1) Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park
While most people are familiar with the beauty of Ohio's beloved Old Man's Cave hiking trails and the Hocking Hills State Park, less people are aware of the similar breathtaking, adventurous nature hike you will experience at Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park. Portage County is home to this 160-acre park, which features rugged cliffs, unique hiking trails (complete with a "Dwarf's Pass," pictured above) and diverse plant life.
2) The Wilds
Cumberland is home to Ohio's own safari experience--where exotic animals roam free.
3) Piatt Castles
Located in Logan County near West Liberty are two chateaux style castles with Gothic design. This private, family-owned museum features more than 200 years of Ohio history.
4) Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
This Class III railroad operating diesel-electric and steam-powered excursion travels through Peninsula, Ohio. Enjoy cocktails and the scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park via this charming train ride.
5) Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad
Close to Hocking Hills State Park in Nelsonville, you can board yet another popular and historic railroad adventure that travels along the Hocking River and the scenic Hocking Hills area of Southeast Ohio.
6) The Cincinnati Observatory
On top of Mt. Outlook in Cincinnati are two observatory buildings housing an 11 inch and 16 inch aperture refracting telescope. The Cincinnati Observatory is the oldest professional observatory in the United States, and was a key facility for astronomical research and education at the University of Cincinnati. Regular viewings of the historic telescopes, as well as tours and additional programs, are available to visitors.
7) Oak Openings
Close to Toledo you'll find what's considered to be Ohio's rarest ecosystem (and one of the world's rarest ecosystems) where rare plants and animals, oak forests, sand dunes, savannas, tall-grass prairies and swamp forests all thrive in harmony. The Oak Openings Preserve Metropark is located in Swanton and operated by Metroparks of the Toledo Area.
8) Mound City
While you've probably heard about (or seen) the mysterious Great Serpent Mound in Adams County, you might now know about Mound City. Mounds abound at the world’s largest collection of Indian burial mounds in Chillicothe’s Hopewell Culture National Historic Park.
9) Castle Noel
Medina is home to "America's Largest Indoor Christmas Entertainment Attraction," which is open year-round and features hour-long tours of all things Christmas.
10) The Temple of Tolerance
Jim Bowsher's home in the small town of Wapakoneta features an impressive museum of artifacts from the America you don't typically read about in history books, and a truly tranquil temple complex in his backyard. The central monument of the temple complex is dedicated to tolerance, and Bowsher continues to add to his unique creation to this day.
11) Dysart Woods
In Belmont County within the Dysart Woods, you will find some of Ohio's oldest and largest trees. Though the woods stretches for 455 acres, only about 50 of the 140 ft. tall, 4 ft. in diameter and 300-400 year-old trees are still there.
12) Findlay Ghost Town
Driving down St. Rt. 68, you might stumble across a sign that points the way to "Ghost Town." Created by the Galitza family, this unique roadside attraction in Findlay features a replica of an 1880s-era ghost town that was first open to the public in the 1950s. Today, the ghost town has an even more authentic ghost town feel due to a lack of upkeep and public attention.
13) Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum
This outdoor museum and sculpture park in Hamilton is every art enthusiast's dream come true. Additionally, the park features a 10,000 square foot Ancient Sculpture Museum, which displays Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Etruscan sculptures that are thousands of years old. (Come on guys, THAT'S a really cool place for Ohio to have.)
What do you think? Were you familiar with these places? If there are any other hidden gems in Ohio we haven’t yet recognized in our lists, let us know in the comments below!