Ohio Trains, Planes, Auto & Maritime Attractions

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Free Ohio Maritime, Planes, Trains & Automobiles Attractions

Blessing of the Fleet

Lincoln Park Railway Exhibit

Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum

Marion Union Station

Depot Museum

Medina Toy and Train Museum

Dresden Junction

NASA Glenn Research Center Tours

Goodyear World of Rubber

Railroad Depot Museum

Harrod Railroad Heritage Park

Wright "B" Flyer

Huffman Prairie Flying Field and Interpretive Center

Wright Cycle Company

Int. Womens' Air & Space Museum

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force



More Ohio Maritime, Planes, Trains & Automobiles Worth the Price of Admission

Ashtabula Maritime & Surface Trans Museum


Canton Classic Car Museum

Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum

Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum

Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation, Inc.

Dennison Railroad Depot Museum

Ohio Railway Museum

EnterTRAINment Junction

Orrville Railroad Heritage Society

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

Santa Maria

Inland Seas Maritime Museum

Santa Trains / Polar Express / Trains to the North Pole

John & Annie Glenn Historic Site

Snook's Dream Cars Auto Museum

Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad

S.S. Schoonmaker / Boyer Museum Ship

MadRiver Railroad Museum

Steamship William G. Mather Museum

MAPS Air Museum

USS Cod Submarine Tour

Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum

WACO Museum & Aviation Learning Center

National Packard Museum

Warther Carvings & Gardens 

National Trail Raceway

Wright Brothers Aviation Center

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Ohio Trains, Planes, Auto & Maritime Attractions






Aka: Great Lakes Marine & Coast Guard Memorial Museum
(Admission: $4 adults, $3 for kids 6-16, free for those 6 and younger - plus free parking)


View a working commercial coal dock, best view of lighthouse.  See Hulett model, photo/harbor history, and artifacts of the Great Lakes.  Also see the last remaining Ashtabula Hulett unloader “bucket” and a portion of its “Leg”, as well as other artifacts on the grounds. In addition, there is a display dedicated to U.S. Merchant Marines and Support Our Troops! Tours of the actual pilothouse are provided. Special displays include a bell from the sunken ship - Daniel J. Morrell, the Lone Survivor’s ship!  There are also pictures and a 0' X 20' "Model Railroad HO Gauge" layout/diorama of NYC & PRR between early 1900 & 1950's in the Ashtabula Harbor. In addition, the original 4th Order Fresnel lens is displayed. 


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(Admission is Free)  

Get ready for some fun on one of the Great Lakes as Lake Erie’s summer hot spot kicks off another season with its Blessing of the Fleet. This annual celebration of the new fishing season includes a boat parade, music and entertainment.

Blessing of the Fleet celebrations also occur in Ashtabula, Ohio and other locations throughout the states north coast and Ohio River communities.


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A two-story totally mechanical interlocking tower (BF Tower) is located at 501 East Main Street in Bradford, Ohio.


Museum exhibit hall with photos, video and railroad artifacts of the rail operation at Bradford is located at 200 North Miami Avenue in Bradford, Ohio.


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(Admission is $7.50 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for children 6-18,
and free for children under 6) 

The museum is currently home to 45 rare classic and special interest automobiles.  The museum also holds thousands of pieces of historic memorabilia on display to complement the cars.  The museum features a 1937 Ahrens-Fox Quad fire engine; a 1937 Packard hearse; and a 1957 BMW Isetta to name a few.  In addition the museum features vintage toys, steam engines, movie posters, and historic photographs. See VIDEO and read article from a past edition of OhioTraveler.


Printout: Video and article about Canton Classic Car Museum


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(Admission: $8.50 for adults; $7.50 for seniors; $5.00 for students)

  • Open: Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm

  • Location: (Map It) 10825 East Boulevard University Circle, Cleveland, OH 44106

  • Phone: 216-721-5722

The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum showcases nearly 200 antique, vintage, and classic automobiles and aircraft ranging from model T's to modern-day Jaguars. In both Museums, special exhibitions focus on the many different chapters of life in the Western Reserve.


Printout: Crawford Museum at Western Reserve Historical Society

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(Admission:  Adults $8.00, Seniors $6.00, Student (7-17) $4.00, under 7 free) 


The Dennison Railroad Depot takes visitors back in time when railroads were king. The beautifully restored 1873 Pennsylvania Railroad Station houses the Museum, Trax Diner, Whistle Stop Railway Gift Shop, and new wing with a children’s interactive car and restored WWII Hospital car. All are open Tuesday through Sunday year round.  Throughout the year, special events are hold surround the Museum, including the American Soldiers Homecoming Festival held in August and the very popular Polar Express train excursion in December.  Please call for more information on events and group tours.


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& Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
(Admission is Free)  


Open on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Location: (Map It) 145 South Depot St. ● Orrville, OH 44667

Phone: 330-683-2426


This museum is operated by the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society and offers a plethora of railroad artifacts and memorabilia. The museum’s collection is housed in a restored Railroad Union Depot. For a fee, actual train rides ranging from 50-120 miles are available.


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(Admission is Free)  



Choo-choos from Lionel, Marx, Rail King, K-Line and MTH are on display here at this toy train & railroad artifacts museum. It features a 10X20 foot display of four running miniature trains. Other points of interest for model railroad enthusiasts may be the railroad artifacts dating back to the early nineteenth century through the early twentieth century. Quite a personal collection for one man.  


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EnterTRAINment Junction



What would it take to build your dream? Something like nothing else on Earth! For Don Oeters it took a cool $10 million, 80,000 square feet, more than two miles of train track, 1,200 train cars, about 130 volunteers, and a lot of time.  

Four years in the making, the world’s largest indoor train layout has opened to the public. Officially named EnterTRAINment Junction, it's the first and only railroad-themed family entertainment center. This one-of-a-kind whistle stop is located in West Chester, Ohio off I-75 between Dayton and Cincinnati.  

In addition to the overwhelming detail depicting an America shaped by the railroad as seen with large G-scale trains, there’s a kids play land, museum and café, plus party rooms, shopping and seasonal attractions.  

Entering the building for the EnterTRAINment Journey is like entering a new world. The sky is dark and Main Street, complete with park benches and landscaping, is lit with streetlamps. There’s a town hall, sidewalk café, hotel and 1930s train depot. Simply walk up to the teller at the depot and name your destination. Now, enter a historic journey through three distinct epochs in American history from the earliest days of steam-engine railroading to today’s modern diesel locomotives.  

The layout includes railroading’s Early Period (1830s through the Civil War to late 1890s), the Middle Period (1900 to 1950s) and the Modern Period (1960s to the present). Train tracks are bustling all around the visitor – below, at eye level and some even 11 feet in the air. There are carefully handcrafted cities, towns, sawmills and factories, forests, bridges, mountains, valleys, plateaus, intricate trestles, tunnels, trolley cars, and fast-traveling subway trains. A cascading 11 foot waterfall provides a dramatic backdrop for the entire area; water flows through canals and rivers into a large lake. Each train car is about the size of a loaf of bread.

The sophisticated design prevents sneak-peaks ahead, for around every corner is a surprising new scene. There’s plenty even an elevated platform provides a birds-eye view of much of the 25,000 foot layout where 90 trains may be seen chugging this way and that. 

Visitors also become involved in the action with 13 interactive buttons (more still to come) along the EnterTRAINment Journey. Push a button to move a train along the tracks. Push another button to hear the haunting sound of a steam whistle of an Iron Horse rumbling down the rails. More buttons create the sound of the sawmill or reveille playing at the Civil War encampment or church bell pealing from an old wooden steeple. Visitors can also make cars and trucks honk as vehicles bustle between the tall buildings of a typical American city in the 1950s. Even a paperboy, at a push of a button, will call out from a street corner, enticing citizens to buy the latest edition. 

EnterTRAINment Junction has much more to offer than its staple – EnterTRAINment Journey! Imagination Junction is a kid’s dream come true. An entire active play area designed specifically for kids’ fun, this 5,000 square-foot railroad-themed entertainment center includes a colorful, innovative play structure with dozens of challenging elements. Here, youngsters can climb, slide, bounce, crawl through tunnels and more. The area also has train-themed interactive games, and an entire play area devoted to the wildly popular Thomas the Train children’s icon, with a storytelling area, video screens, and Thomas train layouts by Bachmann and Learning Curve.

Just up the tracks is the American Railroading Museum where visitors will find education in a fun environment! This imaginative, interactive 5,000 square foot museum will inspire railroading enthusiasts of all ages as it explores what railroading has meant to the history and development of the United States. Test yourself at one of the trivia kiosks, marvel at the size of actual train equipment, see artifacts and implements and learn railroad folklore.  Look for the STARS to find amazing facts scattered throughout. There’s even a video theater.

The Great Train Expo Center currently provides opportunities for for visitors to see volunteer craftsmen create by hand the magic and detail work that goes into EnterTRAINment Junction’s imaginative train layouts. In the future, everything railroading can be found in this huge (8,000 square foot) expo center with numerous additional train layouts in many different sizes. Historical artifacts and collectibles will also be on display here along with rotating train exhibits. In addition, The Great Train Expo Center is now home of the Cincinnati Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. A library of railroading and hobby books, videos and magazines are available to all visitors (hours vary).

Let the kids be their own train engineers at Kids’ Express (Hand-Cranked Locomotives!) Just outside of Imagination Junction is some real kid-powered fun. Youngsters board hand-cranked locomotives, then become their own train engineers as they power their way around a 300 foot track. There is a separate charge for the Kids’ Express hand-cranked locomotives; open seasonally (June-Labor Day), weather permitting.

One of the many rotating attractions at EnterTRAINment Junction is the ever-changing Seasonal Journey. This magical world for kids and adults alike is a unique self-guided journey. In this gigantic (9,000 square-foot) “walk-through,” the senses come alive in a world of scenic design, sounds, sensory elements and theatrical lighting that changes depending on the season. There is a separate admission charge for the Seasonal Journey. Currently, visitors can enjoy the a-MAZE-ing Junction Funhouse which is open to all ages. If you remember the excitement of an amusement park funhouse, well, this is just the beginning. Those days are back, complete with trick mirrors, spinning black holes, the hurricane room, vortex tunnel, mazes galore that may have you lost for longer than may seem comfortable, and many other surprises. Future Seasonal Journeys will include Fall’s Jack-O-Lantern and Nightmare Junctions, Ripper’s Revenge and Fear Factory. Holiday season will feature Christmas At The Junction, A Christmas Carol and Journey To The North Pole.

EnterTRAINment Junction also offers a Conductor’s Tour, a special guided-tour behind the scenes to see the inner-workings of how EnterTRAINment Junction creates the magic. (Limited availability and departure times and separate charge).

EnterTRAINment Junction may host just about any event too. Accommodations from birthday parties to corporate functions are available anytime. Bus tours, school and university tours may also be arranged. Interested parties should call (513) 898-8000 (Cincinnati area) or 877-898-4656 (Out Of Town) or email groups@entertrainmentjunction.com

If you ever dreamed to be like Mike, as in Michael Jordan, or Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks or Tom Brokaw …you can! They’re all hobby train enthusiasts. So were Walt Disney, Joe DiMaggio, Winston Churchill and Frank Sinatra. And if you are too, make tracks to West Chester, Ohio and see EnterTRAINment Junction.

Value-packed combo tickets, multi-day passes and annual passes are all available. EnterTRAINment Junction is located at 7379 Squire Court in West Chester, Ohio (Map It). Start your journey at www.entertrainmentjunction.com.  

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This fascinating museum has more than just rubber. It features displays depicting the history of blimps, the trucking industry, Indy racecars, a moon buggy and an artificial heart. It also exhibits a replica of a rubber plantation providing a hands-on experience, the history of the rubber industry and memorabilia and reproduction of Charles Goodyear’s workshop, including how he discovered the vulcanization process of rubber in his own kitchen.

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(Admission is Free)  

Have you ever wanted to show the kids the “man on the caboose” but discovered that trains today rarely have a caboose at all? Well, at this little “depot” you can see a renovated caboose, a 1905 Shay Engine, and a one-hundred year old lumber office building and inside, plenty of artifacts and memorabilia. The park also has a full-size military U H-1 Huey Helicopter.

Printout: Harrod Railroad Heritage Park and Veterans Memorial Park

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(Train Fare Applies)

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The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway is a non-profit all volunteer organization founded in 1972. Its purpose is the restoration and preservation of historic railway equipment for the education and entertainment of our members and the public in general.

Season begins the weekend before Memorial Day and continues each Saturday and Sunday through the end of October. For specialty, seasonal and themed trains and to purchase tickets, check the web site http://www.hvsry.org/.  

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(Admission is Free) 

Interpretive Center open daily from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend 

Huffman Prairie Flying Field open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., closed Wednesdays. Call 937-425-0008 for current information on field closures. 

Location: (Map It) the flying field can be entered at Gate 16A off of State Route 444, Wright-Patterson AFB; the interpretive center is two miles from the field on Wright Brothers Hill, 2380 Memorial Road, Dayton, OH, 45433, close to the intersection of State Route 444 and Kaufmann Road. 

Phone: 937-425-0008

On this 84-acre patch of rough pasture outside Dayton, the Wright brothers learned to control and maneuver their powered machine and taught themselves to fly during 1904 and 1905. It was also the site of the Wrights’ flying school where many of the world’s first pilots learned how to fly. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990, the Flying Field is located on an active military installation and subject to unannounced closure; however this “School House of Aviation” is open to the public most days. Visitors are urged to call 937-425-0008 for current information on field closures. Two miles away is the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center across from the Wright Brothers Memorial. Exhibits focus on the Wright brothers' development of the world's first practical airplane at Huffman Prairie, their flying school starting in 1910, and the development of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the continuing legacy of the Wright brothers.

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Great Lakes Historical Society
(Admission - $6) 

Open all year, Monday thru Sunday 10 am – 5 pm (Closed: Christmas, New Years Day, July 4 and Thanksgiving)

Location: (Map It) 480 Main Street ● Vermilion, OH  44089

Phone – 800-893-1485 or 440-967-3467

Come and learn about the history of the Great Lakes through interactive exhibits, hands on experiences, maritime art gallery, shipwreck artifacts, and over thirty ship models on display.  Children from ages 3 to 103 are invited to steer a 464’ freighter down the Cuyahoga River, operate a steam engine, or stand on the bridge of the Canopus.  The museum is housed in the Wakefield home on the lake and this makes for a spectacular visit to the Ohio coast of Lake Erie.  Come join in a journey you will never forget.

Printout: Inland Seas Maritime Museum and Great Lakes Historical Society

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(Admission is Free)  

This museum is dedicated to the historic accomplishments made by women pioneers of air and space travel. Some of the great women recognized at this museum include Sally Ride - the first American woman in space, Katharine Wright – sister of the Wright brothers, and Valentina Tereshkova – the first woman to orbit the Earth. In addition, there are many personal artifacts of great women in flight as well as some personal memos by these women. A number of news copy, magazines, and speech manuscripts are also displayed.

Printout: International Womens Air and Space Museum

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Admission: $6 adults, $5 seniors (& groups of 10 or more), $3 students of all ages, $2 students in organized groups,
free for children not yet in school, teachers, leaders, advisors, bus drivers 

The mission of the site is to to tell the story of 20th Century American History through the lives of John & Annie Glenn and to create educational programs for learners of all ages. On the main floor of the home, visitors are treated to a living history tour.  Actors in costume will greet you at the door and take you through the house as though it were the day you visit, only in 1944.  At that time, we were in the midst of WWII and John Glenn, among many, many others were away from their homes, fighting for our country.  They talk about life on the Home Front and the sacrifices that were made to help with the war effort.  Also, you will see John Glenn's bedroom and some of his childhood toys (tricycle, train set, sled) in addition to displays on his military career, the space program, and his political life.

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(Admission: Call for details)


Experience a nostalgic train ride on the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad through the countryside in Southwestern, Ohio. The LM&M Railroad invites you to reminisce and capture moments with family. Walk to the back of the train to the open-air gondola for panoramic views. Informative conductors describe railroad history and operation.  Inquire about weekend special events. Highlights include:, Easter Bunny Express, Civil War Train, All Steamed Up – The Great Train Robbery (featuring a real work steam engine), Day Out With Thomas, Pumpkin Patch Express and North Pole Express. Bring kids, grandparents, camera, and a picnic, or grab a hotdog at our snack bar located in car 3 during the ride. Enjoy meaningful history you can see, hear, smell and touch every train ride on the LM&M Railroad.

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(Admission is FREE)  

This outdoor display features the following which are also under lights after dark:

Printout: Lincoln Park Railway Exhibit

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(Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for children) 

This museum offers a “hands on” approach to the history of railroading.  The museum also features an extensive gift shop where anything from vintage hats to railroad videos can be purchased.  The museum offers a picnic shelter located in the former LS and MS passenger depot areas.  In addition to the displays already housed in the museum the former Bellevue Monument Works now houses some of the displays, wooden cars, and video viewing areas.

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(Admission: $8 adults, $7 seniors (ages 60+) and $5 children (ages 6-12)

The museum offers a wide array of exhibits from the first air ships, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam to the present day.  Over 22 aircraft adorn this unique museum, ranging from the 1908 Martin Glider, the first heavier-than-air aircraft to carry a woman aloft, to the massive F-14 Tomcat, made famous by the movie Top Gun.  This is a hands-on museum allowing visitors to sit in a Russian Mig-17 fighter, control a World War II anti-aircraft gun, tour a Goodyear blimp gondola and more.  Active restoration projects allow visitors to witness planes being brought back to life, including several Cold War era fighters, and one of the last World War II B-26 Marauders bombers known to exist.  Many artifacts, uniforms and original artwork adorn this attraction.  In addition, there is a large gift shop.  Handicap accessible, and Guided or Self-Guided tours available.  Group Rates apply for tours of 15 people or more.

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(Admission is Free)  

The Marion Union Station sees more than 100 trains pass by every day. The museum showcases an impressive collection of memorabilia and the AC Tower, which was once the main switching facility for the Erie Railroad Marion Division. The unusual nature of the station is the fact that it is located between two diamond cross-overs.

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(Admission is Free)  

All aboard! Make this a whistle-stop and see plenty of railroad memorabilia. The museum features running exhibits of model trains, interactive children’s exhibits, real train exhibits, model cars and airplanes dating back to 1900, toys, dolls and more. In addition, there are more than 500 actual train engines on display and a library containing more than 500 books about trains.

Printout: Medina Toy and Train Museum

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(Admission varies)  

These guests of the NASA Glenn Research Center are touring a wind tunnel.
Tests conducted in wind tunnels increase flight safety, improve aircraft performance and protect the environment

You may think you have “the right stuff” but until you tour NASA, you won’t know for sure. Public facility tours are offered on the select Saturdays year-round.  These include the zero gravity research facility, wind tunnels, and space simulation chambers.  Tours include a visit to the NASA Gift Shop where you can pick up a special souvenir or NASA apparel. 

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(Admission: $10 Adults, $8 Seniors, $5 AMA Members, $3 Students 12-17, Free to kids under 12) 

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One can almost hear the resonating sound of revving motors while passing by the more than 200 motorcycles on display at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, home to an impressive collection of motorcycles and memorabilia.  The Museum tells the exciting stories of motorcycling by creating rotating exhibitions covering a wide range of topics featuring many motorcycles borrowed from the foremost collectors in North America.  There are three main galleries showcasing machines of every description and age – from the board-trackers and streamliners of the sport’s early days, to competition Superbikes and motocrossers of the modern era.  Spindly motorized bicycles from the turn of the century keep company with today’s championship-winning racers.  

The Hall of Fame recognizes the great racers, inventors, promoters, designers, enthusiasts and journalists who have made our sport so exciting by placing the people and their machines in the context of their time and place in the history of motorcycling. The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum offers excitement and education for everyone, with unique exhibits showcasing some of the most elegant and remarkable designs and technologies from motorcycling’s past and present.  Come see why motorcycles have long been on the cutting edge of transportation and motorsports.

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(Admission is Free)  

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is the world's oldest and largest military aviation museum. Attracting more than 1 million visitors a year, the museum boasts more 400 aerospace vehicles and thousands of historical items. Sensory rich exhibits, hands-on educational programs and entertaining special events entice the imagination and bring the Air Force story to life. From the Wright brothers through the stealth age, the museum offers visitors a dynamic tour through the portals of aviation history. Highlights include the only permanent public display of a B-2 bomber, President Kennedy's Air Force One, a Doolittle Raiders exhibit and much more. Also available are an IMAX Theatre, a souvenir shop and a café. Museum admission and parking are FREE. For more information, visit the museum's web site at  www.nationalmuseum.af.mil or call (937) 255-3286.

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(Admission: $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for seniors (65+) and children (ages 7-12). Free to members)

The museum collection contains artifacts and photographs related to the Packard family, Packard Electric and the Packard Motor Car Company. Vehicles on display include two rare early 1950s Packard Pan Americans, a 1911 Packard Flying Squad Car Fire Truck along with other vehicles on display dating back to the 1903 single cylinder Packard. The gift shop sells clothing, books, videos, photos, jewelry, and memorabilia.

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(Admission varies by event) 

Serving motorsports fans since 1964, National Trail Raceway is an NHRA Drag Racing facility with an extensive schedule of weekly racing and special events, highlighted by the World’s Largest single-make event, The Mopar Nationals. Luxury suites, group ticket specials and corporate hospitality allow us to tailor your visit to your needs. Located just 20 minutes from Columbus and just 2 miles from the I-70/Rt.37 interchange, access to National Trail Raceway is quick and easy.  

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Admission: Adults, 8.00; Children, ages 6-12, $4.00; School groups, $3.00 per student. Free admission to: Ohio Historical Society members and children 5 and under. AAA and senior discounts available. Groups of 20 people or more receive a discount on admission Motor coach driver and one tour leader – free admission.


·         Open: Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5:00 p.m.; Holidays, noon to 5:00 p.m.; and Mondays between Memorial Day and Labor Day only, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

·         Location: (Map It) 500 South Apollo Drive, Wapakoneta, OH. Located just west of I-75 at exit 111 (Bellefontaine Street) in Wapakoneta, Auglaize County

·         Phone: 419-738-8811 or 800-860-0142


Named in honor of Neil Armstrong, first man to step onto the moon, this museum located in his hometown portrays Ohio’s contributions to the history of space flight. It opened in 1972. On display are an F5D Sky Lancer, the Gemini VIII spacecraft, Apollo 11 artifacts and moon rock. In the Astrotheater multimedia presentations of space travel are unveiled. The site offers varied educational programs for school children. Tour guides are available with advance notice.


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(Train Fare Applies; Admission to Special Events) 

·         Open Memorial Day - Labor Day weekends only (Sat. 5pm - 8pm and Sun. 1pm - 4pm). Call for special events planned every September, Hallowee, and Christmas seasons

·         Location:  (Map It) 11600 County Road 99 in Findlay, Ohio

·         Phone:  419-423-2995 

It is operated by an all-volunteer 501(C)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to railroad preservation, promotion, and education.  Take a train ride powered by a restored quarter-scale, coal-burning, live-steam Engine 901 around a 1/2 mile of 15" gauge track; only $1.00 per passenger.  Tours of a 1920s era B&O caboose are the first Sunday of the month, April thru September. The railroad museum is nearing completion; in addition to railroad artifacts and memorabilia it will include an HO model train layout as well as Lionel toy trains.  A conference room and/or kid's birthday room is available for rent.  Outside static displays include a 1950s Plymouth switcher and a 19th century wooden boxcar, both slated for future restoration. 

Special events:  Flag City Train Show in the spring, Tracks To The Past in September, Pumpkin Train in October, Train of Terror & Haunted Engine House in October (special evening hours), North Pole Express in December.  Call for details.

Printout: Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation, Inc. 

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(Admission is $6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children 4-12, children under 3 are free) 

Visitors can take a one mile ride on one of the museum’s streetcars or interurbans.  They can also take a history lesson on the electric rail transportation and its effects on the lives of those living in America and the economic growth of the country during the first half of the 20th century.  Demonstrations on the various designs of equipment are given.  Visitors can also take a tour of the Post Office Car where mail clerks had to process mail from city to city while it was being transported.  The museum is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the oldest railway museums in the country.

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(Admission varies depending on the event attended) 

·         Open: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, from 12p.m to 4p.m.

·         Location: (Map It) 145 Depot Street in Orrville, OH 44667

·         Phone: 330-683-2426

This society offers historic facts about trains; many train pictures, and much information on Ohio’s railway heritage.  Visitors will be able to tour many historic train cars and even some engines including an F-7 ABB diesel locomotive.  The society also owns and offers tours of the interlocking tower that controlled the junction.

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(Admission is Free)

This local history museum features its railroad roots. It has a room primarily full of B&O railroad memorabilia. Kids will enjoy the restored caboose and its furnishings plus the boxcar on display. In addition, a limited view of the train yard operation can be seen.

Printout: Railroad and Willard Ohio Historical Society

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(Admission: $3.50, Seniors $3 & Kids $2 ages 5-17)  

·         Open: Closed until 2016
April 2 – October 23 10 am - 5pm Wed, Thr & Fri and 12 pm - 6 pm Sat & Sun (Closed Mon & Tue)

·         Location: (Map It) 200 Greenlawn ● Columbus, Ohio 43223

·         Phone: 614-645-8760

Tour the world's most authentic, museum-quality replica of Christopher Columbus' flagship – Santa Maria. Guided tours dramatize the daring and determination it took for these explorers to set out on their mission. Fascinating displays show the far-ranging impact of the encounter of two worlds that existed in 1492.

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(Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors (65 & over), and $4 for children (12 & under) 

Housed in a 1940s-style Texaco service station, visitors may view cars from the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. The museum also contains a large collection of "automobilia" from the years past.  The facility houses a four-bay shop for fixing and maintaining classic cars, as well as a warehouse for storing collector cars.  Snook's Dream Cars can also be rented for banquets, parties, and special events. 

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The SS. Willis B. Boyer was rechristened to its original
SS. Col. James M. Schoonmaker after a complete restoration

(Admission: $7/adult and $6 for kids and seniors. Group discounts - Call admission info)  

If you are in Northwest Ohio, a Great Lakes museum ship awaits –
the S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker, formerly the S.S. Willis B. Boyer, originally the S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker wads once known as the “Queen of the Lake Freighters.” It served for 69 years, built in 1911 and retired in 1980. It opened on the East shore of the Maumee River across from downtown Toledo in 1987. The tour is a fascinating history lesson of Great Lakes shipping. It features the quarters of crew and captain, the officers dining room, kitchen and crew eating counter along with the cavernous center hull, pilot house, boiler room, and much more including memorabilia, photography and artifacts.

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(Admission: $ Call for admission info)  

Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor at the East 9th Pier is best known for its Rock Hall but visitors find its heavy metal neighbor an interesting diversion. 

Gracing the waters of the Great Lakes for 55 years, the Steamship William G. Mather retired in 1980 and opened as a museum ship in 1990 – one of only four Great Lakes vessels designated as a National Historic Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 

Visitors are fascinated with what they see on the tour of the historic vessel, which is four stories high, longer than two football fields and carried 14,000 tons of cargo. It progressed throughout time with updates to keep it modernized in a rapidly changing world since its christening in 1925. Originally a coal-powered ship, it converted to oil in 1954 and used more than 25 gallons per mile. Later, it was the first on the Great Lakes to incorporate automated controls that were computer operated.  

The tour lets guests see and feel first hand what life on this shipping relic was once like. It features the cramped crew quarters to the stately captains quarters. A captivating view of Cleveland’s skyline come high atop the pilot house where maps, radio beacon and other instruments once guided the ship through stormy Lake Erie weather enroute from Cleveland to Detroit. Other points of interest include the galley, enclosed observation lounge, and hands-on displays depicting Great Lakes maritime history. 

Printout: Steamship William G. Mather Museum

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USS COD (SS-224)
(Call for admission fees)

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·         Open: Daily from May through September

·         Location: (Map It) North Marginal Drive & East 9th Street ● Cleveland, OH 44114

·         Phone: 216-566-8770

Operating from Australian ports during World War II, Cod is a World War II era GATO class fleet submarine. The 312 foot, 1,525–ton submarine, was launched on March 21, 1943 and was commissioned on June 21, 1943.  Her five diesel engines were built in Cleveland, Ohio.  Cod received a battle star for each of her seven war patrols, and sank more than 12 enemy vessels totally more than 37,000 tons, and damaging another 36,000 tons of enemy shipping, including the Japanese destroyer Karukaya.  It was on Cod’s seventh and final war patrol that she was honored for performing the only international submarine-to-submarine rescue in history. In the South China Sea she came to the aid of the Dutch Submarine O-19 which had grounded on the coral reef outcropping.  After rescuing the 56 Dutch sailors the two captains decided there was no hope freeing the sub. It was destroyed by the Cod and the rescued sailors were delivered to the recently liberated Subic Bay naval base. The Cod is now docked in Lake Erie in Cleveland, and is maintained and operated as a memorial those submarine sailors who have lost their lives during the United States history.  Because of her unique status as the very last unmodified U.S submarine from the WWII era she has been named a National Historic Landmark.

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$6.00 for adults, $3.00 for 7-17, 6 and below free.)

Whether the sky was filled with the drone of bi-planes or the silent shadow of gliders this aircraft company figured largely in the history of Troy as it made history in the world. Find out who, how and what.  Open by appointment and for scheduled events.

Printout: WACO Museum and Aviation Learning Center

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(Admission is Free)  

There is no charge for visitors to come see the Wright B Flyer aircraft in its hanger at the Dayton - Wright Brothers Airport. This aircraft is a flight worthy look-a-like of the 1911 Wright B Flyer, the first mass produced aircraft. Purchase a Honorary Aviator annual Membership for $100 and receive an orientation flight in the Wright B Flyer. The museum is operated completely by volunteers.

Printout: The Wright B Flyer

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at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park  
(Admission is Free)  

Visitors are free to see where two of the world’s most famous inventors labored in their craft. Two buildings where the Wright brothers worked at their cycle and printing businesses are still standing in their original locations and are open to the public. Their restored printing businesses, where they worked from 1890 – 1895, can be seen in the exhibit area of the Hoover block. They had five different bicycle shops, this being the fourth location. The restored building was home to the Wright’s bicycle business from 1895 – 1897. It is where they were when they became obsessed with flying. And from there, these men, self-trained in the science of aviation, went on to build the world’s first manned powered, heavier than air machine capable of free, controlled and sustained flight. The Wright Cycle Company is a unit of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.

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(Admission: $8 for adults 18-59, $7 for Seniors 60+, $5 for children 3-17, Dayton History Members are Free)

The world's first practical airplane, the 1905 Wright Flyer III, built by the Wright brothers and flown at Huffman Prairie outside Dayton, Ohio, is the centerpiece exhibit. The Wright Flyer III is the only airplane designated a National Historic Landmark (1990) and a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark (2003). The aviation center is located within Carillon Historical Park, which tells the story of Dayton as a city of creativity and innovation.

Printout: Wright Brothers Aviation Center

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(Admission: $11.50 adults & $6.00 children 7-17)

This world class facility is a fitting tribute to Ernest “Mooney” Warther, World’s Master Carver. Warther created a collection of steam locomotives carved of ebony and ivory which have been appraised as priceless by the Smithsonian Institution. The carvings are displayed in a beautiful Swiss chalet which includes a new theater handcrafted of solid curly maple. You will also experience new displays, and the expanded knife making & wood shop. Freida Warther’s Button House is still a sight to see and in the summer the Swiss gardens are magnificent.  

The original Warther Carving Museum opened three generations ago and has blossomed into an attraction which draws visitors from all over the world. The amazing Warther story is presented by knowledgeable guides and enhanced by films that include family photos and movies of Mooney carving in his shop. Some of the new displays show his traveling years, his love of reading, and commando knives made during World War II.    

Dave Warther, Mooney’s son, or grandson Mark are usually in the lobby greeting visitors and carving souvenir wooden pliers for children. Mooney made the pliers famous by placing 10 interconnecting cuts into a block of wood. Another grandson, Dale, makes the handcrafted kitchen knives. From the knife shop viewing area, you can observe the cutlery and knife blocks being created. The Warther gift shop is operated by Dave’s wife, Joanne, and his daughter Carol. It is the exclusive home of Warther Cutlery. 

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler


When a guy is named Mooney you expect something out of the ordinary.  Mooney Warther would not have been a disappointment. He was witty, funny, gifted, eccentric, ambitious, and entrepreneurial—genius would not adequately describe his stature. 

Ernest “Mooney” Warther was a wood carver extraordinaire.  Terms such as “world’s greatest” or “world’s best” are often used as fictitious hype, but when applied to Mooney’s aptitude with a knife, they are not an exaggeration.  

It’s a quirk of human nature when hearing such exalted claims to believe that such talent is found only in some strange faraway venue. In truth, one of the most skilled artists in history was born, grew up, and plied his trade—largely unnoticed—in our own back yard: Dover, Ohio.  

His father died when Mooney was three, and he acquired only a second grade education that took him four years to complete.  Mooney didn’t have much time for school—he was working.  His cattle herding for a penny a day was the source of his name—an adulterated version of “moonay” from his Swiss heritage that means bull of the herd. 

It was on one of his herding excursions in 1890 at the age of five that he found a pocketknife and began carving.  Mooney said it was a hobo who taught him to cut a pair of pliers from a solid block of wood.  It was a procedure he perfected and claimed as his signature. It is estimated that in his career Mooney made and gave away 750,000 of the little wooden devises.  

By age fourteen he was working in a steel mill but continually carved models of steam locomotives that had enthralled him since early childhood. At one point however, he found time to carve a working model of the mill including an animated figure of his old friend who liked to hide behind a furnace and steal a nip from his flask. 

Mooney carved hard woods like walnut and ebony, and was dissatisfied with store-bought knives that wouldn’t hold an edge.  No doubt aided by his experience at the mill, Mooney researched different types of steel and techniques of tempering and sharpening. He first made a kitchen knife for his mother. It was so good that word spread rapidly, and by 1923 Mooney left the mill and began making knives as a business. 

It was the same year that the New York Central Railroad discovered his locomotive carvings. He was offered fifty thousand dollars, plus five thousand per year to stay with the display. Henry Ford made an even more generous offer, but Mooney declined both.  “My roof doesn’t leak, I’m not hungry, and my wife has all her buttons,” he said.  (His wife was a collector of buttons, which are displayed along with Mooney’s carvings.)   

While Mooney designed his own carving knives, he decided to see how far he could go with his pliers-making expertise.  He started with a large block and hewed one pair after another—all connected, until he had a “tree” of pliers—511 in all that could be folded back recreating the block from which they were fashioned.  It was an exercise in mental dexterity as well as carving skill. Engineering professors from what was then Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland studied the sculpture and proclaimed it was impossible to have been produced in one piece. Yet undeniably, there it was. 

As a young boy I was the recipient of one of Mooney’s pliers.  His bushy snow-white curls bounced, as he talked non-stop in his high-pitched gravelly voice.  He held a four-inch rectangular piece of wood in one hand, and with the other made a series of quick strokes with a short bladed knife. In the matter of about five seconds he opened it, revealing handles hinged to jaws just like a real pair of pliers. My eyes bulged in wonder as he handed it to me, the youngest in the family of viewers.   

But the pliers rate only as a parlor trick compared with his train carvings.  They’re done in exact scale and authentic in minute detail.  Some of them have as many as 7,500 parts:  pipes, rivets, screws, connecting rods, perfectly round wheels—each created on a simple bench with a vise, and Mooney’s carving knives.  Many are equipped with electric motors that turn all the moving parts, held by bearings he made from a Brazilian “oily” wood that never needs lubrication.  As well as wood, he used ivory for some pieces that are almost microscopic. Because of his love for elephants his ivory carvings were mostly from old billiard balls.  Engineers have poured over his models with precision instruments and measuring devises, drawing the same conclusions as most nonprofessional observers: The replicas are so exact that it was not possible for them to have been carved by hand. But they were. 

By the time railroads began phasing out steam engines; Mooney had carved 54 exact-scale counterparts of his favorite iron horses, but swore as long as he lived, he’d never carve a diesel locomotive. 

Instead he began a series of “Great Events in American Railroad History.”  He created a solid ivory rendition of the driving of the golden spike connecting the transcontinental railroad, the great locomotive chase, and the Lincoln funeral train to name a few. He was working on the Lady Baltimore locomotive when he died at eighty-seven, leaving it unfinished.   

All his work can be seen at the museum in Dover, displayed in style worthy of the Smithsonian.     

Mooney’s carvings are so notable as to make the cutlery business seem secondary, although since its inception it has been a foundation of the family business. Mooney taught his sons and grandsons the art of making knives and they continue to this day—every one annealed and hand ground to Mooney’s specifications.   

During the Big War, starting with a single request, Mooney made 1,100 personalized commando knives carried by every rank including Generals. The Warther’s have made special knives and kitchen cutlery for several presidents and numerous dignitaries. Yet the most important contribution of the commercial success was allowing Mooney to pursue his true passion.  

Like one bull in a herd—Mooney Warther had no peer. 

Warther Carvings Museum and Button Collection is located at 331 Karl Avenue in Dover. Call 330-343-7513 or go to www.warthers.com for more information.

By Robert Carpenter
Robert Carpenter was born and raised in the New Philadelphia, Ohio area. He's a freelance writer presently living in Florida.

Printout: Warther Carvings and Gardens

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 Cincinnati Railway's North Pole Express  

Cuyahoga Valley Santa Claus Express

Hocking Valley Santa Trains

 Dennison Railroad Polar Express  North Pole Express


Hocking Valley Scenic Railway Santa Trains in Nelsonville, Ohio

For tickets and information, call 740-249-1452.  

As the train departs, Santa begins his journey through the train of heated coaches and visits with each child, hearing their special requests before the Big Day. Each child also gets to enjoy a candy treat after Santa's visit. Trains operate each Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, and a couple of evening departure. The ride lasts approximately two hours. Reserve ahead of time.

The Dennison Railroad Museum's Polar Express in Dennison, Ohio
For availability, reservations and rates, call
This newly restored railroad station encourages parents to take your family on a journey of a lifetime. Just like The Polar Express book and movie, passengers are seen riding the rails in their pajamas sipping hot chocolate and snacking on cookies. As the storyline unfolds, so do the events aboard this train. Once at the North Pole, Santa hops aboard to meet the children and hand out presents.  

LM&M Railroad's North Pole Express in Lebanon, Ohio
For availability, reservations and rates, call 513-933-8022
Take a ride on a vintage train to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Children will receive a small gift from Santa. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies and entertainment by Santa's elves. Bring kids, grandparents or a friend but don't forget your camera because this event is filled with fun.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's Santa Claus Express and Polar Express in Penninsula, Ohio
For availability, reservations and rates, call 800-468-4070.
The trip is full of fun as kids try to spot reindeer in the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley while they wait for Santa to stop by and visit. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers the Polar Express as well. However, getting tickets for this wonderful trip is very difficult even when planning months in advance. It is done through a mail-in lottery. Tickets are sometimes found through area newspapers as well. Passengers are encouraged to wear pajamas. Cookies and hot-coco are served.

North Pole Express in Findlay, Ohio
For availability, reservations and rates, call 419-423-2995
Ride a quarter-scale train past dazzling holiday lights and decorations.  Watch HO & Lionel train layouts.  Museum beautifully decorated inside. Railroad gift shop.  NOTE:  Free admission and a train ride for active duty service members and their immediate family upon presentation of a valid D.O.D. Identification.

Printout: Ohio Christmas Trains

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