What's New in Shores & Islands for 2012?

May 16, 2012

From T-Rex to the Tin Goose, summer days promise not to go by without amazing experiences throughout Lake Erie and its shores.  Visitors to Lake Erie Shores and Islands this summer will find a mix of activities that are sure to excite all members of the family.

•    The Goose is Loose! The Tri-Motor Heritage Museum set to open in summer 2012 at the Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport in Port Clinton is dedicated to the history of Ford Tri-Motor aircraft. Affectionately known as the “Tin Goose”, Ford Tri-Motors played a significant role in the birth of commercial passenger aviation and locally, served as a lifeline to the Lake Erie islands, flying school children, passengers and freight during the winter months when the lake was frozen over. In addition to numerous historic displays, the museum will showcase the on-going restoration of Ford Tri-Motor 5-AT #40 which once completed will offer sightseeing flights over the Lake Erie islands region. The museum will also be home to a fully restored, vintage 1950’s diner… the Tin Goose Diner!

•    Dinosaurs Alive & Luminosity! Cedar Point Amusement Park has just debuted a $1 million prehistoric themed attraction. Dinosaurs Alive! on Adventure Island includes approximately 50 life-size animatronic dinos, each handcrafted and interactive. The educational attraction also features an excavation site and paleontological dig, fossil displays, and a half-mile long path with more than a dozen themed exhibits. Cedar Point’s Soak City waterpark, adjacent to the amusement park, will also add a new mat-racer slide complex for the 2012 season. “Dragster H2O,” a racing mat slide for up to six sliders at a time will launch on Soak City’s opening day, May 26. Sliders on Dragster H2O can reach speeds of 30 mph on the 45-ft-tall slide. A $6 million after-dark event will debut in June. “Luminosity: Ignite the Night” will be a mix of singers, dancers, drummers, acrobats, lights, lasers, and fireworks. After the show a DJ will continue the fun with a midway dance party.

•    Ride More, Wait Less Cedar Point also introduced the new Fast Lane program for 2012 where a limited number of Fast Lane tickets are available daily to allow purchasing guests unlimited rides with limited wait time. Fast Lane ticket holders will have separate ride access points for quick access to 16 different rides, including 9 of the park’s most popular roller coasters. Fast Lane tickets start at $30 (if 5 or more are purchased) in addition to regular admission and can be purchased online.

•    Scooop up the Fun! Great Wolf Lodge introduces a brand-new ice cream themed kid’s spa at the Sandusky resort this June. Scooops® Kid Spa is created with services designed exclusively for ages 4-12 years old. The ice cream spa experience includes chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry manicures and pedicures with an ice cream soak, sherbert scrub, and icing lotion finish. The spa also offers refreshing facials perfect for young “tween” faces and skin needs. Spa services conclude with an ice cream treat from Bear Paw Sweets & Eats.™

•    Maui Sands is back! Maui Sands Resort reopens for hotel guests this summer under new ownership. 136 upscale Hawaiian-themed rooms are available, including family suites. While the attached indoor waterpark will not be ready to open until 2013, guests of Maui Sands can enjoy amenities such as complimentary continental breakfast, family arcade games, fitness center, and an on-site Lava Lounge bar.

•    New Eats in Downtown Sandusky A number of new dining establishments have opened in downtown Sandusky. Pier 684, in the former Damon’s location at Battery Park Marina, features casual dining, nautical décor, and local flair along with the breathtaking views patrons have always enjoyed at the location. Hot Dog Tony’s, located across from the Jackson Street Pier, features deep fried Jersey dogs with a variety of toppings along with an extensive menu and full bar service. They are open late to accommodate guests returning to port on the Goodtime I or Jet Express ferry. Finally, the former Markley’s on Wayne Street will become a Subway franchise by summer.

•    Ohio’s largest goes larger! Kalahari Resort, Ohio’s largest convention center resort, is even bigger in 2012. A $22 million convention center expansion more than doubled the size of the resort’s meeting facilities. The 120,000-square-foot addition features a 38,000-square-foot ballroom/expo center, a 12,000-square-foot junior ballroom, 14 new meeting rooms, 30,000-square-feet of pre-function space, and state-of-the-art audio visual capabilities. The total square footage of Kalahari’s convention center now weighs in at 215,000-square-feet!

•    Nyumba Entertainment Villas have recently debuted Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio. These 4,100-square-foot stand-alone units are two level buildings with five bedrooms including one with a king bed and four with two queen beds and four bathrooms. There are nine flat screen televisions including a 55″ TV above a fireplace in the living room and a 55″ TV with theatre sound system in the recreation room, which also features a full bar with mini-fridge and pool table. Other amenities include a fully equipped kitchen with all the comforts of home, a patio/balcony with furniture and an indoor six-person hot tub. Admission to America’s largest indoor waterpark and Kalahari’s outdoor waterpark (seasonal, weather permitting) is included for each registered Villa guest.

•    The all new M3 Family Pass to the Merry-Go-Round Museum, Maritime Museum of Sandusky and Milan Historical Museum is a great value for families. With the pass, the entire family gains admission to three popular museums for a total of only $45. Sandusky’s Merry-Go-Round Museum offers trips to childhood no matter your age. At the center of the museum is a 1939 Allan Herschell carousel – fully operational. The exhibits feature rare carousel animals prized for their artistry. Then, get your sea legs over to the Maritime Museum of Sandusky where shipwrecks and boat building are shared with interactive displays and activities for all ages. The Milan Historical consists of a multi-building campus featuring a blacksmith shop, general store and carriage shed. Explore the history of canals and shipbuilding, see old-time toys and a renowned glass collection.

•    Island Experiences! A number of changes are highlighted at Put-in-Bay for 2012. Put-in-Bay is now home to its very own island radio station, WPIB, which can be found at www.putinbayradio.com. The new online radio station features island performers and music, as well as local news, weather, sports, and fishing reports. The former Crescent Tavern will now be known as T&J’s Smoke House and features an atmosphere and menu unlike any other bar or restaurant on the island. From the country music to the crushed peanut shells on the floor, the live entertainment showcasing the areas best country bands and dueling piano acts, and a completely new menu featuring a variety of smoked items, T&J’s will be the island’s only country bar/restaurant. The former Axel & Harry’s, located next to the Jet Express dock, has been purchased by the Booker family, owners of The Boardwalk complex. In similar fashion, this complex will be know as The Keys and will feature unique food and drink stations, dockage for boaters, and new bathhouse facilities. Perry’s Memorial National Monument is reporting that the observation deck, closed for renovations for several years, will be reopening July 20th. There will be fireworks over Put-in-Bay harbor five times this year with shows on:  June 17 (Founder’s Day Weekend) June 23 (Put-in-Bay Pyrate Fest), July 4 (Independence Day), Sept 8 (Historical Weekend) and Sept 15 (New Year’s Eve at the Bay). St Paul’s Episcopal Church at Put-in-Bay has dedicated a new labyrinth in the front yard of the church. This labyrinth has been registered along with nearly 4,000 others in the World-Wide labyrinth locater website. http://stpaulsputinbay.com/#/labyrinth-at-st-pauls/4555345085 Two antique-filled rooms are now available for overnight stays at the historic Doller House on the lakefront just west of downtown. A two-bedroom carriage house out back is also available for weekly stays. Rooms at the mansion, built from 1866 to 1885, come with membership privileges at the nearby Crew’s Nest private club, with several swimming pools, a fitness club, tennis courts and a restaurant. The first floor of the mansion houses the growing Put-in-Bay Winery, which offers tastings and tours of the property.

•    More Island Experiences A new Harbormaster Building will be open this spring at Middle Bass Island Marina to provide marina guests with more comfortable rest rooms, showers, a laundry, snack shop and large supply/gift shop.  St. Hazard’s Village on the Beach is closed pending remodeling however condo units on the property are available for rental.

•    Kelleys Island Celebrates 125 years! 2012 marks the 125th anniversary of the Village of Kelleys Island – a theme you’ll see incorporated into many island businesses and events this year, including the Island Fest July 20-22. The Casino has remodeled the interior of their dockside restaurant to include a huge new bar which will overlook the water and boat docks. The Kelley’s Island Wine Company will increase their offerings this year with wines from all over the world, lending a “wine bar” atmosphere to the already popular island winery. Also new: public restrooms downtown, expected to open soon near Town Hall on Division Street.

•    To Honor our Veterans The Traveling Vietnam Wall will be making a stop in Elmore’s Depot Park from August 9 – 13. This is the only area appearance of the wall and it is expected to bring thousands of Veterans and their families to the region.

•     New Cruises Goodtime Lake Erie Cruises, popular for their island-hopping cruises and Friday night party cruise to Kelleys Island, will be adding wine-tasting cruises to their schedule this summer. The once-monthly cruises, from June – September, will feature Ohio wineries and include five 1-ounce tastings, a four-course dinner, light entertainment, and a souvenir wine glass. The 2 ½ hour cruises are $45 per person.

•    Civil War Sesquicentennial Continues The 150th commemoration of the nation’s Civil War continues through 2016. A new full-color brochure detailing important Civil War sites in and around Erie County has been released by the Erie County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee. The “Lake Erie Shores & Islands Civil War Destination Guide” features several museums, libraries, monuments, and pertinent sites with regards to the American Civil War in this region. There will be a Civil War Encampment at the Ohio Veterans Home on June 15-16, featuring a Civil War cannon display and the Sandusky Bay Blue & Gray Civil War Dance at Sandusky Bay Pavilion on July 14 from 4-7 pm; featuring Civil War music by ‘The Anonymous String Band.’ Refreshments will be provided. Costumes encouraged but not required. The exhibit, Ohio and the Civil War: 150 years later will be hosted by Lakeside August 14-September 2, with the music program Magpie: “Battle Cry of Freedom” on August 22.

•    Don’t Give Up the Ship!  The shores and islands of western Lake Erie will be a historic family travel destination in 2013 as the region celebrates the Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial. Considered by historians as the turning point in the War of 1812, the Battle of Lake Erie saw Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial at Put-in-Bay, OH) and his crew defeat the British Royal Navy to secure U.S. control of the Great Lakes. His victory message to the general inspired our young nation: “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”  The Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial celebration– beginning Labor Day weekend, 2013– will include a large fleet of Tall Ships in a historic reenactment of the battle, and a two-week series of historical, educational and festival events that will conclude with a solemn commemoration of the Battle on September 10, 2013. Visitors will be able to tour Tall Ships, enlist as Crew Members in the reenactment, or be part of the Bicentennial Fleet or Militia.

Contacts: Jill L. Bauer, Public Relations Coordinator, Lake Erie Shores & Islands® Welcome Center East, (419) 625-2984, jill@shoresandislands.com, or; Larry Fletcher, Executive Director, Lake Erie Shores & Islands® Welcome Center West, (419) 734-4386 x223, larry@shoresandislands.com, www.shoresandislands.com.

Tagged: cedar point amusement park, dinosaurs alive, goodtime lake erie cruises, vacation, Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial, Cedar Point, ohio, new, travel, put-in-bay, maui sands, Kalahari Resort, Great Wolf Lodge, Lake Erie Islands, Kelleys Island