10 Tourist Attractions in Ohio You Should Definitely Check Out

Whether you’re visiting Ohio or a resident, there are plenty of things to do, but some activities and attractions are far removed from the typical tourist attractions in Ohio. By considering some of the lesser known attractions, you can give your family an experience that will live in their memories for a lifetime. Below are just a few of the unique destinations Ohio has to offer.

1. Ohio State Reformatory

Visiting Ohio State Reformatory, one of the best tourist attractions in Ohio

Also known as Mansfield Reformatory and found in Mansfield, Ohio, this historic structure is remarkable for two reasons. First, it’s Germanic architecture gives the building its castle-like appearance and includes the world’s tallest free-standing cell block. It reaches six stories high. Secondly, Ohio State Reformatory is believed to be haunted and paranormal researchers have named four areas of particular interest: two chapels, the solitary confinement wing, the office of the warden, and the infirmary.

The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society offers tours of the facility throughout the year, making this one of the more popular tourist attractions in Ohio.

2. Crystal Cave

Crystal Cave, Ohio

While this tour allows visitors to walk through a large geode, it might be better to leave the kids with a friend. The stop at Crystal Cave is just one leg of a larger tour offered by Heineman Winery.
In 1887, Gustav Heineman had commissioned workers to dig on his property and they inadvertently discovered the cave. In fact, it’s a geode existing within a single rock and, while the crystals may have dimmed their glimmer over time, it’s still a spectacular experience. The winery is located at 978 Catawba Street
in Put-in-Bay, Ohio.

3. American Sign Museum

American Sign Museum, Ohio

Located at 1330 Monmouth Street in Cincinnati, Ohio, the American Sign Museum features a tour of some of pop culture’s most historic signs. It was started by Tod Swormstedt, whose grandfather launched the trade magazine Sign of the Times, and features signs from the 1970s and going as far back as the 1800s.
Some of the museum’s more noteworthy offerings include the old McDonald’s sign (before Ronald McDonald was introduced) and a “satellite” sign that closely resembles the first Sputnik space satellite.

4. Kelleys Island Winery Ruins

Touring the Kelleys Island Winery Ruins

The island is located between Michigan and Ohio, where the Kelleys Island Wine Company flourished in the mid 19th century. The co-op of grape growers once produced an annual output of 350,000 gallons of champaign and wine.
The steam-powered presses manufactured the wine, which was then transported to the mainland via horse-drawn carriages, which were driven across frozen Lake Erie. Today, ferries take tourists to the island, where they can rent golf carts to tour the winery ruins.

5. Chateau Laroche

Chateau Laroche, or Loveland Castle, Ohio

The construction of the Chateau Laroche at 12025 Shore Road in Loveland, Ohio was a hobby for Harry Andrews, who had always been fascinated with medieval history and lore. Andrews built the castle himself and required 2,600 bags of cement, 54,000 five-gallon drums of dirt, and 56,000 buckets of stone.
Tragically, Harry burned to death in a fire, while he was cooking a meal in the castle, but Knights of the Golden Trail offer tours of the castle throughout the year.

6. Cedar Point Amusement Park

Cedar Point Amusement Park, Ohio

For something a little more exhilarating, taking a break from common tourist attractions in Ohio to hop on some rides. Found in Sandusky, this is more common of the tourist attractions in Ohio, but no less entertaining. Cedar Point features a mix of new and classic rides, including 17 roller coasters, and also offers games, live entertainment, and eateries.

7. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Ohio

If you’re looking for something to do with the family, while in Columbus, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is an essential stop. Certainly more than the typical tourist attractions in Ohio, this facility serves as a home to over 700 species of animals. Also worthy of note is the Polar Frontier exhibit, which gives children of all ages an educational and engaging experience.

8. The Wilds

The Wilds, Ohio

Established in Cumberland, The Wilds gives tourists an opportunity to view wildlife in a more natural environment, allowing them to roam free on a 10,000 acre preserve. Joining common indigenous species, the conservation also hosts a number or rare and endangered species of animals.

Visitors can either opt to tour the preserve aboard an open air safari transport or driving through in an enclosed, climate-controlled vehicle. It’s important to remain within the vehicle, however, because you’ll be in close proximity to such wild animals as cheetahs, American bison, zebras, and trumpeter swans.

9. Ohio and Erie Canalway

Ohio and Erie Canalway Towpath Trail

If you’re family enjoys the outdoors, this is a great way to spend a warm, sunny afternoon. The canal’s paths wind through one of the state’s most beautiful national parks in Cleveland. While visiting the Canalway and park, you can go hiking through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, ride on a mule-drawn boat, go bicycling along Towpath Trail, or take a relaxing ride aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

10. The Cleveland Arcade

Hyatt Regency at the Arcade, Cleveland, Ohio

No vacation is complete without a day of shopping and, here, you can combine some retail therapy with an appreciation for history. One of the few remaining arcades left in America, this structure was built by John D. Rockefeller, who liked the idea of shopping indoors. Modeled after the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, The Cleveland Arcade is one of the most awe-inspiring tourist attractions in Ohio, featuring twin 9-story towers.

A thirty-foot glass skylight illuminates a five-story shopping arcade. Earning the nickname “Cleveland’s Crystal Palace,” the structure still stands today and the top floors are occupied by the Hyatt Regency. The lowest two floors are dedicated to retail and dining, providing visitors with an abundance of shopping delights. If you happen to grow weary of The Cleveland Arcade, there are two other arcades across the street, The Colonial and Euclid Arcades.

Summing Up

These are just a few of the unique experiences awaiting you in Ohio. No matter what part of the state you’re visiting, there are any number of attractions to entertain and educate, whether you’re looking for traditional activities or something a little less ordinary.

Among the amusement parks, shopping and dining experiences, and nationally recognized museums, there are tours and attractions that pay homage to the state’s long history. Offering something for everyone, the tourist attractions in Ohio offer unlimited fun any season of the year.

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