African Painted Pups at the Cincinnati Zoo
There are lots of new faces at the Cincinnati Zoo. This spring, for the first time, visitors will be able to see African painted dog Imara’s newest litter of 11. The species is one of the most endangered carnivores in Africa, with fewer than 5,000 wild dogs. Only 52 percent of painted dog pups survive, so a healthy litter like Imara’s is a boon for the species. The Zoo’s black rhino, Seyia, is also expecting her first calf this summer.
This life-sized model of Noah’s Ark opened in the summer of 2016, and since then the attraction has made some exciting additions: the Ararat Ridge Zoo (with camel and donkey rides and a petting zoo) and Screaming Eagle Zip Lines (an adventure park boasting 24 zip lines—one a 2,100 footer that’s among the longest in the Midwest—an aerial ropes course and four free-fall jumps). After a day of Ark Encounter activities, grab some Sidewinder Fries or Noah’s Chili and Cheese at Emzara’s Kitchen, a two-story casual eatery off the bow of the Ark.
Brewing Heritage Trail
Cincinnati was once a booming brewing center, with a per capita consumption of beer outpacing that of any other U.S. city. The Brewing Heritage Trail is a celebration of that heritage, an urban walking trail weaving through Cincinnati neighborhoods and past (and into and under) dozens of historic breweries, illustrated along the way with a mix of public art and digital experiences. Download the informative free smartphone app for augmented reality, interactive learning experiences and self-guided tours to further enhance the experience. Guided Cincinnati brewery tours available year-round, first segment opens early fall 2017; brewingheritagetrail.org
Mystic Timbers at Kings Island
Kings Island adds its 16th roller coaster this spring—Mystic Timbers, a 3,200-foot-long wooden coaster that weaves through the forest on the edge of the park and boasts 16 airtime hills. The amusement park is no stranger to epic wooden coasters: It’s home to the world’s longest, The Beast, which has earned recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records and American Coaster Enthusiasts. Also returning after a 12-year hiatus is Winterfest—a holiday-themed transformation of the park’s International Street. Watch for more details about Winterfest coming up.
Star Wars and the Power of Costume at Cincinnati Museum Center
Calling all Star Wars fans: Cincinnati Museum Center’s newest exhibit, Star Wars and the Power of Costume, features more than 60 handcrafted costumes from the first seven Star Wars films, along with the latest installment Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It’s a deeper look at the creative process of the artists who worked to bring George Lucas’s fantastical world to life, whether it was the menacing black mask of Darth Vader, the gilded suit of C-3PO, the lavish royal gowns of Queen Amidala or the iconic bikini worn by Princess Leia when enslaved by Jabba the Hutt. Opens May 25, 2017.
Stingray Hideaway at Newport Aquarium
Newport Aquarium is open 365 days a year and showcases thousands of aquatic animals from around the world. This May, the attraction is adding a 17,000-gallon stingray touch pool where visitors can experience what it’s like to pet the majestic creatures as they glide through the water. The pool is set inside the inlet of a rocky Caribbean coast, so guests can also venture underneath the water’s surface to see the stingrays in an underwater viewing area.
Sunlite Water Adventure at Coney Island
Coney Island's new Sunlite Water Adventure – which encompasses Sunlite Pool, Typhoon Tower and the water slides – will include a new entrance area and private entrance for passholders, plus a new bath house, full-service tiki bar and renovated Island Shop. Thatch huts and Caribbean decor further helps transport visitors to an island oasis. Opens in late May.
By: Baihley Grandison & Amber Potter