Here are some options for teams who need lodging for the Rastin Challenge. Please note that this is move-in weekend for one of our local universities so options may be limited. Please book as soon as possible and mention the Rastin Challenge at Ariel-Foundation Park when booking.

Mount Vernon Grand Hotel
No minimum-night stay. Cost is $139.

Comfort Inn - Mount Vernon (24 rooms available as of June 10, 2019)
Discounted rate of $135+tax. Use code AFP2019 when calling to make reservations.

Comfort Inn - Bellville (78 rooms available as of June 10, 2019)
Half-hour north of Mount Vernon.
You can receive the government rate of 5% off.

The following area hotels/inns are booked full for the weekend:
Mount Vernon Inn
Kenyon Inn
Holiday Inn Express

Mount Vernon was recently named "Best Hometown" by Ohio Magazine--and for good reason! An on-the-rise central Ohio community of 17,000, Mount Vernon is a place where people smile and say hello to you on the sidewalk. They’re happy to recommend the best cup of coffee in town or point you to the best place for a family meal. People of all ages will find something entertaining, educational, and engaging. Explore a local park with your family, take in a show at one of our historic theatres, race the kids on a giant waterslide, or enjoy a delicious fresh-baked treat while shopping downtown.

Learn more about Mount Vernon and Knox County at the Knox County Convention & Visitors Bureau. You can also read more in a special section of Ohio Magazine dedicated to Knox County.

towerLRYou can become a Lighting Partner for the Rastin Tower, the downtown footbridge, or the historic viaduct and honor someone you love or celebrate a special occasion by "renting" the lights for one night or longer. Ariel-Foundation Park will light the tower, footbridge, or viaduct, or any combination thereof, in the color(s) of your choice. PLEASE NOTE: We need at least one week's notice.

reservation button


  • Live web-cam feed (tower only) on the Rastin Tower page on the website (note, this is broken until further notice)
  • Announcement on Ariel-Foundation Park Facebook page
  • Certificate with still photo featuring your color mailed to honoree


  • Special anniversaries
  • Milestone birthdays
  • Wedding color(s)
  • School/alumni color(s)
  • Retirements
  • Causted like Breast Cancer Awareness and National Police Week


Location One Color/
One Night
Two Colors/
One Night
One Color/
One Week
Two Colors/
One Week
Rastin Tower $50 $75 $200 $250
Downtown Footbridge $50 $75 $200 $250
Historic Viaduct $50 $75 $200 $250
ANY 2 LOCATIONS $75 $125 $350 $450
ALL 3 LOCATIONS $125 $175 $500 $600

If your lighting is for more than 2 colors, or for longer than one week, please contact our reservation specialist for pricing details at 740-501-9293.

bridgelightsTerms of Application:

  • Applicants will be officially notified of acceptance or rejection via e-mail or phone.
  • Unavailable dates include July 4 and Christmas or any other dates the Foundation Park Conservancy has a specific lighting scheme planned.
  • Ariel-Foundation Park is under no obligation to provide any feedback if application is denied.
  • The Foundation Park Conservancy has sole discretion over what lightings are and are not approved.
  • There is no agreement renewal; current/past Lighting Partners must apply each year to be considered.
  • Approved applicant must promote the lighting beyond the included publicity.
  • Rastin Tower will not be lit for political campaigns or candidates, or religious holidays other than Christmas.








The following calendar shows when Ariel-Foundation Park facilities are reserved/rented.

Use the drop down arrow next to "Agenda" to select the facility/facilities in which you are interested.

Kokosing Gap Trail in GambierAriel-Foundation Park is privileged to be located directly on the Heart of Ohio Trail (HOOT). The HOOT trail meets the Kokosing Gap Trail at the CA&C Depot on South Main Street in Mount Vernon, which also seves a a welcome center. The park is a great place to stop for a picnic lunch, to climb Rastin Tower, to fish, or take in a summer concert or movie event. The park also has three lakes perfect for kayaking and is adjacent to the Kokosing River Scenic Waterway.

Public restrooms and water fountains are located at the CA&C Depot, Schnormeier Event Center, and the Kiwanis Picnic Pavilion (by The Lakes).

Sidewalks can take you directly from the trail and the park into downtown Mount Vernon, where you will find a variety of restaurants, bakery, coffee shop, bookstore, art galleries and shops, and Y-Not Cycling and Fitness (206 South Main) for all your cycling needs.

Kokosing Gap Trail bridge between Mount Vernon and GambierFor more information:
Park/Visitor Rules
Heart of Ohio Trail
Kokosing Gap Trail
Ohio to Erie Trail
Ohio Bikeways
Knox County Park District
Central Ohio Greenways
- links to dining, camping, activities, event/festival calendar and more

(Photos courtesy and










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Park Info



 Ariel-Foundation Park, located in Mount Vernon, Ohio, is a 250-acre civic park that offers a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors of all ages.

Visiting Hours

Ariel-Foundation Park is officially open April 1 through November 15. Some areas of the park are accessible to pedestrians year-round. Daily hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. There are no admissions or parking fees. The Rastin Observation Tower, park museum, picnic pavillions, trails and other park features are free and open to the public. The Rastin Observation Tower is open during winter months, as long as weather allows.

Contact Us

Foundation Park Conservancy
P.O. Box 644, Mount Vernon, OH 43050
[email protected]

Mount Vernon City Parks Department
307 Wooster Road, Mount Vernon, OH 43050
[email protected]

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