Monday, September 28, 2015

Kalahari Photo Blog

Who: Adults and kids alike! Groups of 2-36!
What: Kalahari Indoor Waterpark & Resort
When: All year 'round, rain or shine (or even snow - it's indoors!)
Where: Sandusky, Northwest Ohio
Why: To experience waterpark thrills any time of the year, to pamper yourself with its many spa options, and to drink & dine in style
How: Book an African-themed room and get your bathing suit ready!

All photos by OHventures

Time for the Lazy River

Ready to hit up the slides!

The Mud Hut 21 & Over Swim-Up Bar!

Outdoor hot tub area connected to the swim-up bar

Kalahari's very own bowling alley

Cheetah Race - dueling slides!

African-themed decor at Kalahari

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark & Resort

Swahili Swirl

With the nation's largest indoor waterpark, a candy shop with seemingly endless amounts of treats and desserts, and one of the best arcade and gaming areas around, Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio is any kid's dream come true. However, if you're looking for a getaway without the kids, Kalahari has just as much excitement to offer couples or groups of adults. From world-class spa treatments, to a fitness facility, to a fine selection of adult beverages (including a swim-up bar), you'll be surprised how much fun can be had!

Kalahari Resort is primarily known for its impressive indoor water attractions, which makes it a year-round destination for travelers from near and far alike. To get the most out of your stay (especially if you came a significant distance), it's recommended you reserve a room to stay for a day or two (or three or more)!

There are 890 guestrooms and suites, which can accommodate anywhere from two to 36 guests. These room styles are unique and spacious, and are all beautifully decorated with an African theme. The largest room available is the Entertainment Suite, which is perfect for bachelor or bachelorette parties, a spring break destination, or celebrating milestones with friends.

All rooms include a flat screen TV, mini fridge and high speed internet access. Certain rooms also include a balcony patio, fireplace, whirlpool tub, wet bar, and other amenities. All rooms also include wristbands that grant you access to the waterpark.

I recently spent a night in the Nomad Room (which included an awesome patio overlooking the outdoor water recreation area) during a 2-day visit to Kalahari Resort. Of course, the first thing on my list to do was to visit the waterpark.

The indoor waterpark is the size of three football fields and jam-packed with colorful slides and contraptions! There are designated areas for children below a certain age, and other areas that are for all people above a certain height. There are several extreme rides, which were a priority for me and my friends. These included the Zip Coaster (basically a water roller coaster), FlowRider (stand-up surfing and body boarding on a simulated wave), and my absolute favorite, Swahili Swirl (a giant blue raft ride that can seat up to 4 thrill-seekers).

The Mud Hut Swim-Up Bar!

After the adrenaline pumping attractions were out of the way, it was time to relax on the Lazy River tube ride and wade in the Wave Pool, where every 15 minutes, waves pumped through the pool of water. It was also time to head to get a cocktail at the swim-up bar, the Mud Hut. Here, you can sit on an stool submerged just below the water and enjoy one of their special alcoholic concoctions, frozen or on the rocks. The water at the Mud Hut is warm, like a hot tub, so you can truly kick back and enjoy yourself.

Breakfast served all day at the Ivory Coast

All of the waterpark fun can work up an appetite, so thankfully there is a great restaurant selection at Kalahari. My favorites were The Reserve Restaurant & Bar, and the Ivory Coast Restaurant (with its adjacent Ivory Coast Lounge bar). The Ivory Coast serves breakfast all day and both locations have fantastic staff (Aimee and Trisha were superb)!

Every adult who visits Kalahari Resort should book an appointment at Spa Kalahari! There's a long list of massages (relaxation, hot stone, deep tissue, etc.), body treatments (herbal fusion detox, gentleman's sugar scrub, etc.), spa packages , and other ways to pamper yourself during your visit. Men and women both can enjoy facials, manicures, pedicures, or tanning sessions. If you do happen to have children with you, the Junior Spa can help make them feel like princes and princesses.

Next time you think about taking an excursion with friends or your significant other, consider Kalahari Resort so you can get the perfect combination of thrills and relaxation all in one place!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Escape To Kelley's Island

Photos by OHventures

Kelley's Island is located in Erie County in the western basin of Lake Erie about 4 miles north of the Marblehead peninsula and 10 miles from Sandusky Measuring more than 4 square miles, Kelley's Island is the largest American island located in Lake Erie. Being that it is in the middle of the lake, you have to get either either by ferry (try the Miller Boat Line), private boat, or by airplane (via the Kelley's Island Land Field Airport).

I first visited Kelley's Island in the year 2000, when I was just a freshman in high school. I came to the island for a week-long stay at Camp Patmos, a summer Christian church camp. Back then, it felt like I was in an exotic location far away from home. We sailed, kayaked, swam, and rode bicycles built for two. 

15 years have passed since that visit, and Kelley's Island still has just as much charm and excitement as I remember! I recently took a flight to the island with my buddy Alex on Labor Day Weekend. We decided to spend just a couple of hours at Kelley's Island, having some lunch and doing a bit of exploration! 

Most of this tourist island is comprised of beaches, parks, and campgrounds, which are mostly toured by bike (available for rent at Kelley's Landing), golf cart (also available at Kelley's Landing - hourly, daily, or weekly), island taxi, or on foot.

After you have your mode of transportation down (which can be a fun activity in and of itself), it's time to explore the island! There is a lot to see - from restaurants, to bars, to natural wonders and landmarks!

The Casino Restaurant, Bar & Dockage

f the weather is nice and you're looking for some lakeside outdoor seating, your best bets are Dockers Waterfront Restaurant, and The Casino Restaurant, Bar & Dockage (pictured above). On our visit, Alex and I ate some great burgers and fries at The Casino, where we were able to soak up the sun and relax under some faux palm trees!

Other popular food and drink selections are The Village Pump (they are famous for their perch and their Brandy Alexander drinks) and the Kelley's Island Wine Company (established in 1872 - try their Inscription White, named after the island's Inscription Rock).

Being that I'm an OSU alum, the Buckeye Bar was a MUST on our short visit to Kelley's Island. You can get some good greasy bar food and choose from a vast selection of Ohio-made beers. In addition, the Buckeye Bar also has the Caddy Shack, where you can rent golf carts (on Labor Day weekend, it was so crowded on the island, that they were fresh out. A fun miniature golf course can also be found right next to Caddy Shack & The Buckeye Bar.

A large anchor found near Inscription Rock

On the Northern third portion of Kelley's Island is Kelley's Island State Park, a 676 acre park which includes hiking trail, campgrounds, a sand beach, and ruins of former a limestone quarry mining site (on the West Side). One of the most well known points of interest on Kelley's Island is the Glacial Grooves State Memorial, a rare set of glacial grooves which are the largest in the world (measuring 400 feet by 35 feet). These prehistoric glacial grooves are gashes embedded limestone bedrock, and are a remarkable sight to see, not far from the beaches of the state park.

There is an incredible amount to explore on this exciting Ohio island - so plan a trip soon!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Atwood Lake Trail Run

Atwood Lake is the perfect place to go in Ohio to experience fall at its best (hence the Atwood Lake Fall Festival, which takes place the first week of October every year). So, why not head to Atwood Lake for a fall 5K?

On September 27, the Atwood Lake Trail 5K is taking place through the bountiful acreage of the Atwood Lake Resort. This challenging and scenic run starts at 11AM and costs just $25. All proceeds of the run go toward the Team RWB, a group whose mission is to mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. Team RWB helps veterans with PTSD - a cause worthy of supporting.

Awards will be given for top overall finishers 1st-3rd male/female, and age group awards 12 and under,13-15, 16-20, 21-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 64-69, 70 and over.


Saturday, September 19, 2015


Photos by OHventures

I have been in an airplane many times in my life, but only on countless commercial flights (and of course that time I went skydiving).

This past Labor Day weekend was the first time I had the opportunity to ride in a non-commercial plane - all thanks to a great friend of mine, Alex (who joined us previously for the Bike Columbus Festival), who recently earned his pilot license! On a limb, I told Alex that I wanted to ride in his plane sometime soon, and without hesitation, he obliged!

Alex told me that I would be his first official passenger. This was both an honor and a true sign of bravery! Truth be told, there was nothing to be scared of, because Alex is a total pro and it was 100% safe.

Our flight plan consisted of Alex flying from OSU airport in Columbus to pick me up in Akron/Canton. From there, we would fly over my house and circle around over downtown Canton before heading west and north to our final destination of Kelley's Island!

The plane we were riding in was a Diamond DA20 Eclipse. I am not even sure what all that means, other than it was a very small 2-seat aircraft! I was surprised when I first saw the plane to see just how small it was. Sitting together inside, our knees touched and there was not much room to move about! This meant it would be a cozy flight!

After a short safety briefing, Alex and I departed from Akron/Canton for our cross-state trek! It was an extremely smooth take-off and flight altogether, putting me at ease and allowing me to soak in the sights. We were flying at heights of approximately 3000-5000 feet, which is not very high in comparison to most commercial flights, which are found at an altitude of 30,000 feet!

View of Downtown Canton

Being at this "low" altitude (seemed high to me as we were up there) made it easy to make out key landmarks (such as the McKinley Monument in Canton), and other points of interest (such as a cement plant in Huron - pictured below).

View of Huron, OH (the white smoke is from the cement plant)

Perhaps the coolest sight to see was the Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky! It was really awesome to soar over this small peninsula and to make out all of the rides and attractions. The massive  (such as Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force) all looked minuscule from our vantage point flying over! As funny as it sounds, it was also remarkable to see just how massive the parking lot of Cedar Point is (pictured below).

Cedar Point in Sandusky

Our headsets gave us the ability to speak to one another and hear one another clearly. Alex affixed two GoPro cameras to the inside of the plane so that we could re-watch our aerial adventure at a later time (link coming soon!). 

Kelley's Island

The trip flew by (no pun intended) and took us just 45 minutes to reach Kelley's Island - much better than the 2.5 hours by car and the ferry ride on top of that! After a smooth landing, Alex and I explored the island and ate some lunch (a post on that coming soon).


Before heading back, we were sure to circle over the neighboring Lake Erie island of South Bass, so we could catch a good glimpse of the vacation town of Put-In-Bay (where Alex and I partied with friends in summer of 2014). It was awesome to see Perry's Monument (pictured above), and the rest of the resort town from the sky.

Overall, my "AirVentures" trip was incredibly exciting and just what I needed to cap off my summer. Seeing the great state of Ohio from up above is something that everyone should try at some point in his or her life. Since you likely don't have a close friend who has a pilot license, try some of these options: Wright B Flyer in Dayton, Cincinnati Airplane Tours in Cincinnati, Flight 54 Travel & Tours in Cleveland, Capital City Jet Center in Columbus, and Pickaway County Airport in Circleville for starters.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

National Live Life Adventurously Day

If you are an avid Ohio adventurer, you are in for a treat! September 27, 2015 is National Live Life Adventurously Day! This is a celebration of outdoor fun and fitness. For each ticket you purchase for the Go Ape Treetop Obstacle Course in Strongsville (or anywhere else in the nation) on Sept 27th, one ticket will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

National Live Life Adventurously Day is a chance to make a positive change in your own life and in someone else's. Reach beyond your comfort zone. Get out there and do something that scares you (within reason, of course). On September 27, we challenge you to live life adventurously and share that inspiration with a child.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and help others #livelifeadventurously

Wellness Walk & Run Photo Blog

Who: ~300 runners & walkers, 70 volunteers, and countless spectators
What: Wellness Walk & Run
Where: City of Stow, Summit County
When: September 5, 2015
Why: To celebrate an active lifestyle, and to benefit Muffins for Mammograms 
How: Months of training, dedication, and planning.

Photos by OHventures

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wellness Walk & Run 5K Recap

Photos by A. Kilgore

The Akron Gen.Wellness Walk & Run took place on September 5, 2015 in the City of Stow. Approximately 300 participants registered to take part in the festivities celebrating an active lifestyle and supporting Muffins For Mammograms, which helps uninsured and underinsured women have access to free breast exams.

The event was a follow up to last year’s successful 100th anniversary event, the Birthday Bash Dash 5K. As with last year, the Wellness Walk & Run was held in conjunction with the City of Stow's Summer Sunset Blast, a weekend long celebration in town that serves as a farewell to summer. There were over 75 volunteers and countless spectators who were also present to help support the runners and the cause.

The festivities began that Saturday morning with day-of registration and packet pickup at 8:00 AM, and former WQMX DJ Chris Casale playing uptempo tunes to energize the crowd. Athletic trainer Rick Fullen provided a warm-up session (pictured above) to get runners ready. Senior Vice President of Wellness Doug Ribley sounded the horn at 9:00 AM to signify the start of the 5K. Everyone from competitive runners to casual walkers made their way down City Center Boulevard in Stow, soon making a turn on to the gravel and paved paths of the Akron Gen.Wellness Trails located nearby.

These trails extended for approximately 0.4 miles, then sending runners down Lillian and Darrow Roads. The course looped around and guided runners back through the Wellness Trails to the finish line!

The Akron Gen. Health & Wellness Express served as a backdrop to the after party, where runners gathered to cool down and refuel with water & bananas provided by sponsor Giant Eagle, popcorn from Metropolis Popcorn, sandwiches from Subway, and of course giant muffins from Main Street Gourmet. Additional muffins were for sale at the after party, and participants could visit tables to talk with representatives from Reflections Breast Health Center, the Heart Walk, CommuniCare, TITLE Boxing Club of Stow, AGMC's Trauma Center. Luella Wertz, LMT was present to give free massages, and InFocus Studios were printing free photos against a green screen backdrop.

First place finisher (overal female and overall runner - Jodi Brown)

An awards ceremony was led by Race Director Michael Evans and Stow Mayor Sara Drew, which included a raffle of 100 Day Family Memberships to Lifestyles, gift certificates to Second Sole AkRun, and many other prizes. Medals were given to winners who placed in his or her respective age group, and trophies were given to the overall female winner (Jodi Brown, Medical/Surgical Staff RN) and overall male winner (Jeremy Nebelsick, Practice Manager at Akron Gen. Family Practice Hudson).

The event was a success and a fantastic way to cap off the summer and promote an active, healthy lifestyle for all!

Special Thanks To Our Sponsors & Partners: Akron Coffee Roasters, Akron Gen. Women's Board, AGMCTrauma Center, AGMC Young Professionals, BCG & Company, CommuniCare, Event Source, Giant Eagle, GOJO Industries, Haven Homes Assisted Living of Stow, InFocus Studios, Luella Wertz LMT, Metropolis Popcorn, Reflections Breast Health Center, RS Racing Systems, Stow Parks & Recreation Department, TITLE Boxing Club of Stow, Torchbearers of Akron