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Get Set To Enjoy The Best Of Ohio
Ohio is brimming with a diverse line-up of attractions – there’s something here to suit every taste.
Get set for thrills at Sandusky’s Cedar Point Amusement Park. This lakeside destination has 17 roller coasters and a classic carousel. For a more natural setting, head to Hocking Hills State Park where trails lead to memorable overlooks, verdant hollows, and sheltering caves.
Ohio has two major halls of fame. Music fans should head to Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, where some of the biggest names in the music industry are honored and iconic memorabilia are displayed. Gridiron fans should make their way to Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame, where you can see Super Bowl rings and team helmets.
To escape the urban landscape, head to Cuyahoga Valley National Park south of Cleveland. Here you’ll find hiking trails, ski areas, golf courses, lush valleys, and impressive rock formations. You’ll also find the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and the Ohio and Erie Canalway, which is perfect for biking or hiking.
Finally, when it’s time to relax, go to Ohio’s wine country. Northeast of Cleveland you’ll find dozens of wineries and a bucolic landscape of quaint towns and covered bridges.
A Christmas Story House
Open year-round, the A Christmas Story House is the actual home used as the setting for the Parker family’s most memorable Christmas. Now a museum for this famed holiday film set in the Tremont neighborhood in west Cleveland, the Christmas Story House Museum features props, photos, and memorabilia used in the legendary yuletide movie.
Be sure to stop by the Christmas Story House gift shop for some fragile souvenirs like Red Ryder BB Guns, some pink nightmare bunny suits, and of course, a leg lamp or two. After your visit, be sure to head to Bac Asian American Bistro & Bar – the official Chinese restaurant of A Christmas Story House and staple of northeast Ohio.
Voted Ohio’s Best Family Entertainment Center, the EnterTRAINment Junction is home to the world’s largest indoor train display – approximately 25,000 square feet of model trains on an enormous track display. Located just outside of Monroe in southern Ohio, guests choose from a myriad of onsite attractions, including a railroad museum and café.
Also onsite is a children’s play center and the newly built A-Maze-N Funhouse – the latter being a circus-esque walkthrough that features a mirror maze, tilt-room, curtain maze, Clown College, and more. The entertainment center also hosts seasonal events, schedules parties, and group visits.
Longaberger Basket Homestead
Home to America’s premier maker of hand crafted baskets, the Longaberger Company has been in operation since 1976.
The Longaberger Homestead is located just North of Zanesville in central Ohio and is a must-see attraction for any fan of the handcrafted baskets.
The Homestead offers many different activities for visitors – including a tour of the facility, three restaurants, and a make-a-basket experience for visitors to create their own work.
Of course guests have the opportunity to shop for baskets and accessories onsite as well.
Basilica & National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation
Made into a national a shrine by U.S. Congress, Our Lady of Consolation is one of two basilicas in Ohio. The shrine is located in central Ohio near Wapakoneta and is the site of the annual pilgrimage of Roman Catholics to mark the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.
The complex has multiple properties representing the historic nature of the shrine – perhaps most impressive is the original wooden church built in 1875 that is still in use. The basilica and nearby shrine park are a must-see for any fan of ancient stone and European style architecture.
Founded by one man in his backyard, Airstream has since become Ohio’s premier manufacturer of travel trailers and camper vehicles since 1931.
The innovative aluminum and aero-dynamic design is still heavily in use today – seventy percent of all Airstream trailers sold are still on the road today.
For those who are curious as to how the American-made classic is built can schedule a tour of the facility – which is located near Wapakoneta in central Ohio.
Tours are available Monday through Thursday year round.
Falcons and Fingers in Ohio
Ohio Roadside Attractions
Bowling Green, Ohio
Still spooked from the Ghostly Manor Thrill Center in Sandusky? Good. Now check out the Wood County Historical Center & Museum in Bowling Green, 25 miles south of Toledo in northwest Ohio.
The Wood County Historical Museum is home to one Ohio oddity calling out for a visit – the fingers of Mary Bach.
A murder victim by her husband Charles Bach in 1881, Bach’s fingers are on display along with the knife that severed them. Learn of the history behind this famous murder during your road trip through Ohio.
Sign up for a guided tour, or explore the grounds of the museum that hold a herb garden, slaughter house and Pauper’s Cemetery.
The museum also has a Medical Exhibit – displaying the medical devices and tools used throughout the early 1900s – and the ever fascinating “Behind Fences: Life At The Wood County Infirmary” exhibit in the “lunatic house.” Explore the history of northern Ohio – just four miles from the Best Western hotel in Bowling Green.
National Construction Equipment Museum
Now that you’ve got century-old fingers crossed off your list of Ohio roadside attractions, stick around Bowling Green and check out some antique construction equipment.
At the Historical Construction Equipment Association Museum – the only museum of its kind in the world – their motto is “Preserving and remembering the machines that built America.” Head down Interstate 75 and visit this museum for some incredible American history and even better photo opportunities. Take the 45-minute tour, or explore these gigantic machines yourself.
World's Largest Bronze Falcon
Of course any road trip calls for tons of photos. Here’s mom asleep in the passenger seat, and here’s grandma eating a steak bigger than her head. Now here’s dad next to the World’s Largest Bronze Falcon in Bowling Green.
Head to Bowling Green State University along East Wooster Street for your chance to meet this icon. The mascot for the university’s Falcon athletics, the beloved falcon soaring outside the Stroh Center weighs in at two tons – complete with a 24-foot wingspan. Set atop a 10-foot column, the falcon looks as through its coming straight for you – dad’s chance to strike a hilarious pose, as dads do.
A Getaway in Mansfield, Ohio
Prisons, Robots &, Of Course, Jesus
Biblewalk and Living Bible Museum
Wax museums may come and go, but this one will take the cake. Head to Mansfield, a fun town 65 miles north of Columbus in central Ohio.
Standing as “Ohio's only life-size wax museum,” the Biblewalk and Bible Museum includes over 300 wax characters and displays more than 70 scenes.
Stroll through four separate museums, including the Old, New Testament, the Museum of Christian Martyrs and the Heart of the Reformation.
Each testament takes one hour to tour, and the remaining museums may take 30 minutes to journey through. Enjoy the original music piped into every scene, or check out the dinner theater show – Dinner with Grace.
The Biblewalk is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Ohio State Reformatory
Nothing says road trip like a historic jailhouse. Set in Mansfield, the Ohio State Reformatory offers thrills and tours of this famous reformatory built in 1886.
Once the set of the classic film “The Shawshank Redemption” – the Mansfield Reformatory encourages visitors to take the Hollywood Tour of many well know scenes from the film – including the actual tunnels used to escape.
Check out the Dungeon Tour, or the Tower Tour, for an even better look at this recognizable reformatory. Ghost Walks and tours are also available, just to keep you on your toes.
Elektro the Robot
Care to see the world’s oldest surviving American robot during your road trip? We thought so. Head to Mansfield and make your way to the Mansfield Memorial Museum and introduce yourself to Elektro, the robot constructed as a main attraction to the 1939 New York World’s Fair.
Built by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in the late 1930s, Elektro stands at seven feet tall, and weighs about 265 pounds. Since Elektro can speak about 700 words, he just might say hello back.
The Mansfield Memorial Museum is open on weekends only – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
Spots in Sandusky for Your Road Trip
From Haunted Castles to Leaky Boots
Boy and the Boot Statue
Introduce yourself to the Boy and the Boot Statue in Sandusky – a city in northwest Ohio. Meet the boy in Washington Park, or find the original kiddo in Sandusky City Hall.
Found along West Washington Street on the southern side of U.S. Highway 6, the little statue is Sandusky’s commemoration to the famed Boy and the Boot figure from around the world.
The sculpture in the fountains is a replica the original statue – first purchased in the late 1800s and currently standing in the lobby City Hall.
Get your picture next to the four-foot figurine; maybe even hold up your own shoe as proudly as the boy holds his boot.
However, we suggest you do not do the same with the duplicate in Washington Park, unless you’ve got your trunks on.
Ghostly Manor Thrill Center
Don’t miss this chance to test your nerves in Sandusky. You can’t miss the Ghostly Manor Thrill Center found just off Milan Road. When you see this obviously haunted castle with a dragon sticking out of it, you know you’ve found it.
Open from May through October – perfect for your trip through Ohio – the Ghostly Manor Thrill Center awaits visitors for some great startles, screams and scares. Recommended for visitors 10 years of age and up, the thrill center is a walk-through experience sure to get your heart racing.
Vacation season may not be a spooky time, but you’ll sure be fooled once you set foot in one of America’s Best Haunts.
Who needs Cedar Point when you’ve got the Merry-Go-Round Museum? Yet another offbeat attraction in Sandusky is the historic Merry-Go-Round Museum at the intersection of Jackson Street at Washington Street.
Check out the 2011 exhibit “Wild” and explore the safari-themed collections of carousel animals from around the world. Looking for a ride yourself? Go for it. You and the kids may certainly take advantage of the free ride on the historic carousel.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day – fitting your getaway itinerary nicely – this museum welcomes visitors on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Constructed in 2012, the 52-foot Lux Mundi is located in southern Ohio – set near Monroe along Interstate 75. The massive Jesus statue is found at Solid Rock Church – a 4,000-member Christian mega-church in set it Lebanon.
The Lux Mundi was built to replace the 62-foot King of Kings Statue, which was slated on an island at the head of the church’s baptismal pool. The monument was destroyed by a lighting strike in 2010.