Our calendars are filling up with reminders of the mega-popular ethnic festivals, county fairs, museum highlights, and other go-to summer entertainment options in northwest Ohio.
We rely on the old standards thanks to the fond memories we have of them, but there will also be a few newbies on the fun-time horizon worth checking out, especially these three:
Hollywood Casino Toledo
Toledo is staking its bet on a casino to spur economic development and give the region a buzz of excitement that local leaders hope is heard throughout the region.
Hollywood Casino along the Maumee River south of the downtown area is set to open May 29 and will feature 2,000 slot machines, a 20-table poker room, entertainment, and at least three restaurants. Sixty tables will be included for games such as craps, roulette, blackjack, and poker.
The 44-acre site will include a 290,000-square-foot facility and a 120,000-square-foot gaming room. Nearly 2,300 people will be employed there, which should give the struggling northwest Ohio economy a boost along with the influx of tourists that is expected.
Dinosaurs have come to Cedar Point in Sandusky this year as a $1 million animatronic exhibit turns part of the busy amusement park into something out of the Jurassic age.
The exhibit on a four-acre wooded island in the rear of the park replaces a pioneer-themed Paddlewheel Excursion ride. Let's face it, what's going to get your kids more excited: pioneers or dinosaurs? Prehistoric beasts win.
The dinosaurs are handcrafted and covered with skin-like materials. They are able to move, and the exhibit includes Tyrannosaurus Rex, Irratator, Baryonyx, and Spinosaurus, the largest of all known carnivorous dinosaurs.
Expect also to see the plated Stegosaurus and the three-horned Triceratops and there will be a half-mile path where guests can get an up-close look at some of the larger dinosaurs, providing what the park calls "a very intimate encounter with the prehistoric beasts."
Visiting the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit will cost $5 per person on top of the usual park admission fee. Also new this year at Cedar Point is the Luminosity Light the Night display that will feature a massive laser light show. It is set to begin June 8.
War of 1812 celebration (sort of)
It's a little paradoxical that in the year of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, northwest Ohio is waiting until next year for its big blow-out, but it makes sense from a local historical perspective.
Fort Meigs, in what is now Perrysburg, was a key site in the war, but the big battle there didn't take place until 1813. Consequently, that's when the restored fort will be the site of much bigger celebrations.
However, the 199th anniversary commemorating of the Siege of Fort Meigs will take place May 26-27 this year and it will informally begin the process of the big bicentennial celebration. Re-enactors representing U.S. soldiers, British soldiers, and woodland Indians will converge on the site to replay the frontier battle in May of 2013 that helped secure the Northwest Territory for the young country.
Fort Meigs is at 29100 W. River Rd. in Perrysburg. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, $4 for students, and free for children 5 and younger and Ohio Historical Society members.
Contact Rod Lockwood at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6159.