017, www.ohiocaverns.com.

RELATED CONTENT: Southwest Ohio activities and attractions

■ Water sports
For a water-lovers’ adventure, head to Wake Nation, the only cable wake-boarding park in the Midwest — and the best place to learn how to wake-board, water-ski, knee-board, and wake-skate. The 10-acre lake in Butler County offers an opportunity to practice and hone boarding skills without a boat. It’s fun for riders and observers alike, and it gets the whole family outdoors.

An all-day ride pass costs $40 a person. Information: 513-887-9253, www.wakenation.com.


■ Zip-line tours
The state boasts five major zip-line canopy tours — Columbus, Hocking Hills, Loudonville, West Liberty, the Wilds — but one of the most breathtaking views can be found at Oregonia’s Ozone Zipline Adventures, which stretches across the Little Miami River at heights of up to 200 feet.

Ozone offers several options, including the “ultimate” tour of up to five hours using 11 zip lines (including two new lines that cross the Little Miami River) and nine sky bridges and that includes a bag lunch.

“[It] gives guests a truly unique view of the river valley and is one of the most spectacular lines in the entire Midwest,” said Chris Addison, Ozone Zipline director at Warren County’s Camp Kern.

For those who think they’ve seen — or done — it all, consider a nighttime adventure, offered each month closest to the full moon.

Reservations are required, and guests 16 and younger must be accompanied by a paying adult. Prices range from $55 to $110. Information: 1-800-255-5376, www.campkern.org/ozone.

And that just scratches the surface of things to do in the area.

 

■ Other Area Highlights
● Several rock-climbing gyms not only offer protection from the elements when necessary, but also a workout worthy of a mountainside.

Sharonville’s RockQuest (Butler County, 513-733-0123, www.rockquest. com) or Dayton’s Urban Krag (Montgomery County, 937-224-5724, www. urbankrag.com) offer a serious rock-climbing workout for those looking to practice outdoors.

● After a killer exercise session, cool off with a breezy sky-diving adventure at Skydive Warren County in Lebanon. Information: 513-282-3725, www.skydivewarrencounty.com.

● For bike lovers, southwestern Ohio is laced with trails including six maintained by Five Rivers MetroParks that thread through Montgomery County (937-275-7275, www.metroparks.org).

The MoMBA park — which stands for MetroParks Mountain Biking Area — at the Huffman MetroPark in Dayton (Montgomery County) features an eight-mile mountain-biking track for riders ranging from novice to advanced. Information: www.miami valleytrails.org.

● For those who seek a little serenity, head to Morgan’s canoe livery in Oregonia (Butler County) to relax on the Little Miami River in a kayak or a canoe. Information: 1-800-932-2663, www.morganscanoe.com.

● The recently opened Cox Arboretum Tree Tower (Montgomery County, www.metroparks.org/treetower), is a 46-foot-tall observation tower that offers guests breathtaking panoramic views of both the park and the areas bordering it.

● Springfield’s Buck Creek State Park (Clark County) features the ECO Sports Corridor with four recreational white-water kayaking areas that feed into a large lake, miles of bike trails and other boating, fishing and camping opportunities. Information: 937-322-5284, www.buckcreekstatepark.org.



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