John Glenn Astronomy Park to share hero’s legacy with next generation

Forty miles southeast of Columbus in the secluded and tranquil woods of the Hocking Hills State Park, community members are setting their sights on the sky. Ohio’s Hocking Hills, known for its lack of light pollution and resulting clear night sky views, has always been a mecca for astronomy fanatics. Thus, members of the Friends of Hocking Hills State Park (FHHSP) has broken ground on for John Glenn Astronomy Park, which opens in early 2018. Named for one of America’s greatest heroes and an Ohio native, the park is made possible through generous donations and pledges from community members.

John Glenn Astronomy Park will not only allow visitors to explore the night sky, but will also offer daytime study, welcoming visitors to its Solar Plaza to study the Sun, Earth and the North Celestial Pole, among other celestial features. It is ideal for research, star parties, special events and general daily visitation. Designed by Ohio-based M&A Architects, the Astronomy Park includes:

  • An ideal elevation of 1,000 feet
  • An 80-foot in diameter Solar Plaza, which highlights the Sun’s orientation to the Earth as it changes throughout the year and is encircled by a low wall with notches that offer framed views of the Sun on key days
  • An enclosed 540-square-foot observatory featuring a retractable roof to permit night sky viewing
  • Gathering areas
  • Open green space
  • Plenty of free parking

Perhaps the most famous Ohioan with an eye on the cosmos, John Glenn, agreed to lend his name to the park, giving it his blessing shortly before passing away on Dec. 8, 2016.

“The Friends of Hocking Hills State Park organization is honored to move forward with a project that will bear Glenn’s name and legacy for years to come, with a focus on educating and engaging visitors,” said Julieann Burroughs, president of the FHHSP Board of Directors. “The park will spark an interest in science, exploration and astronomy among guests of all ages and is expected to become a meaningful scientific research facility.”

Preliminary design for John Glenn Astronomy Park is complete and construction of the park, which is located next to Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park is well underway. Land for the astronomy park will be leased to the Friends organization by ODNR for $1. As observatories statewide find their views obscured by increasing light pollution, the facility will solidify Hocking Hills’ reputation as one of the country’s last great pollution-free spots for stargazing. The region draws more than 3 million visitors annually from around the globe, with most coming to experience its unspoiled natural environment.

“In addition to miles and miles of trails through dense forests, stunning rock formations and rushing waterfalls, our star-filled skies get high marks from visitors,” said Hocking Hills Tourism Association Executive Director Karen Raymore. “The Tourism Association is thrilled at the opportunity to offer one more reason for travelers to visit the region and a new way for them to experience another natural attraction, which has been here since the dawn of time.”

John Glenn Astronomy Park in Ohio

Study the sky night or day!

What does it take to make for ideal astronomy viewing? Exactly the conditions you will find in Ohio’s Hocking Hills. That is why it is now the home of the John Glenn Astronomy Park. The Hocking Hills State Park is located forty miles from Columbus, easy to get to but far enough to have excellent visibility without light pollution getting in the way of star gazing.

Clear night skies have drawn many astronomy enthusiasts and now the John Glenn Astronomy Park takes that to the next level. The Solar Plaza welcomes visitors to study the daytime features of the sky. The Sun, Earth, and the North Celestial Pole are just a few of the features on display before the night time show begins. The enclosed 540-square-foot observatory allows for viewing the night sky with its retractable roof.

If you want to spark some excitement in nature and science this is a great destination. So many of us get a diluted view of the stars that it is easy to forget how magical and inspirational they are. This park offers visitors the experience of the near pristine night sky through a large telescope and with their bare eyes.

Night or day you can head to the woods and enjoy the Hocking Hills State Park then visit the observatory at the John Glenn Astronomy Park to get a wider view of the natural world.

Ohio’s Hocking Hills, known for its lack of light pollution and resulting clear night sky views, has always been a mecca for astronomy fanatics. Thus, members of the Friends of Hocking Hills State Park (FHHSP) has broken ground on for John Glenn Astronomy Park, which opens in early 2018. Named for one of America’s greatest heroes and an Ohio native, the park will be fully built and ready to open formally in June. 

In the park’s own words, “sadly, the lights of our modern world have, in recent decades, put our view of the heavens behind a veil of artificial light.   Most of us live under a sky that gives only a pale, washed out hint of its former beauty.

An astronomy park in the Hocking Hills State park was inspired by our vanishing night sky.   The Hocking Hills, in rural southeastern Ohio, is one of the few areas left in the state of Ohio where the night sky can be seen in its near pristine state.   The observatory will provide a venue for visitors to the Hocking Hills State park to experience the night sky through a large telescope and with their eyes.”

Find out more on the John Glen Astronomy Park website – – or on Social Media – Facebook

Hocking Hills Ohio

Pristine Ohio, Ready For Adventure

Hocking Hills Ohio is a destination for any nature enthusiast. Come, stay, and enjoy the outdoors day and night with hikes, high flying tours, rock climbing, and stargazing. Located just 90 minutes south of Columbus Ohio, the Hocking Hills State Park should definitely make your vacation ‘To Do’ list- there really is so much to do there. Then when you need a break from the great outdoors, head inside with some of the local shops, do some antiquing, or check out the artwork on display in the Historic Square Art District.

Hocking Hills Eco-Tours High Rock Adventures is just one of the many options for visitors to get out and enjoy this stunning landscape while keeping active. For the adventurers in your family, there is repelling and rock climbing that will have your pulse pounding. If that is not your style, a gentler option is the hiking tours through the pristine wildlife and unique rock formations. The Ecotour Adventures are informative, insightful about nature, and are just good old fashioned fun. High Rock Adventures goes so far as to issue a Rock Challenge. Spend time in rock halls, experience ascents, descents, squeezes, tunnels, narrows, and scrambles. You won’t need to wear a harness, but you will get your hands on time with the local rock formations.

If rock climbing doesn’t get you high enough, try Hocking Hills Canopy Tours for another opportunity at a bird’s eye view of Ohio. They offer a variety of tours to meet your needs, even ones under the light of the moon. Rated one of the top zipline adventures, this is sure to thrill you. Their Dragonfly Tour even allows the younger members of your family to get in on the zip lining. Spend time as a family speeding through the tree tops, or this is a perfect adults only activity too.

If your days aren’t already booked, drop in at the John Glenn Astronomy Park. There is plenty to see when the sun is up, too. At night you do get the full view.  Since the area is known for its lack of light pollution, the night sky puts on a real show. Inspiring you to look up and wonder at the greater universe around us, the John Glenn Astronomy Park blends science, history, and imagination in one destination.

For your creature comforts after an evening under the stars, give a log cabin a try. Cedar Grove Lodging offers the perfect place to rest your head while in the Hocking Hills area. With six cabins and two lodges, there are options available for any size group. Just a short drive from all of the most popular hikes in the State Park, guests can enjoy those trails or even hike on the 65 acre property.  Hot tubs, gas grills, fire pits, and wi-fi along with their rustic cabins offer a balance of the outdoors and everything you need for a great nights sleep.

Don’t miss spending time in town while on your trip. A great, and somewhat quirky destination in the Hocking Hills Region is the Columbus Washboard Company located in Logan, Ohio. Started in 1895, they are now the only washboard manufacturing company in the United States. Their products are still assembled by hand, a process you can see when taking a guided tour of the factory. If you are in the area Father’s Day Weekend be sure to get tickets for the Washboard Factory Music Festival. Appalachian Bluegrass and Folk music fills the town for three days every year. Take the time to visit, and choose your own souvenir to take home (or check out the Columbus Washboard Company’s Online Store)to get your own piece of American made history. They have a variety of fun items including soaps, Fostoria glassware, instruments, and vintage laundry. This sounds like something you might glaze over- don’t. It’s one of those things you will be glad you decided to see. And at this point, it’s truly one of a kind.

No matter your interests, the Hocking Hills Region of Ohio has something to offer. You can enjoy the natural splendor of the area, as well as the art and shops in town. No matter what you like to do, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy your trip. For more details and activities visit

Cedar Point Hotel Breakers

Cedar Point Hotel Breakers has been totally restyled and refreshed for 2015. The hotel has been totally redone for the ground up. For those that have never been before, it will be a new experience, and even for those that have been to Hotel Breakers before it will still be a new experience then the hotel that you knew.


Hotel Breakers has always been a place to share a great time with your family and friends. 110 years ago, the guests arrived by train and ferry and were looking for the same type of fun as the guests that still travel there today. Of course, 110 years is a long time ago and so the scene has changed a bit, but has only gotten better with time.

room picture

Hotel Breakers is located just shy of the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, Cedar Point. As Cedar Point will delight you during your visit, Hotel Breakers will be the perfect place to come back to after a day filled with fun. Each room has an LCD TV, refrigerator, microwave, and of course funky new bedding and decor.


The view from our room- it was a rainy night!


The pool area has now been extended to include a water play area that has a zero-depth entry. Your little ones can now enjoy water play and not have to get in too deep. The hot tub doesn’t hurt either to relax those muscles after a long day at the park. And if it’s coffee that you are craving, Starbucks is now proudly served! There is also now a Surf Lounge Bar, but if you are used to the old favorites, TGI Friday’s, Perkins, and TOMO Hibachi Grill are still there.


As Cedar Point has also transformed within the last, year so has Hotel Breakers. To tip you over the edge of wanting to go to, there is now a new coaster in town, Rougarou – an entirely new riding experience for fans and guests. Also, the Mantis stand-up roller coaster will be converted into a new floorless design that will deliver completely new thrills next summer.

If you are thinking about a trip to Cedar Point make sure that you book at Hotel Breakers.  It’s just steps away from the park, and has all sorts of easy access.  My son and husband love Cedar Point, and your family will too.


Got Cabin Fever? Indulge it.


Winter this year has been (for much of the country) a very long, bitter, and brutal one.  Many of us are suffering from cabin fever, and can’t get out- or don’t want to.  I say, go with it.  An extended and frigid winter is no reason you have to stay cooped up in your own house, even if you are not a skier, skater, or if you left your dog sled in your other garage.  So what to do?  Head to Ohio.

Yes, Ohio.  Ohio doesn’t often get the respect it deserves.  Besides being the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and of Fannie May chocolates (and yes, you can go on a factory tour with samples to be had), it’s also the home to more number one children’s museums, zoos, and centers as a whole then any other state.  Take that, Florida!


So- head to Ohio.  There is this hidden gem called Hocking Hills, known as a “Scenic Wonderland” where there are 9 state parks and forests.  Steeped in Native American History,the clear abundance of natural resources and water encouraged pioneers to settle in the area in the 1790’s.  It’s still wild looking- wildlife that you can spot includes “deer, barred owls, ruffed grouse and an occasional bobcat”  as well as wild turkey (according to the Southeast Ohio Tourism Department).  Along with the natural hiking trails of differing lengths and levels of difficulty, many of which are marked off or able to be found on maps in visitors centers, are more then 15 natural waterfalls, some of which are seasonal.  The largest and most often flowing tend to be Cedar Falls and the Upper and Lower Falls at Old Man’s Cave.  You can walk a scenic 2 mile trail between them if you choose.
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Fort Rapids- Save On Your Ohio #Vacation @DiscoverOhio

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Visit the Columbus Zoo- in the winter? You bet!

What kind of zoo visit can you have in a snow storm? A surprisingly fun one, actually. Especially at a zoo which is open year round as the Columbus Zoo and Aquariumis.

The morning we decided to check out the zoo, we pulled into the parking lot as some small flurries started to fall from the sky. As we found our parking spot, the snow storm picked up. We bundled up and began our trek. The zoo was very quiet in terms of visitors and also animals. We did a quick walk through a few exhibits, but unfortunately most of the animals were not out and about. We saw the gray wolves which were out and very active. Also, the interactive barn was open. The sheep and goats were very happy to see others walking about. Our main objective was to see the polar bears in their new enclosure.<br/>

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The Beach Waterpark- Your Next Day-Cation

OK, so it is not summer time in the slightest. But it will be here before you know it- so think warm thoughts!
If you start day dreaming of hot weather and water parks, it will come true, right? (Or, eventually, seasons will change, haha.)

Have you ever heard of The Beach Waterparkin Warren County, Ohio? The Beach Waterpark is a huge water park, and a great way to spend a hot summer’s day. From the Kahuna BeachWavepool to the massive amount of water slides ranging from tame to insanely twisty. For those more interested in the cooling properties of the water and not so much the the wild or thrilling, there are “lush palm trees” to lounge under and a huge lazy river to slowly float your day away.

For the bigger kids, Splash Mountain offers tons of attractions including otter slides and a pool with waterfalls and fountains. There is also the Toucan Lagoon which is a zero depth slide with a miniature body slide.
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