You can stand in front of a misting station for only so long until you're soaked, and you can drink only so many sweet teas before your brain's spinning like the Gravitron.

You can stand in front of a misting station for only so long until you're soaked, and you can drink only so many sweet teas before your brain's spinning like the Gravitron.

The best place to cool off during an afternoon packed with Ohio State Fair fun is the shady grounds of Natural Resources Park, a permanent installation maintained by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

This promise of cooler temperatures is exactly how I plan to lure my girlfriend there, where I've planned an exhaustive tour of Ohio's varied outdoor offerings.

Along the park's shaded paths, she'll be treated to extensive personal anecdotes, trail tips and obscure information that she's come to know as "fun facts." While watching kids fish or wandering through the apiary, she'll hear a celebration of minutiae one could glean only while writing a weekly outdoor column.

Some topics I hope to touch on are sustainable trail development, black-bear extirpation and, time permitting, the proliferation of invasive plant species.

In what could prove our most magnificent encounter yet, we'll stand in casual embrace near the pavilion's fish tanks as I explain the physiological and behavioral differences between smallmouth and largemouth bass.

At this point, I expect her to pass out - or at least pretend to. I won't blame her.

The park is fun even for those who don't date an outdoors reporter. It's as if the entire Buckeye State has been shrunk down and stuffed into a human-sized diorama.

Shooters can practice their aim on free archery and BB gun ranges, while paddlers can test out boats on a 7,000-square-foot demo pond. Other hands-on activities abound.

Cloggers, retrieving dogs, lumberjacks and animals from the Columbus Zoo will make appearances during daily amphitheater entertainment, which runs from 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Animals - including a river otter, bobcat, wild turkey and owl - will be in wildlife exhibits set among the park's miniature ecosystems.

You can kill an entire day wandering through the park. Just don't let the dude in the backward Alive cap offer to show you around.