This week, The Morning Thing crew is sharing ideas on how to savor the end of summer. Ohio is a fun and exciting place! Take a road trip to one of these family friendly destinations. Summer is NOT over! Have some fun this week with your family and friends.
101 Things to Do in Ohio
If you’re thinking about staying closer to home this year for your vacation or getaway, believe us when we say there is too much fun for just one day in Ohio! You won’t believe all the affordable and exciting adventures waiting in Ohio for families, empty nesters, couples and young professionals. Here’s just a sample – check it out!
1. Check out the meat eaters at the Carnivore Conservation Center in the Wilds near Cambridge. This center is the only one of its kind in the United States dedicated to the breeding and scientific study of endangered mid-sized carnivores like cheetahs and African wild dogs.
2. Let your mad scientist out at COSI (the Center of Science and Industry ) in Columbus. Enjoy live demonstrations as well as exploring any scientific field of your choosing. COSI also offers many hands-on activities for all ages.
3. Search for 375 million-year-old fossils at Fossil Park in Sylvania. Just bring a water bottle, a few brushes and a keen eye to pick up your fill of trilobites, corals and brachiopods. The rock piles come from a working quarry about a mile down the road, and the adventure is free!
4. Known for being the roller coaster capital of the world, Cedar Point in Sandusky is home to more than 15 roller coasters and counting. The park also has a park area designed just for children, a water park, a beach to Lake Erie and many seasonal events and exhibits.
5. Make a splash at the Columbus Zoo’s Zoombezi Bay Waterpark and Jungle Jack’s Landing. Check out the membership for both the waterpark and zoo and leave time to hone your golf swing at the Safari Golf Club.
6. Hang Ten at Kalahari Indoor Water Park in Sandusky on FlowRider, an indoor surfing wave that makes hanging 10 a possibility even in December!
7. Open year round, the Toledo Zoo offers visitors more than just the chance to see unique animals. At the Toledo Zoo, you get the chance to interact with the animals with behind the scenes tours as well as animal demos and shows, concerts and special theme days.
8. Create your own glass menagerie with an artist in residence at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion. The Pavilion provides plenty of muse with one of the top glass collections in the world ranging from antiquity to current day.
9. Get a bird’s-eye-view of the world around you in a breathtaking hot air balloon ride. Dozens of places throughout Ohio offer rides and different viewpoints of the state’s beautiful landscape; bring your camera!
10. Weave a basket with traditional artisan Leota Hutchinson in the Hocking Hills or head to Longaberger Basket Company in Frazeysburg to watch the basket weaving pros at work then apply your new-found knowledge to weave your own heirloom basket.
11. Capture the beauty of Ashtabula County’s 18 covered bridges during the peak of fall foliage season at the annual Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival.
12. Rock on over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland to learn why Ohio is the birthplace of Rock and Roll. Enrich yourself with the history of modern music as well as musician-based exclusive exhibits and artifacts from your favorite musicians.
13. Sail the inland seas; learn to tack, cruise and trim on Lake Erie at Harbor North Sailing School in Huron.
14. Try your hand at heritage crafts including quilting, wreath-making and woodcarving at Historic Sauder Village in Archbold. Artisans at the historic village share what life was like in Ohio’s Black Swamp during the late 19th century.
15. Test new, innovative KitchenAid products and appliances in eight interactive culinary areas at the KitchenAid Experience Center in Greenville. Then head over to the factory for a tour as new mixers roll off the assembly line.
16. Express your inner artist at the Mazza Museum in Findlay, where you can view an inspiring collection of artwork from children’s books and learn to draw or paint your own renditions.
Uniquely Ohio Natural Adventures
17. Paddle the placid waters of Lake Erie by kayak around North Bass Island (population 17) with 41Degrees North Adventures.
18. Embark on coastal adventures upon the Nautica Queen on Cleveland’s Lake Erie where you can see the revitalized riverfront and the city skyline lit up at night.
19. Have a hearty breakfast of buckwheat pancakes at one of the country’s oldest working grist mills, Clifton Mill in Clifton. Then hike the rugged natural beauty of Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve.
20. Hike the remote splendor of Wayne National Forest where, if you’re lucky, you might see a black bear or bobcat.
21. Spelunk the depths of Seneca Caverns in Bellevue to follow the path of the subterranean crystal clear “Ole’ Myst’ry River.”
22. Embark on a geocaching adventure at Salt Fork State Park near Cambridge, the largest of Ohio’s more than 70 state parks.
23. Pedal Ohio’s beautiful countryside and experience small towns on a new level with Ohio’s many bike trails.
24. Hike more than 120 miles of trails in the pristine, natural beauty of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, just minutes from downtown Cleveland and Akron. Or pedal the Towpath bicycle/walk trail and take the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway for the return trip.
Thrills and Chills
25. Only the most daring of daredevils will want to tangle with Diamondback, at Kings Island in Mason. Diamondback is the tallest, fastest and meanest roller coaster to ever strike Kings Island, standing 230 feet at its highest point!
26. Spend the night at a very haunting destination, the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield during the Overnight Experience – we dare you! The old prison is a spooky specter during the day, but goose bumps are guaranteed as the darkness and dampness of night creep in. The Reformatory served as the setting for the movies Shawshank Redemption and Air Force One.
27. Zoom over 10 ziplines and three rope bridges while covering nearly a mile of natural scenic beauty at the Hocking Hills Canopy Tours in Rockbridge. Allow three hours for the entire experience including training.
28. Break the speed limit (legally) – Learn to drive a high performance racecar at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington. Also stay in Mid-Ohio for some of the best racing in the Midwest including NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the Honda 200 (Indy Car Series), AMA Superbike Championships NASCAR Truck series and more.
29. Get the ghost scared out of you at Ghostly Manor Thrill Center in Sandusky. Ghostly Manor is a year-round, high-tech haunted house with an XD 3D Theater. The theater is a 3D motion ride that has 100 different movements per second and up to two Gs of acceleration – not for the faint of heart!
30. Fly like a bird in a replica of the Wright B Flyer, an early Wright Brothers biplane located in Miamisburg.
31. Dive the shipwrecks of the Lake Erie Islands. Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes which can cause stormy waters in a hurry. Erie has claimed more ships than any of the other Great Lakes.
Quick Cultural Escapes
32. Expand your definition of art at the cutting edge Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. The Contemporary Arts Center’s goal of their exhibits is to provide the opportunity for all people to discover the relationship between art and life.
33. Catch a show at Karamu House, one of the country’s premier multicultural theatres located in Cleveland.
34. Take in a musical or comedy at Rabbit Run Theater near the shores of Lake Erie in Madison. Rabbit Run is one of the last remaining summer stock barn theaters. Or catch a Broadway show at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, the second largest performing arts district outside of New York.
35. Listen to the sweet strains of live bluegrass music at the Southern Ohio Opry in Lucasville.
36. Immerse yourself in rich exhibits at the Columbus Museum of Art. Museum goers receive the chance to partake in an art-making activity as well as see some very rare exhibits of different styles and ages.
37. View treasures of American art at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown then head to the urban oasis of Mill Creek Park.
38. Marvel at the working, hand-carved trains of ebony, ivory and wood at the Warther Museum in Dover, then browse the button collection and purchase a set of kitchen knives made in the on-site shop.
39. Be welcomed into Amish homes for a progressive dinner and to understand their unique culture in a face-to-face way with an Amish Culture Tour arranged by Garden Gate Get-A-Way Bed and Breakfast in Millersburg.
40. Fade into a world of your own at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Explore exhibits or past and modern marvels and enjoy live events.
41. Hear the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall in Cleveland or in the fresh air at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, or visit Lima to hear the Lima Symphony Orchestra’s take on the classics.
42. Search for a new style as you browse the galleries of Kent State University’s Fashion Museum in Kent, where you can find works of wearable art from the 1700s to the present day.
43. Discover the flora and fauna of more than 3,500 different plant species in the Palm, Tropical, Desert and Orchid houses at the Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati.
Walk in History’s Footprints
44. Check out Ohio’s Underground Railroad sites in Oberlin and Zanesville. Be sure to also head down to Cincinnati to visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
45. Explore the fascinating remains of the Fort Ancient Indian culture at Serpent Mound in Peebles.
46. Soar into history at the National Museum of the United State Air Force in Dayton. Catch glimpses of many historic aircrafts and gain more information on the Wright Brothers.
47. Ride the Valley Gem Sternwheeler in Marietta and enjoy the gentle splash of the paddlewheel. Visit the nearby Campus Martius Museum, and then stroll the riverfront before bedding down at the historic Lafayette Hotel.
48. Sleep where presidents and authors have spent the night. The Golden Lamb in Lebanon was host to Ulysses S. Grant, Charles Dickens, John Quincy Adams and plenty more notables from American history.
49. Slip silently along the water aboard a horse-drawn canal boat at Historic Roscoe Village in Coshocton, and then shop the unusual offerings at Unusual Junction.
50. Retrace the footsteps of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart down the double stairway at the Big House where they were married. Home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author and early conservationist Louis Bromfield, the Big House and the rest of Bromfield’s Malabar Farm are now part of Malabar Farm State Park in Lucas, a working farm open to the public where sustainable agriculture can be observed and discussed firsthand.
51. Learn more about Islamic culture at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo in Perrysburg, one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in North America.
52. Tour the unique quilt barn trails of southern Ohio, including those in Harrison, Athens, Monroe, Miami and Adams counties.
53. Have high tea at a president’s dining table at Spiegel Grove, the estate of Rutherford B. Hayes in Fremont.
54. Golf one of Ohio’s championship public courses like Ohio native Jack Nicklaus-designed Aston Oaks in North Bend or The Grizzly in Mason. You can also try Longaberger in Nashport or Little Mountain in Concord.
55. Catch a fly ball at Huntington Park in Columbus, home to the Columbus Clippers—the Cleveland Indians AAA Affiliate!
56. Pay homage to gridiron greats at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
57. Head out into Lake Erie’s prime fishing territory to catch walleye, perch and smallmouth bass with Bo-Kay Fishing Charters out of Lorain.
58. Admire the classic beauty of automobiles from the ’30s, ‘40s and ‘50s at Snook’s Dream Cars Museum in Bowling Green
59. Pamper yourself with a five-night spa getaway filled with massages, yoga classes and facials at The Kerr House bed and breakfast in Grand Rapids. The stresses of life will melt away!
60. Create your own signature fragrance at Studio des Parfums in Tipp City with the help of a master blending artist, and learn about the perfume-making industry and history of the Galimard perfumes.
61. Get the girls together for a weekend getaway to Hocking Hills where you can rent a cabin in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and spend time together walking, talking, shopping and enjoying a break from the daily routine.
62. Gather in the grape harvest at one of the Ohio’s vineyards in northeast Ohio’s wine country.
63. Get away to Ohio’s Amish Country for some good old-fashioned bonding by taking a quilting class, shopping for material and patterns at quaint shops or scrapbooking.
64. Shop the eclectic art galleries of Columbus’ Short North Arts District then sate your hunger with sushi, diner food or nouveau cuisine at one of the neighborhood’s many tempting restaurants.
65. Hit up Ohio’s only IKEA store, located in West Chester, and let the Swedish-born retailer inspire your next home décor makeover.
66. Peruse the quirky galleries of Yellow Springs, then try some original organic cuisine that is the town’s specialty.
67. Find unbeatable bargains at Ohio’s enticing outlet malls located in Jeffersonville, Lodi and Aurora.
68. Experience the peace of the Amish enclave of Middlefield in Geauga County, where you can sample local Swiss cheese or pick out a solid oak pie-safe.
69. Taste a Hungarian hotdog at the world famous Tony Packo’s Café in Toledo and browse the wall of more than 1,000 hot dog buns autographed by nearly every star that has come to town. Check out the restaurant downtown near Fifth Third Field, home of the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens Minor League Baseball Team.
70. Have dinner with wine pairings in a vineyard under the stars at Shamrock Vineyard in Waldo.
71. Taste a worldwide range of offerings, including Polish pirogues, French pastries, Lebanese falafel and Vietnamese hot sauces at Cleveland’s historic West Side Market.
72. Sample the delectable and unexpected flavors of Thai chili, cocoa curry and lavender with wild berries at Jeni’s Ice Creams in Columbus’ North Market.
73. Pick your own fresh raspberries at Robert Rothschild Farms in Urbana before shopping for some gourmet raspberry-based vinegars and salsas at the shop.
74. Take a passeggiata through Cleveland’s Little Italy where you can dine at a classy restaurant or at a laid-back pizza joint, browse art galleries and vintage shops and cap off the night with a cappuccino and cannoli.
75. Taste more than 350 flavors of Simply Smuckers jams, jellies and syrups at the company’s headquarters in Orrville.
76. Bring your appetite to Athens for an eclectic array of restaurants; including Purple Chopstix and Casa Nueva Cantina, which also display amazing works of art by members of Passionworks, a local handicapped artist’s collective.
77. Visit Cincinnati to indulge in local specialties like Skyline Chili and Graeter’s Ice Cream, then walk off the calories along the city’s revitalized riverfront.
78. Sample some of Ohio’s best handcrafted beers at the Columbus Brewing Company in Columbus, Great Lakes Brewery in Cleveland and Barrelhouse Brewing Company in Cincinnati.
79. Spend the night in a luxury yurt on Kelley’s Island after exploring the island’s famous Glacial Grooves.
80. Pedal through the scenic countryside along Holmes County’s Rails-to-Trails corridor alongside Amish buggies.
81. Photograph frozen Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills State Park in Logan in the majestic stillness of winter.
82. Tiptoe between the giant trees at Dysart Woods in Belmont County, one of Ohio’s largest stands of old-growth forest.
83. Spend a silent sunrise at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Oak Harbor to check a few neotropical songbirds off your life list during the spring or fall migration.
84. Explore the incredible rhododendron, holly and magnolias and then relax with a t’ai chi or yoga class at the 3,500-acre Holden Arboretum in Kirtland.
85. Rent a pontoon boat and while away a summer evening on Atwood Lake in Carroll County, then spend a cozy night at the Atwood Lake Resort with spectacular views of the lake and hills.
86. Taste the sweetness of homegrown maple syrup at the Burton Log Cabin in Burton, and then tuck into the Red Maple Inn for a New England style getaway. Be sure to get a tall stack of pancakes for breakfast!
87. Explore the oak savannahs, wetland orchids and prickly pear cactus patches of Oak Openings Preserve in Swanton, one of North America’s premier centers for biodiversity and one of the Nature Conservancy’s Last Great Places.
88. Sleep on the falls at the Sheraton Suites in Cuyahoga Falls. The hotel and lounge sit top of the Cuyahoga River and offers a gorgeous view. Also be sure to walk across the street to Falls River Square where you can explore antique stores or catch a concert at the pavilion.
Only in Ohio Road Trips
89. Take a road trip across Ohio from Bridgeport to New Westville along Route 40, the National Road, to see a cross-section of Ohio’s history.
90. Make a pilgrimage to the birthplaces of 1950s-era entertainers in east central Ohio – Clark Gable’s home can be found in Cadiz, Dean Martin’s is in Steubenville and Hopalong Cassidy’s is in Cambridge.
91. Take a road trip to find some of Ohio’s quirkiest roadside attractions like the Dental Museum in Bainbridge, the world’s largest basket in Newark and the world’s largest cuckoo clock in Sugarcreek.
92. Stop by the American Whistle Corporation in Westerville for a tour of the only remaining U.S. manufacturer of metal whistles. The company makes a gold-plated version used by referees in the NFL Superbowl.
93. Trek the 452-mile path of the Ohio River Scenic Byway, stopping in historic riverfront towns along the way, including East Liverpool, Marietta, Gallipolis, Ironton, Portsmouth, Ripley, New Richmond and Cincinnati.
94. Overnight in a Frank Lloyd Wright original at the Penfield House in Willoughby Hills and tour the recently refurbished Westcott House in Springfield.
95. Drive along Lake Erie’s scenic coastline and tour the historic lighthouses, including Marblehead Lighthouse, Lorain Lighthouse and Fairport Harbor Lighthouse.
96. Celebrate football’s finest at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival in Canton when the newest class of pigskin heroes is inducted.
97. See double at the Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, the largest gathering of twins, triplets and other multiples in the world.
98. Taste more than 150 varieties of Ohio wines, ranging from crisp un-oaked chardonnays to full-bodied cabernet francs at the largest wine festival in the Midwest, Vintage Ohio in Kirtland.
99. Shake your groove thang at the Macy’s Music Fest in Cincinnati, one of the largest
outdoor music festivals in the country attracting more than 40,000 people every year.
100. Visit Cleveland’s Ingenuity Festival to take in creative, eclectic mix of technology and art with an ample fix of northeastern Ohio’s most eccentric bunch of stilt walkers, drummers, street dancers and others to grace the streets of Cleveland.
101. Explore the cultures, foods and dances of Central and South America at Columbus’ Latino Festival.
Visit DiscoverOhio.com to start your own list today!