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10 Unique Things to Do in Ohio, USA

10 Unique Things to Do in Ohio, USA

Ohio is underrated as a tourist destination. While Ohio is home to a lot of farmland, it also has many wonderful parks, a national forest, several amusement parks, and so many interesting things to do for families. From a giant geode cave to an ancient serpent mound, Ohio delivers something for every kind of traveler. You can even go on a safari in Ohio!

Author Name: Natalie
Author Bio: Natalie is a blogger and mom, who became an expat in Mexico in 2017. When she’s not playing with her kids, traveling, or writing, you can find her indulging in old Sci-fi shows with her husband.
Discover more about family travel and expat life at Blissmersion.com.

1. Crystal Cave

Crystal Cave
Image Courtesy of: Analogue Kid
Crystal Cave isn't actually a cave at all. It's a giant geode you can tour! Located on the Heineman Winery property, tours are offered 7 days a week in season. The vug (a vug is a cavity in a rock which is lined with crystals) was discovered in 1897 by Gustav Heineman, while digging a well for his winery. It's filled with celestine crystals, which were originally mined for use in fireworks production. Eventually, Heineman decided to stop mining the cave and turned it into a tourist attraction. This action is credited with Heineman Winery surviving prohibition.
You can find Crystal Cave in Put-in-Bay, Ohio, a village located on South Bass Island.

2. The Hershey Children's Garden

The Hershey Children's Garden
Image Courtesy of: MamaGeek
Part of the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, the Hershey Children's Garden opened in 1999. It was one of the first of its kind in the country and the first in Ohio. There are flower beds, ponds, and an area to make mud pies. Everything is child sized from the paths to the benches.
The garden's focal point is the treehouse. Not only can the whole garden be seen from there, it also has a weekly story time in season. The treehouse is also wheelchair accessible.
It's an oasis for children. There is a fountain and its guaranteed kids will want to get wet. Children can get messy, enjoy nature, and play!

3. Glacial Grooves at Kelleys Island

Glacial Grooves at Kelleys Island
Image Courtesy of: Chris Light
The glacial grooves at Kelleys Island were created during the Pleistocene Ice Age, by a slow moving glacier that also created the Great Lakes. In 1972, excavation began to carefully remove the debris and quarry waste that had collected in the grooves. The 400 feet long, 35 feet wide grooves have been a popular tourist attraction ever since. They are up to 15 feet deep in places and can be viewed from a series of steps and footbridges that wind around the upper rim.
Viewing the  Glacial Grooves is free and will take less than an hour. Make it a focal point of your visit to Kelleys Island, then hit up the beach, the winery ruins, or one of the nature preserves on the Island.

4. Cedar Point

Cedar Point
Image Courtesy of: Vlastula
Cedar Point is the second oldest amusement park and has the distinction of being the most visited seasonal amusement park in the country. "America's Roller Coast" features a world record 72 rides, 18 coasters, and is the only park with six roller coasters taller than 200 feet.
For little kids and families, there are a combined 19 rides. It's a fun and thrilling family destination that's worth a multi-day visit.
Cedar Point is open seasonally, generally from early May through Labor Day, and then weekends until the end of October.

5. Ariel Foundation Park in Mt. Vernon

Ariel Foundation Park in Mt. Vernon
Ariel Foundation Park in Mount Vernon, Ohio, is a stunning example of "adaptive reuse." The park is 250 acres, sitting on the site of a former glass-making factory. Instead of tearing down the factory completely, they left the ruins and added the green space around it. In addition to exploring the factory ruins, you can also wander around the Tree of Life Labyrinth, surrounding woods, and earthen terraces on the property.
One of the biggest features (pun intended) of the park is Rastin Observation Tower. It's the tallest structure in Knox County at 280 feet tall. From the observation deck at 140 feet, you are treated to a beautiful, birds-eye view of Ariel Foundation Park and the City of Mount Vernon.
The pedestrian accessible areas are open year round and at the time of publication, parking and admission are free. The tower is also open year round, weather permitting.

6. The Serpent Mound

The Serpent Mound
Image Courtesy of: Pollinator
Located in Adams County, Ohio, the Serpent Mound of Ohio is a serpent effigy that extends over 1330 feet and is the largest animal effigy in the world. Current theory is that it was built between 381 BC and 44 BC by the Adena culture and was repaired in 1070 AD by the Fort Ancient Culture (though this is a heavily debated topic between scholars). From the 30 foot tower, you can see the whole of the mound.  In addition to the effigy, there are three burial mounds, all likely from different periods. There is also a museum and a small gift shop on the premises.
The Serpent Mound is a recognized National Historic Landmark and has been nominated to be on the prestigious World Heritage Sites list. If it makes the UNESCO list, it will likely bring a boost of tourism to the area, and will encourage the local community to continue preservation of this important site.

7. The Wilds

The Wilds
Image Courtesy of: Becker1999
Have you ever wanted to go on a safari? You can do that in Ohio! The Wilds is a non-profit conservation center and safari park in southern Ohio. Sitting on over 9,000 acres of reclaimed mine land, it is the largest wildlife conservation center in North America. Within The Wilds, you'll see cheetahs, rhinoceros, giraffes, and so much more. Tours run daily May through September and weekends in October.
They also offer wintertime tours and they must be booked in advance. The tour includes seeing animals who are still outside in the winter and then it continues into the heated barn. There you can see the cold-sensitive animals and the babies (if there are any).
The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio is associated with the Columbus Zoo.

8. Wayne National Forest

Wayne National Forest
Image Courtesy of: ChaseRokitt
Located in the southern hills, Wayne National Forest is the only national forest in Ohio. It consists of 300 miles of trails through more than a quarter million acres of Appalachian foothills. Hiking, horseback riding, mountain bikes, and ATVs are welcome in season. The trails are open April through December. Find Wildcat Hollow or picnic by Lake Vesuvius. Wayne National Forest has some something for adventurous families to those who just want to relax and enjoy nature!

9. Roscoe Village

Roscoe Village
Image Courtesy of: Bestbudbrian
Roscoe Village is an 1830s restored canal town located in Coshocton, Ohio. If you've ever wondered what life was like in the early and mid-1800s, Roscoe Village is worth a visit. Ohio has a rich history that is often overlooked, but so worth exploring. The canals in Ohio did a lot to improve the cost of goods, however, the canals were prone to damage due to flooding and freezing temperatures. Roscoe Village thrived during the heyday of the canals, but lost traction as the railroads overtook canals as a better and faster way to transport goods. After the great flood of 1913, the decline of the village was in full effect. The beautiful buildings fell into disrepair. It wasn't until 1968, when Edward and Frances Montgomery purchased the 1840 Toll House and began renovations, that the idea of a living museum was born.
The village has been restored to its former glory and features tours, hands on crafts, a boat ride through the canals, a museum, and more. History comes alive with period actors stationed throughout the village. The shops are famous, especially the large candy shop!
There are year round events and general admission tours run April-December.

10. Boonschoft Museum of Discovery

Boonschoft Museum of Discovery
Image Courtesy of: Uriel 1998
Boonschoft Museum of Discovery is located in Dayton, Ohio. It is a children's museum, center for science and technology, and an accredited zoo. Exhibits include Science on a Sphere, a large globe suspended in mid-air and capable of producing intriguing visualizations of the Earth's atmosphere, oceans, land, as well as astronomical phenomena in the galaxy. If you want to know more about the solar system, visit the Hall of the Universe.
The Oscar Boonshoft Science Central area includes a water table for kids and other interactive areas. The Climbing Tower & Slide can be found in this area, it's a multi-story play area that can be accessed from the first and second floors. From the second floor, children can slide all the way down to the first floor! It's a kid favorite.
Nesiur the Mummy has a home at Boonshoft, a gift from Egypt. The Bieser Discovery Center encourages an interest in natural history with both live exhibits of a Burmese python, hissing cockroaches, and tarantulas, along with rocks, animals skeletons, and fossils.
The Boonschoft Museum has so much to do. It’s fun and also educational for families.