Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Once infamously known for a 24-minute, pollution-fueled fire in 1969, the Cuyahoga River and the surrounding valley have since become an inspiration of an area and river healed. Not far from Cleveland and Akron, the valley features a wealth of sights to see and explore. Natural wonders include a beaver marsh, Ritchie Ledges, Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail and Brandywine Falls. The Boston Store Visitor Center, Canal Exploration Center, Everett Covered Bridge, Jaite Mill, Stanford House and Wilson Feed Mill are among the historic buildings located in the valley.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The Path to Freedom – that is what the Underground Railroad represents. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center utilizes permanent and traveling exhibits to showcase the stories of freedom’s heroes, then and now, and serves to elevate the dialogue around freedom and human rights.
All Ohio Balloon Fest
Held in mid-August, the All Ohio Balloon Fest is something to behold. More than 40 hot air balloons participate in morning liftoffs and evening balloon glows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You also can ride in a restored World War II plane, helicopter or even sky dive. Enjoy entertainment and food from dozens of local vendors. Kids can play in bounce houses, do an obstacle course or watch a balloon artist work his magic.
Columbus Arts Festival
The Columbus Arts Festival is held along Columbus’ beautiful downtown Riverfront in mid-June. This stunning outdoor art gallery attracts art enthusiasts from all over the country. In addition to hosting more than 300 nationally acclaimed artists, the Festival features gourmet food from some of the city’s top restaurants, film screenings and hands-on art activities along with live music, dance and theater performances. Be sure to check out the Emerging Artists program featuring up-and-coming local artists.
Ohio Renaissance Festival
Step back in time during the Ohio Renaissance Festival held weekends in September through October. With nearly 100 shows on 11 stages plus arts and crafts shops, food and beverage locations, games of skill and human-powered rides, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The new Birds of the Gauntlet showcases the ancient art of falconry and features not only a number of birds on display but also an impressive stage presentation.
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Much has changed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame since it first opened in 1963. Today, the Hall is internationally recognized as America’s leading sports museum and showplace. Exhibits rotate to better tell the story of America’s most popular sport. Be sure to check out the Pro Football Today Gallery to see the most recent additions marking the game’s memorable milestones of the previous season.
Fort Hill Earthworks and Nature Preserve
Despite its name, Fort Hill was not a fort used for warfare but rather a ceremonial gathering place for the ancient Hopewell Culture. Featuring some of the best hiking in the state, you can enjoy 11 miles of hiking trails many of which go through fully mature forests with numerous wildflowers, trees and birds. The well-preserved hilltop enclosure of Fort Hill is impressive as is the Circle Earthwork located in a field on the south side of the park. A museum houses exhibits on the geology and archaeology of the area as well.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Lions, tigers, bears, kangaroos, giraffes, snakes, fish, monkeys, turtles and more all call the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium home. A 100,000 gallon salt water aquarium features many of your favorite ocean animals. And if that’s not enough, the Columbus Zoo is fortunate to have Jack Hanna, who often makes appearances at special Zoo events, serving as its director emeritus.
SunWatch Indian Village and Archaeological Park
The SunWatch Indian Village allows you to immerse yourself in the 800-year history of the area’s Fort Ancient Indians. Watch a film introducing you to these fascinating people or view artifacts collected from around the area. Tour the reconstructed buildings located on their original sites or learn about the Village and its inhabitants in the Interpretive Center. It is a trip back in time that is not to be missed.
Built to defend America from the British during the War of 1812, Fort Meigs held strong through two significant sieges in 1813 including one involving the great Native American leader Tecumseh. Torn down and rebuilt two times, the Fort currently serves to educate about the struggles faced by our nation more than 200 years ago.
James A. Garfield Home
Having established himself as a great orator and respected member of the U.S. House of Representatives, James A. Garfield became a dark horse candidate during the Republican National Convention in 1880. The Ohio native was eventually elected president thanks in large part to his successful “front porch campaign.” See the front porch that made history and tour the home to learn more about our 20th president and his family.
Armstrong Air and Space Museum
Space fanatics rejoice! The Armstrong Air and Space museum showcases many of the famous Ohioans who have been involved in studying space, the history of the Space Race and the current state of space exploration. Shaped like a futuristic moon base, the museum features the Gemini VIII spacecraft, Neil Armstrong’s Gemini and Apollo spacesuits, an Apollo 11 moon rock along with several interactive exhibits and three simulators.
Toledo Museum of Art
For more than a century, the Toledo Museum of Art has been recognized for its high quality collection, comprehensive education programs and architecturally significant campus. The museum covers approximately 36 acres and includes six buildings housing paintings, glass works, sculpture, decorative and graphic arts, and modern art. The best part? Entrance into the museum is free of charge.