As summer nears, the state’s travel agency is getting in gear.

TourismOhio is putting on Ohio Tourism Day, a free event on the west lawn of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on May 11 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. More than 100 booths with travel experts from across the state will have information to help residents plan a day trip in Ohio.

The tourism site said the event will have games, giveaway items and photo opportunities.

For those who can’t get out to the statehouse, there were a couple of trending topics on the site such as waterfalls at Cuyahoga National Park and the Ulysses S. Grant birthplace. Closest to home, though, was an article on the Scioto Audubon Metro Park in Columbus.

Scioto Audubon has several recreational activities available. Perhaps most unique is the 35-foot rock climbing wall. There’s also a 10-foot wall next to it.

For those individuals who think climbing is for the birds, maybe the Grange Insurance Audubon Center might be of interest. The 18,000-square-foot center offers a chance to bird watch. For people who would rather dog watch, there’s a 2.5-acre dog park with an agility course.

Also at the park, the 10-mile Scioto Greenway Trail and 2.5-mile connector trails are available for biking, walking or running. If that’s not enough, there’s the Columbus Rotary Obstacle Course at the park with a running track, tunnel, monkey bars, cargo net, log, wall, tires and balance beam.

Hungry? There’s three first-come, first-served picnic shelters with grills, with a playground and playing fields nearby.

Lastly, the park has a boat ramp, which allows visitors to kayak or canoe on the Scioto River (motorized boats are prohibited).

The Scioto River flows through Delaware County and meets up with the Olentangy River in Columbus. At 231 miles in length, the Scioto River is the longest river that is entirely in Ohio.

The river starts west of Delaware near Roundhead in Hardin County, and then passes through (in order) Marion, Delaware, Franklin, Pickaway, Ross, Pike and Scioto counties, meeting the Ohio River in Portsmouth.

The website Wikipedia said settlers and Native Americans once used the Scioto River for shipping, but now it’s a source of drinking water and recreation.

Perhaps the best places for viewing the Scioto River in Delaware County are the O’Shaughnessy Dam in Shawnee Hills, Waters Edge Events Park in the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and Scioto Park in Dublin (the one with the stone monument to Leatherlips). Two roads, Riverside Drive and Dublin Road, run alongside parts of the river in Delaware County, too.

By Gary Budzak

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Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.