Nature lovers, thrill seekers, little ones and everyone in between are sure to enjoy Erie's array of adventures.

Take 5: Activities for Any Interest

1. Risk Takers
Presque Isle Downs & Casino features 1,500 popular slots and 30 table games, including roulette, blackjack, craps and poker. Big-screen TVs broadcast big-game action, and self-serve TwinSpires Sportsbook kiosks are always ready to take wagers on football, hockey, baseball and soccer games. Outside, the live thoroughbred track continues the Churchill Downs legacy with live racing, including Stakes Races featuring pop-up promotions and giveaways.

2. Nature Lovers
Find serenity and contemplate the universe by walking the labyrinth at Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park ( in Erie, which is filled with more than 1,000 trees. While in the park, be sure to visit the multilevel installation created by artist Bonnie Gale, consisting of sculpture, arches, fedges and pathways made of willow rods. Experience the best of both worlds at Erie Zoo and Botanical Gardens ( The zoo has a total of 400 animals, including more than 127 species. Some of the animals include macaws, scorpions, tarantulas, lions, alpacas, tortoises, alligators and geckos; they are surrounded by 11 magnificent acres of green space. Be sure to say “hello” to longtime residents Dasa and Joe, a Bornean orangutan couple who live there with their 5-year-old son, Otis. Themed gardens include ones filled with yellow groove bamboo, bigleaf hydrangea, burning bush and European beech.

3. Lover of Local Finds
Comprising three floors of fun, ACTIONTOYMAN ( in Erie offers a treasure trove of action figures, comics, masks and collectibles spanning generations, including vintage Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Batman, Superman, Star Trek and much more. At Allen Stoneware Gallery (, the talents of local potter Vickie Allen-Shea are showcased in functional and decorative stoneware pottery for sale. Visitors can nurture their own artistry by signing up for one of the classes she teaches. Since 1974, Glass Growers Gallery ( has displayed and sold functional artisan handcrafts that include paintings, jewelry and pottery — along with, as the name implies, crystalline creations made by local and regional artists. Exquisite beach glass jewelry and candles are just part of the story at the eclectic Grasshopper clothing and gift store. The unique boutique is renowned for the large selection of incense and oils in stock, as well as hard-to-find gifts (think Himalayan salt lamps and African djembe drums), tie-dyed T-shirts and Presque Isle souvenirs.

4. Fun for the Little Ones
A world of imagination awaits at the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum, filled with three floors of hands-on art, science, reading and creative exhibits designed for kids from toddlers to 10 years of age. They include Our Town, a pint-sized Main Street featuring a doctor’s office, bank and pizza shop, where kids can learn about X-rays, as well as how to count money and make pizza. The cobblestone path also leads to a kids market, where they can shop the aisles and fill their carts with realistic-looking produce. More than 50,000 families visit the museum’s Discovery Corner outdoor classroom each year to connect with nature by exploring the entry arbor, trees, shrubs and perennial plants that surround it.

5. Adventure Seekers
Make waves at Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort, where the park’s constant 84-degree temperature exudes Polynesian ambiance. Surf’s always up at the FlowRider, which simulates the rush of riding a wave, and on-site instructors help participants master bodyboarding, spinning and flipping. At night, the trampoline-like machine is aglow with pulsating light displays in sync with music. Brave balance beams and walk a tight rope on the Tree Tops Ropes Course or simply splash around in the 200,000-gallon Wave Pool, billed as the largest indoor wave pool in the country. Splash Lagoon is also home to Treasure Island Arcade, filled with more than 75 games, including XD Dark Ride, featuring 3D graphics, motion seating and special effects; and Hologate Virtual Reality, where participants battle zombies and other challenges along the way. When it’s time to turn in, head for one of the three luxury hotels connected to the resort.

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