Ohio really should be the Hidden Gem Capital of the World. We have so many hidden gems that most people have no idea even exist. (Check out
this list for some of the best.) But there are other not-so-hidden gems that are just as impressive. The following are 12 Ohio “hidden gems” hiding in plain sight that not enough people visit.
1. The Ohio Statehouse
Officially finished in 1847, our beautiful state capitol is known for its distinctive rotunda and regularly hosts tours organized by the Ohio Statehouse Museum Education Center. Free, guided tours of the Statehouse are offered Monday through Friday on the hour from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 3 p.m. You'll find it at 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215.
2. The Wilds
Although Ohio is full of several impressive zoos, The Wilds in Cumberland offer a unique way to observe exotic animals. Depending on the tour option you choose, you can get an up-close encounter with the animals or board a Safari Transport so you can observe them (from a safe distance) roam freely while learning all about the rare and endangered species the facility conserves. You'll find The Wilds at 14000 International Rd., Cumberland, OH 43732.
3. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
A ride aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Peninsula is the perfect way to embrace the beauty of Ohio. You can take a scenic ride through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year until the first weekend in October. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is located at 1630 West Mill St., Peninsula, OH 44264.
4. BB Riverboats
You likely see these boats in the Ohio River during your trips to Cincinnati, but have you ever thought about boarding one?
If you cross the state line in Cincinnati over to Newport, Kentucky, you’ll find a riverboat cruise option that’s the picture perfect end to a day in the city. BB Riverboats features several different cruise options. From romantic dinners to sightseeing cruises, there’s something for everyone aboard these gorgeous riverboats.
5. Marblehead Lighthouse
April Dray/Only In Your State
This gorgeous lakeside park will make you feel like you're not in Ohio anymore. Make a day of it and picnic at Marblehead Lighthouse, which is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes, and visit the lighthouse’s museum in the Keeper’s House. Tour the actual lighthouse for just $3.
6. Great Serpent Mound
While Ohio is full of multiple earthworks from various cultures, there’s no earthwork in the world that compares to the Great Serpent Mound—both in shape and size. But what’s even more intriguing about the mound is its indefinite purpose, which continues to baffle archaeologists and anthropologists.Constructed in the shape of a snake, the Great Serpent Mound is one of the most impressive earthworks in North America and the world. You'll find it at 3850 State Route 73, Peebles, OH 45660.
Indulge your inner mad scientist with this one of a kind, hands-on science museum in Columbus. In 2008, Parents Magazine named COSI the #1 science museum for families in America. With constantly updated exhibits, it's tons of fun for both kids and adults alike. COSI is located at 333 W Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215.
8. Glacial Grooves Geological Preserve
Although you'll have to take a ferry to see this natural wonder, it's absolutely worth it. Few people are aware that Kelleys Island is home to the largest accessible glacial grooves in the world. The Glacial Grooves Memorial measures 400 feet long and 35 feet wide.
9. United States Air Force Museum
Few people know that Dayton is home to the National Museum of the United States Air Force—and admission is FREE. It's an Ohio gem that's fun for the whole family to explore and is located at 1100 Spaatz St., Dayton, OH 45431.
10. b.a. Sweetie Candy Company
We have the largest candy store in the country sitting right here in our very own state and you probably didn’t even know it. Can you imagine it? Aisle after aisle of any type of candy you could dream of. In fun size, king size and bulk. In every flavor that ever existed. With an inventory of more than 4,500 different items valued at $2,000,000, you really won't find a better candy selection than at b.a. Sweetie Candy Company. It's located at 6770 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, OH 44129.
11. Olander Park System's Fossil Park
Release your inner paleontologist and fossil hunt at the Olander Park System's Fossil Park in Sylvania. Admission and fossil hunting are free, and the fossil park is open from April 11 - November 13. It is located at 5675 Centennial Rd., Sylvania, OH, 43560.
12. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum
Within this outdoor museum, you'll find a wide variety of sculptures standing in meadows, forests and gardens. The park also features an indoor Ancient Sculpture Museum, which displays Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Etruscan sculptures that are thousands of years old. Admission is $8 per person. Children ages 6 - 12 are $3 and children 5 and under are free. (Prices for special events vary.) Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park is located at 1763 Hamilton Cleves Rd., Hamilton, OH 45013.
How many of these attractions have you actually visited? What other not-so-hidden gems would you add to this list? Share your thoughts and experiences with us!