Todd Nelson's recipe for recreation is simple: Just add water.
On Friday, the owner of the Kalahari Waterpark Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, will open a similarly African-themed splash park in Sandusky. Spanning 435,000 square feet, Kalahari will house an outdoor waterpark, indoor surf pool, nine-hole miniature golf course, full-service spa, eight restaurants, and a 594-room luxury hotel. Throughout the complex, the decor depicts a lush, sub-Saharan paradise, accented with life-size granite models of elephants, lions, and leopards. "Designing and operating a waterpark is definitely not for the faint of heart," says Nelson.
One of the park's cornerstones is the Zip Coaster, a raft ride that accelerates at speeds of up to 25 feet per second while propelling riders into free falls, dips, and high-banking turns. Another attraction is the FlowRider, an indoor surf pool that creates waves by gushing out 50,000 gallons of water every minute. "Surfing indoors in the Midwest year-round," says Nelson. "You don't get any better than that." Kalahari Waterpark Resort is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on U.S. Highway 250 (Milan Road) between Bogart Road and Exit 118 on the Ohio Turnpike in Sandusky. Admission is $25 Monday through Thursday and $30 Friday and Saturday; call 877-525-2427. -- Cris Glaser
New gallery specializes in zippy contemporary art.
Richard S. Cihlar is opening the Pop Shop Art Gallery and Studio on Friday with hors d'oeuvres, wine, and plenty of 1950s-inspired work that doesn't take itself too seriously. "Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Jasper Johns kind of pop art," says Cihlar. "I'm a fan of contemporary art with newer ideas. I try to stay away from conventional white-wall galleries." The inaugural show is titled Pop the Top; a dozen local artists contribute paintings, drawings, and sculptures. "It's hard to create anything new," says Cihlar. "You just try to push the limits of ideas. You go back to the basics, but still twist them enough to make it original. I'm trying to show that kind of work to the area." Friday's opening-night festivities are from 6 to 9 p.m. Pop the Top is at the Pop Shop (17020 Madison Avenue in Lakewood) through July 2. It's open from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free. Call 440-724-9261 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci
The Aviator arrives with slight turbulence on DVD.
We can't figure out Oscar voters. They don't give Martin Scorsese a Best Director Academy Award when he makes one of the best movies ever (that would be Raging Bull), and they don't give him one when he makes a movie specifically for them, like last year's The Aviator (available Tuesday on DVD). Scorsese's epic biopic about filmmaker-airplane-buff-ladies'-man-germophobe Howard Hughes has all the trappings of an Oscar winner: big stars (Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes, Cate Blanchett -- who did win one of the little golden guys -- as Katharine Hepburn), big sets, and breathtaking cinematography, which, um, also won an Oscar (poor Marty). The two-disc set includes a deleted scene, a dozen featurettes, and commentary by five-time nominee Scorsese. -- Michael Gallucci
At this weekend's Cleveland Area Gem & Mineral Show, folks will see lots of pretty crystals, beads, jewelry, and . . . a 250-pound dinosaur head? The fossilized cranium of Sue contains "the most complete T. rex bones ever found," says spokesman Roy Smith. All this and more is at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds (164 Eastland Road in Berea) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5; call 216-398-4841. -- Lucy McKernan