COLUMBU — Spring has sprung in Ohio, and the season’s longer days and warmer temperatures already are enticing people to spend more time outdoors. Thankfully, Ohio offers plenty of options for those who want to be outside and connect with nature or plan their next adventure.
“Spring is a wonderful time to get out and make memories with your friends and family,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “Whether you’re reconnecting with nature at one of our beautiful state parks, taking in a ball game, or spending a day at one of our nationally acclaimed amusement parks, Ohio has so much to offer.”
Ohio’s spring festivals and events
There’s no need to wait until summer for the fun to begin. Some of Ohio’s most beloved attractions, festivals, and events take place in the spring. Ohio.org lists more than 500 upcoming events. Here are just a few highlights:
Kings Island and Cedar Point, Ohio’s renowned amusement parks, will open soon. Kings Island’s season starts April 15, while Cedar Point’s season opens May 6 with a new ride, Wild Mouse, and an all-new area along Lake Erie called The Boardwalk.
The Memorial Tournament will host some of the PGA’s top golfers May 29 through June 4 in Dublin. Players and fans never want to miss Jack Nicklaus’ annual golf tournament.
The second annual Greater Columbus Cherry Blossom Festival runs April 1 through 9. But Columbus isn’t the only region that boasts magnificent cherry blossoms. Thousands of cherry trees across Ohio also offer brilliant displays.
The Great Steubenville Eggsibition is a brand-new free event going on now through April 23 in downtown Steubenville. Visitors of all ages are encouraged to find the 36 giant Easter eggs, designed and painted by local artists, hidden in downtown businesses.
COSI, Ohio’s nationally recognized science center, just opened the Tutankhamun exhibit, a once-in-a-lifetime look into the archaeology of ancient Egypt. COSI also will host its annual Science Festival, Ohio’s largest STEM event, May 3 through 6.
TourismOhio’s annual Ohio Tourism Day, scheduled for May 10 at the Ohio Statehouse, will make it easy for people to plan a getaway in Ohio this spring or anytime of the year. The event showcases more than 100 Ohio attractions and destinations that make ideal day trips, weekend getaways, and extended vacations. It also features live entertainment, food trucks, photo ops, and fun for the whole family.
“Ohio Tourism Day is a great chance to explore all that Ohio has to offer, from small roadside attractions to large festivals and events, all in one place,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “We’ve gathered experts from across the state ready to inspire your next weekend getaway or road trip across Ohio!”
Ohio’s birding sites among the best in the U.S.
The best birding locations in the country can be found in Ohio, where bird enthusiasts can watch warblers, songbirds, and other migratory birds in the spring as they head to their summer breeding grounds. The Magee Marsh Wildlife Area in Oak Harbor, for example, is recognized as one of nation’s premier birding destinations. Located along the western shore of Lake Erie, it’s an ideal spot for viewing spring migration activities for several types of birds. Oak Harbor, known as the “Warbler Capital of the World,” will host the annual “Biggest Week in American Birding” May 5 through 14. This 10-day festival, which attracts birders from all 50 states, features identification, conservation, and birding workshops as well as speakers and field trips. Other Ohio birding locations include:
The Lake Erie Birding Trail, which comprises 300 miles of trails that run along the northern shore of Lake Erie. The trail is home to more than 400 types of migrant birds.
Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, which has become one of the best birding spots in the state, as thrushes, warblers, vireos, and orioles pass by during their spring migration.
Shawnee State Park in West Portsmouth, which is home to more than 100 species of birds, including songbirds, blue grosbeaks, prairie warblers, and chuck-will’s-widows.
Take a ride on Ohio’s bike trails
Cycling enthusiasts love Ohio because of its extensive network of bicycle trails. The state boasts 1,523 miles of bike trails that are part of the U.S. Bicycle Route System, more than any other state. The trails make cycling an easy way to explore the state. The Ohio Department of Transportation’s “Ohio Bike Path Map” shows 31 of the state’s top long-distance trails, but plenty of local and regional bike paths also provide opportunities for enjoying Ohio’s great outdoors.
Spring is wildflower season
Ohio’s forests, state parks, and nature preserves are just a few of the locales where wildflowers bloom, creating a stunning tapestry of color and fragrance. Wildflowers typically begin blooming in early April when they can soak up sunshine that’s later blocked by leaves and trees. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources highlights the best places for viewing wildflowers in its weekly Ohio Wildflower Bloom Report, published each Friday through mid-May. While spring wildflowers can be found all across Ohio, a few notable and photo-worthy areas include Beaver Creek State Park, Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, Goll Woods State Nature Preserve, Hocking Hills State Park and Inniswood Metro Gardens.
For more information about all of the amazing things to see and do in Ohio this spring and all year long, check out the official “Ohio Travel Guide,” a free publication with 148 pages packed with interesting articles, informative listings, and plenty of inspiration for the perfect Ohio adventure. It can be ordered online here.
The “Official Ohio Travel Guide” app is available for free from the Apple Store and the Google Play Store.