Photos by OHventures
Bowling Green, Ohio is in Wood County, which is smack-dab in the middle of the Northwest plains of the state. While it may seem like nothing but flat, wide open land, there is a great deal of character in this growing college town.
I first experienced the city by going to Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in 2002 when I participated in the American Legion Buckeye Boys State Program between my junior and senior years of high school (I am aging myself, I know). The program was designed to give upwards of 1,300 young men from all across the state of Ohio the opportunity to come together for a 9-day experience creating a mock government on the campus of BGSU (an equivalent program for young women called "Girls State" takes place each year at Ashland University).
Every aspect of government would be re-created in this unique setting: the campus would be transformed in a way that it represented the "State" with each dorm building representing a "County" and each floor of the dorm building representing a "City." There would be mayors, school board members, city councilmen, county commissioners, state legislators, department heads, and even a Governor. This intricate "make believe" world was an interesting concept, but really was educational, character building, and unforgettable. Plus, the program has been around since 1936, which is nothing to sneeze at!
During my time at Boys State, I was a "citizen" of Sklenicka and was employed as a school board member and a reporter for the state newspaper, "The Hetuck" (surprise, surprise). I thoroughly enjoyed this taste of college life, and I made a great deal of friends, namely my friend Zach from Cleveland, Jeff from Waverly, and Austin from Columbus. In a strange twist of fate, Austin and I ended up as roommates at Ohio State University for our freshman and sophomore years in the dorms!
For the past 3 years (2011, 2012, 2013), I have been given the privilege through my current job at the Ohio Department of Transportation to return to Boys State for one day to teach students about what our agency does. It is surreal making a return visit to this campus each year, as it always brings up fond memories from my youth. I am lucky to have participated in Buckeye Boys State, and even luckier to get the chance to contribute in a small way over a decade later.
Through these visits, I have grown to enjoy Bowling Green a great deal. Below is a short list of things you can do on a mini day trip to the campus and surrounding area!
- 1. BGSU Planetarium (112 Physical Sciences Lab Bldg): The Minolta star projector can show the sky as it would be seen from any place on the Earth at any time, including the Sun, Moon, planets, and more than 4000 stars.
- 2. Portage Quarry (12701 S Dixie Hwy): Just a few miles from Bowling Green, this quarry offers some of the most popular swimming in the area. You can also go scuba diving here!
- 3. The End Zone (1628 E. Wooster St.): Located across the street from the BGSU football stadium, this local bar features $1 drafts (16oz) and $2 well drinks during happy hour and is open 7 days a week!
- 4. Bowling Green City Park (520 Conneaut Ave.): A ton of amenities can be enjoyed at this park: horseshoe pits, basketball courts, inline skating rink, and a giant community swimming pool.
- 5. AMP-Ohio Wind Farm (Bowling Green Road West, 43402) Ohio's first utility sized wind farm is located here with four turbines that are each 257 feet tall! They generate 7.2 megawatts of power, and have become a local attraction, with a solar powered kiosk on site with visitor info.
- 6. Carillon Place Dining Hall (1001 E Wooster St.): As you wander around BGSU, don't be afraid to stop in to Carillon Place, a brand new dining hall built in 2012 (pictured below)! Having eaten here a few times, it's not too bad, for college food!