If you thought you had Ohio figured out, think again.
It’s no secret that the Buckeye State is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the best roller coasters in the world and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But what you might not know is that Ohio is also home to the largest accessible glacial grooves in the world, abandoned subway systems and castles built by hand. Here are 15 amazing Ohio secrets you may not have known existed:
1. The United States Air Force Museum (Dayton)
Ohio is the proud (but little known) home to the National Museum of the United States Air Force---and admission is FREE.
2. Kelleys Island glacial grooves
Few people know that the largest accessible glacial grooves in the world can be found on Kelleys Island.
3. The Mohicans (Glenmont)
In addition to the great outdoors and beautiful cabins, The Mohicans feature some mind-blowing tree houses (complete with electricity and running water) designed by Pete Nelson, tree house designer and star of the Discovery Channel's hit series "Tree House Masters."
4. Airplane Boneyard (Newbury)
In Newbury, Ohio resident Walter Soplata hosted a collection of military aircraft from the 50s, 60s and 70s. The graveyard featured approximately 20 stray aircraft that Soplata collected from his scrapyard job in Cleveland, “junking thousands of warplane engines that were declared surplus,” according to his son Wally Soplata in a November 2007 issue of Air and Space Magazine. Soplata used to open his property to the public, but in recent years the aircraft boneyard has been kept private. Today, it is unclear exactly what remains of the aircraft graveyard.
5. The Wilds (Cumberland)
Cumberland is home to Ohio's own safari experience---where exotic animals roam free.
6. The Chateau Laroche (Loveland)
April Dray/Only In Your State
Also known as the Loveland Castle, this lovely little medieval structure was built by hand---brick by brick---by one man, Sir Harry Andrews. Today it is open for the public to view for $5 a person, and is operated by modern day knights.
7. Cincinnati’s abandoned subway
Not many people are aware of the dark, lonely and long-forgotten subway beneath the streets of Cincinnati—the country’s longest abandoned subway system that never transported a single individual. Located under Central Parkway in downtown Cincinnati, (from Walnut Street to just south of Hopple Street,) sits the incomplete, eerie series of tunnels, which have been abandoned since 1928.
8. Cleveland's abandoned subway
Cleveland is also home to a lonely and long-forgotten subway system. The Detroit-Superior Bridge, (also known as the Veterans Memorial Bridge), is a 3,112 ft. long arch bridge over the Cuyahoga River, linking Detroit Avenue and Superior Avenue. When cars pass over this bridge, they’re also passing over a lower streetcar level that hasn’t been in operation since 1954.
9. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum (Hamilton)
This little known outdoor museum and sculpture park in Hamilton is every art enthusiast's dream come true. 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.
10. Chippewa Lake Amusement Park (Medina)
Tucked away in Medina County there’s a rusted, long forgotten ferris wheel. What what was once Chippewa Lake Park is now just a few piles of amusement park ruins and the lone ferris wheel. From 1878 to 1978, the amusement park was a popular, thriving destination for family entrainment. Today, remnants of it creepily stand abandoned, rusted and long forgotten. (If you think this abandoned amusement park would have been the perfect location for a horror film, you’re exactly right. In 2008, a cast and crew from Los Angeles filmed “Closed for the Season" here.)
11. Geauga Lake Amusement Park (Aurora)
What was once the world’s largest theme park is now also an overgrown land of decaying roller coasters, empty concession stands and abandoned ticket booths that welcome visitors no more. Geauga Lake Amusement Park has stood abandoned since 2007, after a long history of beloved family vacations (since 1887) and multiple expansions and redesigns.
12. Crystal King and the Ohio Caverns (West Liberty)
"America's Most Colorful Caverns" can be found in Ohio. Within the Ohio Caverns is one of the world's largest and most perfectly formed stalactites. "Crystal King" is nearly five feet long, weighing an estimated 400 pounds, and is estimated to be more than 200,000 years old.
13. American Sign Museum (Cincinnati)
If vintage finds and historic pop culture is your thing, discover the country's largest collection of signs at this Cincinnati museum.
14. The Temple of Tolerance (Wapakoneta)
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.
15. Hartman Rock Garden (Springfield)
Observe a mixture of history, religion, and depression-era pop culture via this unique garden, built by Harry "Ben" Hartman between1932 through 1944.
Did you know about all of these? Which ones surprised you? Share your thoughts (and other Ohio secrets you know) with us in the comments below!