Columbus, OH

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Top 10 Columbus Attractions


Many first-time visitors to Columbus expect to encounter a "small town". One well-known travel website begins its Columbus review with, "For a small city, Columbus offers a lot." First-time visitors' "reviews" often include: "It's bigger than I expected", and "There's a lot to do."

With 810,000 residents, Columbus is Ohio's largest city and the nation's 15th largest. Its metro population of 2 million is smaller than those of most similar U.S. cities; nonetheless, the city's "small town" persona is seriously outdated.

Other surprises awaiting visitors include:

1. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Affable Director Emeritus Jack Hanna is spokesperson for the zoo that USA Travel Guide named the "Number One Zoo in America."

2. Zoombezi Bay

The zoo's neighbor, Zoombezi Bay Waterpark, features more than a dozen waterslides and two lazy-river attractions.

3. The Arnold Sports Festival

The world's largest multi-sports festival, held each February and March, attracts 18,000+ competitors. Cofounded in 1989 by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Lorimer, the event now includes cheerleading, gymnastics and dozens of other sports.

4. Ohio Stadium at Ohio State University

Crowds of 105,000 are common at the Horseshoe ("The Shoe" to locals), the world's seventh-largest stadium.

5. The Santa Maria

Built in 1992 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of America's discovery, this full-scale replica of Columbus' flagship is anchored downtown on the Scioto River.

6. The Center of Science and Industry

(COSI). A great destination for inquisitive kids and "old kids" alike, the operative theme of COSI's interactive learning displays is "hands-on."

7. Sports

In addition to college sports, Columbus offers a wealth of participant and spectator athletics. Spectator sports include the National Hockey League's Blue Jackets; Major League Soccer's Crew; and Major League Lacrosse's Ohio Machine. AAA baseball's Columbus Clippers play in Huntington Park, which in 2009 was named "Park of the Year" by Ballparks.com.

8. Gaming

Columbus boasts the full-service Hollywood Casino, plus race track/casino Scioto Downs.

9. The Ohio Statehouse

"These Are My Jewels," a sculpture depicting Ohio's Civil War heroes, graces the Statehouse grounds. Those honored include members of Lincoln's cabinet and Generals Grant and Sherman.

10. German Village

Called "one of the world's premier historic restorations," this neighborhood is known for its German architecture and active nightlife.

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