10 cool things I want to do in 2010 (that I haven’t done yet)

Kevin Rose, the historian at the Turner Foundation, and I were talking this afternoon about the things we want to do for this coming year – fun, neat places and events that I haven’t had a chance to do yet since my family and I have been in Springfield. Last year was a good one – we did several new things including the Enon Apple Butter Festival, the Yellow Springs Street Fair, the Fair at New Boston, the Renaissance Festival, the Boonshoft Museum and Clark County Fair (which I haven’t blogged about yet), Oktoberfest/Culturefest, Clifton Mill, and more. But here’s what I don’t want to miss for 2010 (my top 10 plus some honorable mentions):

Exterior of the Frank Lloyd Wright Westcott House

Front view of the Frank Lloyd Wright Westcott House

1. Westcott House Tour – I’ve been to the Westcott House on more than one occasion, and I even blogged about it when my friends Vicki Rulli and Tom Heaphy with Itinerant Studio did a photo exhibition in conjunction with Naysan McIlhargey of Miami Valley Pottery. But I haven’t gotten an official tour. The house is Frank Lloyd Wright’s best example of prairie style in Ohio and one of his top ten houses in US (according to one source). It was renovated in 2004 at a cost of over $5M. It was done right after FLW came back from Japan. A real gem. I’m gonna get my FLW history fix this year.

2. Hartmann Rock Garden – speaking of gems, this one came into my awareness in 2009, but I never made it out there. It made the news here as the Kohler Foundation out of Wisconsin invested a lot of money to restore it. Here’s what it is: “From 1932-1939, H.G. Hartman built a 35’ x 140’ rock garden in Springfield, OH. It contains approximately 20,000 individual stones. Hartman started with a fish pond and then filled his yard with statues, miniature stone castles, cathedrals, and other historic buildings. There are models of the White House, tributes to boxer Joe Louis and the Dionne Quintuplets, as well as religious scenes.”

3. Holiday in the City – just came back from Thanksgiving visit to my folks in Toledo and was too exhausted to do this event the last Saturday in November. From a Springfield News-Sun article: “True to form, when asked what the best part of the night had been, “Santa Claus!” remained the highlight of the evening after the two brothers oohed and aahed through the community tree lighting, the lighting of the buildings downtown and grand fireworks – set to the tune of classic Christmas carols. An estimated 14,000 to 15,000 people attended…”

4. Splash Zone – I’ve blogged about it, but I have not yet taken my family to this National Trails run community waterpark about 5 minutes from my house. It will be a top priority in the summertime. From my blog – “What could be more fun than romping around in over 377,000 gallons of water and racing down 400’ of water slides? In its first three days of being open in 2009, over 1000 people jumped, slid, and swam into fun at Springfield’s 10-acre Splash Zone Family Aquatic Center. The park opened in 2007 at a cost of $6 million and is a public facility owned and operated by the National Trail Parks & Recreation District, Springfield’s parks department. In addition to the waterslides, the park also features a 280’ lazy river, Ohio’s first bowl slide, a 25’ competition lap pool, a beach-style entry pool, heated areas, diving boards, children’s sprayground, as well as a bathhouse and basketball court.”

5. Knob Prairie Mound and Miamisburg Mound – I haven’t visited the Knob Prairie Mound or the one in Miamisburg , which is the largest conical (cone-shaped) Adena mound in Ohio. The Knob Prairie Mound in Enon (Clark County) is the second largest. What is an Adena mound and when was it built, you ask? From Adena.com: “About 1000 B.C. we can mark the beginning of a new period for man in North America. This period, which lasted until about 700 A.D., is called the Woodland Period…These people are known to us today by the general term of the Mound Builders. They were so named for their practice of creating earthen burial mounds and other earthworks…The Adena built mounds generally ranging in size from 20 to 300 feet in diameter…They had well-organized societies since the construction of the mounds took a great deal of effort. A majority of the people were cremated after death, placed in small log tombs and covered with earth. More important people were often buried in the flesh and laid to rest with a variety of artifacts such as flints, beads, pipes, and mica and copper ornaments.

6. Preservation Alliance Walking Tours – I couldn’t find any great info from the web to describe these. They are really worth the time. Springfield is very rich in architectural history and interest for a community of this size and we have some people that really groove on it, like Kevin Rose. He and others provide really interesting and fun tours that help one appreciate the great building traditions we have in our community. From their website: “The Springfield Preservation Alliance will celebrate Springfield’s distinct architecture and history with our seventh annual Summer Walking Tour Series next summer. History, design, and local professionals will guide each tour, which last one and a half to two hours.”

7. Buck Creek State Park Walking Trails – My family and I have enjoyed the CBJ Reservoir (which I have to blog about next year – great place to visit – 2400 foot sand beach), but I’ve never walked any of the trails. It’s great having a State park in your own backyard, and I intend to experience most of it this year. There are two main trails, the Buckhorn Trail, which is 7.5 miles (and moderate in difficulty) and the Lakeview Trail, which is 2.5 miles (also moderate).

8. Jungle Jim’s – This attraction is located down near Cincinnati and was on my list for 2009, but I just didn’t get there. Here’s a great description from their website: “Jungle Jim’s International Market is described as a theme park for foodies. Founded in 1974 by “Jungle” Jim Bonaminio, the store started as a small produce stand and has grown to over 6½ acres. Jungle Jim’s is noted for having one of the largest wine collections in the United States, live seafood tanks, and an in-store cooking school in addition to a 1000 person Event Center. Each week, the store is visited by approximately 50,000 shoppers, who are known as “Foodies”. Many of the 50,000 specialty products in the store’s International department are difficult to find elsewhere in the Greater Cincinnati area, and customers have been known to drive from other cities, and even states, for the store’s wide variety of foods and unique shopping experience.”

9. IKEA – IKEA is a Swedish furniture manufacturer – From Hoovers: “How Swede it is. One of the world’s top furniture retailers, IKEA sells Scandinavian-style home furnishings and other housewares in about 295 stores in some 40 countries. To cut transportation costs, IKEA uses flat packaging; customers assemble the products at home. The company designs its own furniture, which is made by nearly 1,400 suppliers in more than 50 countries. IKEA’s stores feature playrooms for children and Swedish cuisine restaurants. It also sells by mail order and online. An acronym for founder Ingvar Kamprad and his boyhood home, Elmtaryd, Agunnaryd, IKEA began operating in Sweden in 1943.” The store in West Chester (between Cincinnati and Dayton) opened March 12, 2008 and is the first IKEA store in Ohio. It’s a 344,000 sq. ft. facility with a 26 acre pond, 48 room settings, 3 fully furnished home interiors, a 350+ seat restaurant, Swedish food market, bistro featuring 50¢ hot dogs, and a supervised children’s play area (for children 37″ – 54″ tall).

10. Newport Aquarium – we go to the Columbus Zoo multiple times a year. It is a great place, and the blog post I did on it is one of my earlies. Here’s what Wikipedia says about it – “The Newport Aquarium is located in Newport, Kentucky, at Newport on the Levee. The aquarium has 70 exhibits and 14 galleries, including five seamless acrylic tunnels totaling over 200 feet in length. The aquarium showcases thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water, including the enormously popular “Scooter” and “Sweet Pea,” two of the few shark rays in captivity and the only breeding pair on display in the world. In 2009, the Aquarium received a baby shark ray from Taiwan, named Sunshine.” Grace, my five-year old loves fish, and I’m looking forward to this.


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