A New Pavilion
There are big changes ahead for the Hulbert Taft Jr. Center for the Performing Arts (better known as Riverbend Music Center). Come June, an intimate 4,100-seat concert area — the National City Pavilion — opens on the grounds of Riverbend. This is tremendous news for fans of the more eclectic summer acts that skip Cincy because they aren’t popular enough to fill the outdoor Riverbend arena (which seats 20,500). The $6.8-million pavilion is likely to catch the eye, say, of a Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky or Shawn Colvin. Till now, most of those middle-tier performers have filled the seats at Kettering’s tiny Fraze Pavilion, if they’ve come to Southern Ohio at all. 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township, (513) 562-4949 or www.riverbend.org.

Giraffe Ridge
When Giraffe Ridge opens at the Cincinnati Zoo in early June, visitors will be straining their necks to gawk at, well, a whole bunch of necks. Five giraffes will be encamped in the 22,000-square-foot exhibit, and get this, you’ll get the opportunity to hand-feed these guys. Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, beginning June 7. $13 adults, $11 senior citizens and $8 children ages 2 to 12. (513) 281-4700 or www.cincinnatizoo.org.

National Park Service Site
Think we don’t have a national park in Cincinnati? Think again. The oft-overlooked (and free) William Howard Taft National Historic Site is run by the National Park Service. The Mount Auburn museum and park preserves President William Howard Taft’s birthplace, with six generations of the Taft powerhouse political dynasty (which include former gov Bob Taft) catalogued here. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. (Tours every 30 minutes.) 2038 Auburn Ave., Mount Auburn, (513) 684-3262 or www.nps.gov.
—Felix Winternitz