By Mark Horning

This may come as a surprise to you but believe it or not, Ohio is actually a hotbed for thrill seeking activities. Top of the list is, of course, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio that is billed as “The Roller Coaster Capital of the World” and boasts 17 thrill rides but there are other sites where adrenaline junkies can get their fix. Check out the list below and have a screaming good time.

Common Ground Canopy Tours
14240 Baird Road
Oberlin, OH 44074
(440) 707-2044

When you think of zip-lining, you probably envision a quick climb to a platform, hooking up your safety harness and a short screaming flight on a steel cable down to the ground. That was then, this is now. Common Ground Canopy Tours offers zipline excursions that cover 30 acres in the scenic valley of the lovely Vermillion River. This is a two and a half hour outdoor adventure that includes seven individual zip lines, 13 tree platforms, three sky bridges and the country’s only operational floating stairway. Cost is $87 per person that includes safety gear and a mini-safety course. Soon, you will be flying along cables at speeds of 40 to 50 mph. Common Grounds is also a corporate retreat center and summer camp for groups looking for a shared experience. Most important, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable with your safety their main concern.

Surfing Edgewater Park
Cleveland Metropolitan Parks
West of Whiskey Island Drive off Route 20
Cleveland, OH 44102

Somehow the words “Cleveland” and “Cowabunga” do not seem to go together but believe it or not, the urban legend of surfing on the Great Lakes and Cleveland in particular is true. While fall, winter and spring is considered the optimum time by which the certifiably insane brave freezing temperatures for a short thrill ride, there is some pretty good wave action during the warmer months.  This is especially true when summer storms hit out on the lake causing wind and wave action. Since the closest surf shop is hundreds of miles away in Michigan you will need to bring your own gear. There are a number of online sites with more information. Gnarly…Dude!

Memphis Kiddie Park
10340 Memphis Ave.
Brooklyn, Ohio 44144
(216) 941-5995

There is a thrill park in the Cleveland area where the ride restriction for children is for only those who are LESS THAN 50 inches tall. For 65 years, Memphis Kiddie Park has been operating much like it was when it first began. Admission and parking is still free and families only pay for the ride tickets. Prices are $34.00 for a book of 25 tickets, $21.00 for a strip of 10 tickets and $2.40 for single tickets. The tickets never expire so any unused tickets can be used during later visits. The park runs eleven rides geared for small children as well as a miniature golf course that the entire family can play. They also offer a full range of concessions. Big people rides include the Big Creek & Memphis Railway, Merry-Go-Round and Little Dipper. Caution: If driving to Memphis Kiddie Park via 117th Street off of Bellaire Road (that turns into Memphis Avenue) be aware of the Linndale camera speed trap at Peelor Avenue. The speed limit through that short section is 25 mph.

Holden Arboretum
9550 Sperry Road
Kirkland, OH 44094
(216) 946-4400

While strolling along 20 miles of trails through 3,600 acres of natural beauty may not be some people’s idea of adventure (for some of us it is), Holden Arboretum offers the Murch Canopy Walk (an elevated walkway that is situated 65 feet above the forest floor) and the Kalberer Family Emergent Tower (a wooden structure that rises 120 feet high) with both offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Admission to the walkway and tower is $14 for adults and $6 for children 6-18. Members and children 5 and under are free. This admission price includes general admission to the Holden Arboretum. General admission to just the grounds is Adults $10, children 6 to 18 $4 and members and children under 5 free. Seniors 60+ can receive a $5 discounted admission to the grounds on Tuesdays.

Cleveland Veledrome
5033 Broadway Ave.
Cleveland, OH

In 2007, Fast Track Cycling was formed with the dream of someday building a bicycling complex and racetrack within the city limits of Cleveland. In August of 2012 that dream came true through thousands of volunteer hours. In the Slavic Village section of Cleveland a 166 meter riding and racing track was constructed for use by recreational and competitive cyclists of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. That is to say it was not restricted to use by skinny guys in weird outfits on really expensive bikes. The organization offers youth and adult cycling programs that includes a free youth program for riding as well as a “Track 101” course that is free to all adults.

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The Wilds
14000 International Road
Cumberland, Ohio 43732
(740) 638-5030

While not in the Northeast Ohio area per say, The Wilds is a fascinating outdoor living laboratory operated by the Columbus Zoo and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and is approximately a two and a half hour drive from Cleveland on I77 South. The Wilds consists of 10,000 acres of reclaimed strip mined land located just southeast of Zanesville. It is home to 25 free roaming species of endangered animals. The most popular tour is the Open Air Safari where knowledgeable guides take you through open range animal areas where you can view rhinos, giraffes, camels, buffalo, eland, deer, zebra and more. The Wilds is open in May 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, June through August 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, September 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, October 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays only. Check their website for prices, availability and other programs.

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