Ohio can keep a secret.
From hidden ghost ships and long-forgotten pieces of history, to rare collections and natural land formations you won’t find anywhere else in the world, you never really know what sort of secrets Ohio is keeping until you decide to go out and find them for yourself. The following are just 15 of what we consider to be some of Ohio’s best kept secrets and little known treasures.
1. Kelleys Island glacial grooves
Few people know that the largest accessible glacial grooves in the world can be found on Kelleys Island.
2. Newbury Airplane Boneyard
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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. American Sign Museum (Cincinnati)
Discover America's largest collection of signs at this Cincinnati museum.
6. Dysart Woods (Belmont)
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.
7. 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.
8. The Mohicans Treehouses (Glenmont)
Few people are aware that in addition to the great outdoors and beautiful cabins, The Mohicans feature some mind-blowing treehouses (complete with an indoor bathroom, electricity and running water) available for overnight stays.
9. Lustron houses (Whitehall)
Designed after World War II and made in Columbus for returning soldiers, these houses were impressively durable, yet inexpensive. Few are still in use or existence.
10. Castle Noel (Medina)
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.
11. 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.
12. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum (Hamilton)
This outdoor museum and sculpture park in Hamilton is every fine 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.
13. Ghost Ship (Also known as the Circle Line V)
The 186-foot steam-engine yacht is more than a century old and was first launched in April of 1902, as The Celt, by a rich railroad executive. Since then, the ship has been renamed numerous times and owned by multiple individuals throughout its lifetime. While it actually came to Ohio from Kentucky, it currently sits in a small creek off of the Ohio River, about 25 miles from Cincinnati, according to Roadtrippers.com.
14. Piatt Castles (West Liberty)
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.
15. Chippewa Lake Park (Medina)
If exploring the long forgotten and abandoned is your thing, then you'll want to check out Chippewa Lake. Remains of this abandoned amusement park, which closed in the late 70s, surprisingly still stand.
Have you explored any of these treasures for yourself? Share your experiences and photos with us in the comments below!