Kings Island’s newest coaster—the seriously thrilling Diamondback—deserves this shout out. The ride propels passengers at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour with an initial climb that reaches 230 feet into the air, making it the fastest and tallest coaster at the park. For the smoothest ride, sit in the middle, but if you crave airtime, then brave the front or back cars where the g-forces are the strongest. The first drop plummets 222 feet toward the earth at a 74-degree angle (damn near vertical) and though you won’t flip upside down, your stomach most certainly will.www.kidiamondback.com
Thanks to Monster Mini Golf, putt-putt thrills are no longer limited to rickety windmills. The indoor glow-in-the-dark course offers 18 holes of not-so-scary monster décor. Putt your way past glowing coffins, an incandescent haunted house, and even a Bengals jersey–clad Frankenstein who comes “alive!” mid-round. (513) 759-5400
The CAC’s top-floor UnMuseum is always bright and cheery. Kids love to conduct using “Paavo’s Hands,” and explore the “Sensory Elephant,” a card catalogue sculpture where each drawer contains a different audio, visual, tactile, or multisensory surprise. Or they can raid the art supply cubbies to find their happy medium, be it crayon or collage. You take home the masterpiece and leave the mess behind. (513) 345-8400
For 25 years, the Hamilton County Park District’s winter hike series has lured folks into the fresh air with challenging (four- to five-and-a-half-mile) Saturday morning rambles, hot soup, and socializing. The purpose, says park district naturalist Penny Borgman, is “to get some exercise and learn about new parks.” (513) 521-7275
With the help of Infant Swimming Resource, children as young as 6 months old can learn life-saving water survival skills. Mason native Kim Magella, an ISR Master Instructor, has been teaching for more than 13 years. “Just because you don’t have a pool doesn’t mean your child can’t drown,” says Magella. She’ll help ease your worries. (513) 677-0124
The Amazing Portable Circus began 12 years ago when owner Dave Willacker (a.k.a. “The Ringmaster”) landed his first juggling gig for $20 and a pizza dinner. Now Dave’s 40-member company offers more than 200 à la carte entertainment options. Whether you’re looking to spice up a corporate party, festival, or after-prom, choose acts from classic (magicians and balloon animals) to acrobatic (aerial artists and stilt-walkers). (513) 921-5454
Learn all about Newport’s risqué past on the Gangsters, Gamblers & Girls: Newport Historical Walking Tour. Costumed guides lead this lively 90-minute, eight-block walking tour where famed gamblers made their millions and mobsters lost their lives. It’s an offer you can’t refuse. (888) 269-9439
Had enough of cycling through wooded surroundings listening to birdsong? Try the Great Miami River Recreation Trail. You’re treated to city views on its five-mile pass through Hamilton, crossing the Main-High Street Bridge before stretching along the banks of the Great Miami River. www.miamiconservancy.org
Approximately 15,000 people will crowd Fountain Square Friday, November 27, to watch local teenthrob Josh Hutcherson, star of The Vampire’s Assistant, help Mayor Mallory flip the switch that lights up a 60-foot live evergreen, followed by fireworks and a party. www.myfountainsquare.com/lightup
The seven newly resurfaced courts at Losantiville Triangle Courts in Avondale feature the same colors and surface material that USTA champions play on. “The Triangle” attracts a loyal group of players who often spend all day rallying and grilling out in between. Go ahead. Get your serve on. (513) 352-4020
Two-hour Funke Functionals help you “create usable pottery with flair.” You and the kids will love those new toothbrush holders. (513) 871-CLAY
You may have the next Jean-Robert on your hands after these classes. (513) 847-4474
Catch some snorkeling lessons before you head south. An hour of private instruction is $45. (513) 271-2800
Local musicians offer lessons to kids grades seven through 12. Don’t miss the in-house digital recording workshop! (513) 834-8304
Fly through the air with the greatest of ease on the aluminum and stainless steel bungy-trampoline. (513) 237-6827
* Please note that the information listed in this section was accurate at the time the issue went to print in 2009 and that addresses, menu items, company status, etc., may have changed. Please contact the companies to confirm details.
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