It’s nearly impossible to keep something a secret these days—but you might be surprised to find that there are several national museums in Ohio, as well as certain destinations you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Let’s take the spotlight off the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the roller coaster capital of the world for a bit and highlight some of Ohio’s other equally impressive, but lesser known, gems.
1) The United States Air Force Museum (Dayton)
Ohio is 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) Pro Football Hall of Fame (Canton)
Canton is the proud of host of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
4) Ohio Caverns (West Liberty)
"America's Most Colorful Caverns" can be found in Ohio. These caverns feature multiple chambers named "Fantasyland," "Palace of the Gods" and the "Big Room." The caverns were formed thousands of years ago when an underground river cut through ancient limestone and created vast rooms and passageways. These passageways are now filled with crystal stalactites, stalagmites and many other formations.
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) National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati)
Cincinnati is home to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which showcases exhibits that detail the history of the Civil Rights movement and the Underground Railroad.
6) Toledo Museum of Art
The Toledo Museum of Art's collection is world renowned, featuring more than 30,000 works of art from all around the world.
7) Oak Openings (Swanton)
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) American Sign Museum (Cincinnati)
Discover America's largest collection of signs at this Cincinnati museum.
9) The Cincinnati Observatory
On top of Mt. Lookout 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.
10) 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) available for overnight stays.
11) The Wilds (Cumberland)
Cumberland is home to Ohio's own safari experience--where exotic animals roam free.
12) The Chateau Laroche (Loveland)
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.
April Dray/Only In Your State
13) Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park (Nelson Township)
Nelson Kennedy Ledges provides a similar (and lesser known) adventurous experience to the well known Old Man's Cave hiking trail at Hocking Hills 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.