Aquatic Visitor Center
The Aquatic Visitor Center, a historic former state fish hatchery, is operated by Ohio Sea Grant & Stone Laboratory in partnership with the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Activities include inspecting Lake Erie’s complex ecosystem through hands-on displays, observing and identifying live fish in aquaria, and discovering current research to protect Lake Erie. Children under 16 can fish for free off the dock. The AVC is free and open to the public from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays, June 21-September 9, 2017. Guided group tours and school field trips are also offered May through October by appointment.
Put-in-Bay’s Butterfly House at the Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center offers visitors a unique viewing experience of hundreds of different exotic butterflies in their beautiful atrium filled with plants, fountains and sculptures. The butterflies on display are not native to the United States and precautions are used so they cannot escape their home in the atrium. Visitors walk amongst the butterflies and can purchase butterfly specimens and posters in the gift shop to help remember their trip. The price to explore the Butterfly House is $8.00 for adults, $5.00 for kids 6-11. Children 5 & under free (with an adult).
Crystal Cave, the world’s largest recorded geode, is located on Catawba Avenue directly beneath Heineman Winery. A tour of the cave is included with a tour of the winery. The walls of Crystal Cave are covered in celestite crystals, used in the manufacturing of fireworks. The cave was discovered in 1897 by workers digging a well for the winery. Tours of the cave and winery are given from the first of May through the end of September, beginning at 11:15 and ending at 5 pm Monday through Saturday, and from 12:15 to 5 pm on Sundays.
Enjoy this 5.4 acres of waterfront park featuring a gazebo, rustic stone fountain, a number of memorials, ample picnic tables and a wonderful playground for children to play. After playing in the park, head down Delaware for a ride on the AntiQue Carousel. and then finish your day with some candy or ice cream just a hop, skip and a jump down the street.
Dodge Woods StoryWalk Trail
The 3.5913-acre property is located at the intersection of Langram and Thompson Roads on South Bass Island, Ottawa County, Ohio. It was purchased by the Put-in-Bay Township Park District with Clean Ohio Conservation Fund Grants with the match funds coming from the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy, the John Ladd family, and a bargain sale from owner John Dodge.
This wooded area is mostly young forest, having been a vineyard at one time. There is a mix of black walnut, common hackberry, black cherry, Kentucky coffeetree, wild grape, mulberry and eastern red cedar with some planted conifers and fruit trees on the edges as well as herbaceous plants and sedges.
Spring wildflowers such as Virginia waterleaf, bloodroot, wild leeks, false Solomon’s Seal, and buttercups are found in the trail area. Enchanters nightshade as well as the tall bellflower are followed by Short’s aster and goldenrod in the fall.
The variety of habitats make it a nice stop for birding in the spring migration season. The Eastern Fox Snake (Elaphe vulpine gloydi, state species of concern) and the melanistic form of the Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis, state species of concern) have also been recorded in the immediate vicinity.
The property will be open to public access daily from dawn to dusk.
Jane Coates Wildflower Trail & Ladd Carr Woods
Located on Put-in-Bay Road, about 1/4 mile north of Maple Leaf Cemetery, Jane Coates Wildflower Trail is a nature trail protected by the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy and now owned by the Put-in-Bay Township Park District. The surrounding woodlands of blue ash, hackberry, and chinquapin oak shelter spring wildflowers such as the wild hyacinths pictured as well as Dutchman’s Breeches, appendaged waterleaf, wild phlox, and Jack-in-the Pulpit. It can be a great place in spring and fall for migratory songbirds and warblers. A bench on the back portion of the trail is a great place to sit and birdwatch. The 1/2 mile trail is named for Put-in-Bay artist Jane Coates who was a jeweler, painter and conservationist. Many covet Jane’s free form sterling silver cast jewelry and her other works of art. Another Jane Coates legacy is the custom painted panels on Kimberly’s Carousel depicting historic Put-in-Bay images, including the Hotel Victory, the Steamer Put-in-Bay, Ford Tri-Motor “Tin Goose”, Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial, and the Colonial Building.
Kimberly's Carousel is one of the country's oldest, original carousels, built in 1917 with original wooden horses and "Petey the Perch." Kids of all ages enjoy the island carousel. Tickets can be purchased inside The Carriage House.
Lake Erie Nature & Wildlife Center
The Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center opened in 2008. Formerly the Alaskan Bird House Wildlife Museum, this facility features a variety of animal and water fowl mounts that are native to the islands and Ohio. The center also features a nature trail filled with native plants, that offers an excellent vantage point for bird watching. There are also activities for kids.
Massie Cliffside Preserve
This eleven-acre shoreline parcel on the East Point of South Bass Island includes cliff habitat and a great dock for fishing. It was purchased with Clean Ohio Conservation Funds, Coastal Estuarine Land Conservation Program, private donations, and land owner donations in 2015. Four acres of adjacent woodland were added to the property with a purchase from Len and Connie Knam in March of 2016. Dedicated August of 2016, it has a trail system to link visitors from the State Route 357 parking lot all the way to the lake for bird-watching, walking, photography, and nature study.
Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial is a symbol of the long-lasting peace enjoyed by the United States, Great Britain, and Canada. The 352-foot Doric column has an observation platform that offers a 360 degree view of the surrounding islands and mainland.
The Perry Memorial Visitor Center, located on the grounds, offers a 15-minute free movie on the War of 1812 and Battle of Lake Erie. The visitor center also has a display of artifacts, including a British musket, a scale model of the US Brig Lawrence–Perry’s flagship–and a large flat hull diorama of the Battle of Lake Erie as Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry crossed through cannon fire to reach the US Brig Niagara and change the course of the battle.
Captain Jason Hall gives adventurers a unique “bird’s eye view” of Put-in-Bay’s boat filled downtown harbor and the surrounding islands. Strapped into a parachute harness and hanger, you’ll gradually be lifted from the back of the boat into the sky as the wench feeds out the cable connecting you to the vessel. Put-in-Bay Parasail departs the Boardwalk’s downtown dock. Ask about group rates. Call ahead for reservations and for current prices. Both single and double parasailing is available.
JET SKIS, BOATS, KAYAKS AND PADDLEBOARDS
Rent yours this summer by the half hour and hour at South Bass Island State Park. Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rentals is open daily, 11 am to 6 p,m., weather permitting. Ask about group rates.
Rock Climbing Wall
Try your skill at climbing a rock wall at the Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center. Four different skill levels are all on the same wall. The Rock Crew is trained to get climbers securely in the required safety harness. The safety equipment is provided. The 25-foot rock wall is open, weather permitting, any time the Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center is open. Climb the wall for only $10.00/3 Climbs.
Scheeff East Point Preserve
Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve is 9-acre parcel of water front property protected by the newly formed Put-in-Bay Township Park District. The preserve is located at the very end of East Point, about two miles from downtown Put-in-Bay. The preserve offers visitors a walking path, great bird watching opportunities, and shoreline access for fishing The property is open from dawn to dusk daily.
South Bass Island Lighthouse
Owned and operated by Ohio Sea Grant, visitors to the South Bass Island Lighthouse can climb the tower for a beautiful view and learn about the history of this national historic place. Free and open for tours 11 a.m-5 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays from June 19-July 18, 2017 or by appointment (groups of 10 or more, $3 pp). The grounds are open dawn from dusk most days, but are occasionally closed for private events.
War 18 Holes of Golf
The War of 18 Holes is an 18 hole championship putt-putt course with a War of 1812 theme. This challenging course is sure to be a hit with the entire family. Learn interesting facts about the War of 1812 and Oliver Hazard Perry’s pivotal role in American History in the “Battle of Lake Erie” while playing under a canopy of shade trees. Kids will enjoy exploring the covered bridge and learning the secret of the “water shot”. Play a long shot through the waterfall cave. Open until late. Adult admission is $8.00, kids 6 to 12 is $4.50 and under six play free.