Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Ohio
For those who like to rock, Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame salutes you. A pilgrimage destination for music fans of all ages, the museum recognizes artists and musicians who have shaped music history since Cleveland DJ Alan Freed first coined the term “rock ‘n’ roll” in the early 1950s.
There's no denyingA Christmas Story is one of the most classic holiday films of all time. Cleveland is home to the actual house where it was filmed, just across the street from the movie’s official museum. The house itself is a 19th-century Victorian, privately owned and recently restored to resemble both the exterior and interior of the home in the film. It’s the fictional childhood home of character Ralph Parker, which in the story is coincidentally located on Cleveland Street.
At the museum facing the house, you’ll find rare photographs from the film’s production, actual props including Ralphie’s snowsuit and toys, and costumes worn by the actors. It’s a fun way to relive the magic of the film, which comes even more to life with a tour through the house.
One of the oldest zoos in the country, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is home to everything from black rhinos to red pandas. More than just exhibits, the zoo is dedicated to conserving and rehabilitating endangered species. Visit animals from multiple continents, or check out one of the zoo’s educational programs.
Bordering three US states and one Canadian province, Lake Erie is one offive of North America’s Great Lakes. The 100-mile stretch along the lakebetween Ohio’s cities of Cleveland and Toledo comprises one of the largestsettled areas around it. In the summer it is one of the state’s main vacationspots, with the lake’s water temperature warming up and the many islandsaccessible by ferry. Kelleys Island, with golf, nature trails, and protected statepark lands, is the largest and most popular to visit.
Wide beaches and calm waters create ideal conditions for activities likeboating, fishing, swimming, waterskiing, sailing and sunbathing. There arehistoric Victorian homes and even lighthouses to see in the manycommunities that call the lakeshore home. Naturalists love the fact that LakeErie marshes provide some of the best bird watching in the country. Nomatter where or why you visit, the area is always relaxed and naturallybeautiful with plenty of recreation opportunities.
Spanning 364 acres (147 hectares), Kings Island is one of the largest amusement parks in the Midwest. With more than 100 rides and attractions, including upwards of 15 roller coasters, family-friendly attractions, and a water park, Kings Island offers a day of diversion for families and thrill seekers alike.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park attracts millions of visitors each year. Whether it’s hiking in the meadows to see wildflowers, biking, canoeing or kayaking, there are many outdoor activities to choose from at this popular Ohio national park. But it may be the waterfalls that make the biggest splash with visitors. Sixty-five-foot Brandywine Falls is one of the most popular attractions in the park, and the Brandywine Gorge Trail, complete with a boardwalk and steps to get up close, allows for more exploring around the falls.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) rolls full steam ahead through the heart of the park, and visitors can ride the rails, or bike, run or hike one way and hop on the train for a ride back to where they started. It’s as simple as flagging down the train at boarding stations by waving both arms in the air and paying the fare once you board.
In early September, Cuyahoga Valley fields are a popular re-fueling stop for monarch butterflies on their way to Mexico to escape dropping temperatures. Keep an eye out for them then, and in winter, head out for snow and an assortment of chilly possibilities, including cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snow tubing, snowshoeing, sledding and ice fishing.
Embark on a safari adventure without the long-haul flight at Ohio’s African Safari Wildlife Park. Drive across more than 60 acres (24 hectares) of land to see hundreds of animals roam free and get a close-up view of giraffe, zebra, bison, alpaca, elk, and more. The animals may even approach the car to be fed.
The Troll Hole Museum celebrates all things troll doll, with a world-record-holding collection of more than 20,000 troll items, from troll dolls stacked floor to ceiling to sculptures and artworks. Through its exhibits and themed rooms, which feature waterfalls and grottoes, the museum explores the cultural history of these popular toys.
More than 360 planes, jets, missiles, and unusual aircraft are parked in Dayton’s National Museum of the United States Air Force—the world’s largest military aviation museum. Collection highlights include the Wright Brothers’ 1909 Flyer, a decommissioned atomic bomb, the first Air Force One, and a Sopwith Camel biplane from World War I.
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