Admission to the Ashtabula Maritime & Surface Transportation Museum (Great Lakes Marine & Coast Guard Memorial Museum) is $4/adult, $3/children 6-16, free for those 6 and younger + free parking.
- Open: Memorial Day weekend thru August, Friday – Sunday, noon until 5:00 pm. During September – open only Saturday and Sunday’s, noon til 5:00 pm. Open Memorial, Independence and Labor Day. Tour buses welcome, handicap access (except “Pilot House”). Schedule Tours for 10 or more anytime entire year. Include in plans for your Family and/or Class Reunion a museum tour – Call 440/964-6847 or 440/997-5370 (9-5 weekdays)
- Location: (Map It) 1071 Walnut Blvd. in Ashtabula, Ohio –1546 on Ohio North Coast, overlooks harbor, Lake Erie.
- Phone: 440-964-6847
- Web: ashtabulamarinemuseum.org/
The Ashtabula Maritime & Surface Transportation Museum (Great Lakes Marine & Coast Guard Memorial Museum: 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.
Admission to the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum is $4/adult and $2/senior and child.
The Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum: 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.
Admission to the Canton Classic Car Museum is $7.50/adult, $6/senior, $5 for children 6-18, and free for children under 6.
The Canton Classic Car 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.
Admission to the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum is $8.50/adult, $7.50/senior and $5.00/students.
The Crawford Auto & Aviation Museum at the Western Reserve Historical Society in downtown Cleveland, Ohio 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.
Admission to the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum is $8.00/adult, $6.00/senior, $4.00/student (7-17) and kids under 7 are free.
- Open: Tuesday — Friday 10a.m. – 5p.m., Saturday 11a.m. – 4p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 3p.m.
- Location: (Map It) 400 Center St. in Dennison, Ohio
- Phone: 740-922-6776
- Web: Click here
The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum: Return to a time when America’s Greatest Generation saw 1.3 million servicemen stop at the trackside canteen in Dennison, Ohio: A town that earned its friendly service offering a free cup of coffee and a sandwich to all the servicemen. At the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, you can find a great mix of WWII Canteen stories and tales of the railroad in an area where the trains made the town! Enjoy the museum, gift shop, theatre and picnic area at this whistle stop.
Ohio’s EnterTRAINment Junction is home to the world’s largest indoor train display.
Visit Entertrainment’s web at
Click to Play Video of 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Check the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway web site below for fares and excursions along this Ohio scenic railway featuring themed and seasonal train rides in Southwest Ohio.
- Location: (Map It) The Depot in Nelsonville contains the ticket office, and it is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 33 and Hocking Parkway (Fulton Street), behind the Rocky Outdoor Gear Outlet Store at 33 E. Canal Street on U.S. Route 33 in Nelsonville, Ohio
- Phone: 740-249-1452
- Web: www.hvsry.org
- Play Video
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/.
Welcome to Lake Erie Sailing School.
Learn to sail on Lake Erie. Lake Erie Sailing School is the premier sailing company on Lake Erie. Operating from Sandusky, Ohio, they offer sailing lessons, bareboat sailing charters and day excursions aboard luxury sailing yachts from May through October. Join them and sail gorgeous Lake Erie!
Admission to the National Museum of The Great Lakes & Great Lakes Historical Society is $8.
- Open all year, Tue – Sat from 10 am – 5 pm and Sun from 12 pm to 5pm (Closed major holidays)
- Location: (Map It) 1701 Front St. in Toledo, Ohio
- Phone: 419-214-5000
- Web: http://www.inlandseas.org/
The National Museum of The Great Lakes & Great Lakes Historical Society: 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. Come join in a journey you will never forget.
Admission to the John & Annie Glenn Historic Site: $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.
- Open mid April – mid October Wed. – Sat. (10 – 4) Sun. (1 – 4). Will open for groups by appointment
- Location: (Map It) 72 W. Main St. in New Concord, Ohio
- Phone: 740-826-3305
- Web: http://johnglennhome.org/museum/
The mission of the John & Annie Glenn Historic 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.
Train fares at Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad (LM&M RR) are posted at the web site seen below.
- When: Most Saturdays and Sundays from Easter to Christmas (and select weekdays for One Hour Train Rides too!)
- Where: (Map It) 127 S. Mechanic St. in Lebanon, Ohio
- Phone: 513-933-8022
- Web: www.LebanonRR.com
The Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad (LM&M RR): 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.
Admission to the MadRiver Railroad Museum is $7/adult, $6/senior, and $4child.
- Open: Daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. (During May, September, and October the museum is open only on weekends)
- Location: (Map It) 253 Southwest Street in Bellevue, Ohio
- Phone: 419-483-2222
- Web: www.madrivermuseum.org/
The MadRiver Railroad Museum in Bellevue 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.
Admission to MAPS Air Museum is $10/adult, $9/senior (ages 60+) and $6 children (ages 6-12).
- Open Tue – Sat from 9am – 4:30pm, Sun from 11:30am – 4pm and closed on Mon.
- Location: (Map It) MAPS Air Museum at 2260 International Parkway in North Canton, Ohio
- Phone: 330-896-6332
- Web: http://mapsairmuseum.org/
MAPS Air Museum in North Canton, Ohio is the home to the Military Aviation Preserve Society. It 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, it now houses the collection of the Ohio Military Museum. There is also a large gift shop. Handicap accessible, and Guided or Self-Guided tours available. Group Rates apply for tours of 15 people or more.
Admission to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum is $10/adult, $8/senior, $5/AMA Member, $3/student 12-17, and free to kids under 12.
- Open: Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Location: (Map It) 13515 Yarmouth Drive in Pickerington, OH 43147
- Phone: 614-856-2222
- Web: www.motorcyclemuseum.org/
The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum: 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.
Admission to the National Packard Museum is $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for seniors (65+) and children (ages 7-12). Free to members.
- Open: Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Closed Mondays and holidays.
- Location: (Map It) 1899 Mahoning Avenue NW in Warren, Ohio
- Phone: 330-394-1899
- Web: http://www.packardmuseum.org/
The National Packard 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.
Admission to National Trail Raceway varies by event.
The National Trail Raceway: 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.
Admission to the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta: 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, Ohio
- Phone: 419-738-8811 or 800-860-0142
- Web: www.armstrongmuseum.org/
The Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta: 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.
The Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation current train fares and special events are found through the web link below.
- 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
- Web: http://www.nworrp.org/
Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation, Inc. 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.
Ohio Holiday Train Rides and Christmas Trains:
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 740-922-6776.
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.
Admission to the Ohio Railway Museum is $8/adult, $7/senior, $6 children 4-12, and children under 3 are free.
- Open: Late May thru late September on Sundays 1p.m. – 5p.m.
- Location: (Map It) 990 Proprietors Road in Worthington, Ohio
- Phone: 614-885-7345
- Web: www.ohiorailwaymuseum.org/
At the Ohio Railway Museum, 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.
Admission to Orrville Railroad Heritage Society varies depending on the event.
- Open: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, from 12p.m to 4p.m.
- Location: (Map It) 145 Depot Street in Orrville, Ohio
- Phone: 330-683-2426
- Web: www.orrvillerailroad.com/
The Orrville Railroad Heritage 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.
Admission to Snook’s Dream Cars Auto Museum is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors (65 & over), and $4 for children (12 & under).
Snook’s Dream Cars Auto Museum: 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.
The S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship – formerly the SS. Willis B. Boyer – was rechristened to its original name after a complete restoration. Admission is $7/adult and $6 for kids and seniors. Group discounts – Call admission info.
- Open: Usually Fri – Sun from Memorial Day to Labor Day but call to confirm hours of operation
- Location: (Map It) International Park in Toledo, Ohio
- Phone: 419-936-3070
- Web: http://www.inlandseas.org/
S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship: 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, and originally the S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker was 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.
Admission to the Steamship William G. Mather Museum is $8/adult, $7/senior and $6/child ages 5-13. Free for younger children.
- Open: May – October but call for days and hours of operation.
- Location: (Map It) 1001 East 9th Street Pier in Cleveland, Ohio
- Phone: 216-574-6262
- Web: Click here
The Steamship William G. Mather Museum: Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor at the East 9th Pier is best known for its Rock Hall and Science Center 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.
Admission to the USS Cod Submarine in Cleveland is $12/adult, $10/senior and $7/child (ages 5 – 16).
The USS Cod Submarine in Cleveland: 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.
Admission to the WACO Museum & Aviation Learning Center is $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for 7-17, 6 and younger free.
- Open: March – December from 8am – 1:30pm Monday – Friday and Noon – 5pm Saturday and Sunday
- Location: (Map It) 1865 S. County Rd. 25A in Troy, Ohio
- Phone: 937-335-WACO (9226)
- Web: www.wacoairmuseum.org/
The WACO Museum at WACO Field in Troy: 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.
This active air field has special events every year. The museum showcases restored WACO aircraft and features memorabilia from the company and times inside a climate controlled hangar.
The Glider Theatre is a one-of-a-kind scale replica of the original WACO CG4A glider that was designed by the WACO Factory and chosen by the military to use in WW II. Visitors can sit inside the glider (like the troops did) and watch a video of the manufacturing process and the actual performance of the glider in the Europe & Asian sites. The WACO Factory in Troy produced over 1,000 of the CG4A, while additional gliders were manufactured at locations all over the country.
Admission to Warther Carvings & Gardens is $13 adults & $5.00 children 7-17.
- Open in January & February, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the last guided tour starting at 3 p.m.. (closed Sundays). Starting in March Warthers will be open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. with the last guided tour starting at 4 p.m.
- Location: (Map It) 331 Karl Ave. in Dover, Ohio
- Phone: 330-343-7513
- Web: http://www.warthers.com/
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The Warther Carvings & Gardens in Dover: 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
CARVING A SPECIAL NICHE IN LIFE
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.
Admission to the Blessing of the Fleet is free.
- When: Usually in April
- Location: (Map It) Put-in-Bay, Ohio
- Phone: 419-285-2832
The Blessing of the Fleet in Put-In-Bay: 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.
Admission to the Champaign Aviation Museum is Free.
- Open: Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.
- Location: (Map It) 1652 N Main Street at Grimes Field Airport in Urbana, Ohio
- Phone: 937-652-4710
- Web: Click here
Welcome to the Champaign Aviation Museum in Urbana, Ohio. See volunteers rebuild historic aircraft like the “Champaign Lady” B-17 WWII Bomber. You can even try your hand at being “Rosie the Riveter.” See this aircraft and the “Champaign Gal” B-25, A-26 Invader, C-45 Expeditor, Fairchild F-24 and a Civil Air Patrol plane that sank a German sub off the U.S. East Coast. It also features special exhibits such as Women Air Service Pilots and World War II artifacts. It’s an up-close and personal hands-on experience all in an open hangar. You can even sit in the cockpit of a C-47 cargo plane. Grimes Field Airport and restaurant are just down the tarmac. Come, help make these old warbirds fly again.
Admission to the Depot Museum is free.
- Open on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Location: (Map It) 145 South Depot St. in Orrville, Ohio
- Phone: 330-683-2426
- Web: Click here
The Depot 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.
Admission to the Harrod Railroad Heritage Park is free.
The Harrod Railroad Heritage Park: 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.
Admission to the Huffman Prairie Flying Field and Interpretive Center is free.
- The Interpretive Center is 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 is 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 at 2380 Memorial Road in Dayton, Ohio, close to the intersection of State Route 444 and Kaufmann Road.
- Phone: 937-425-0008 (call ahead in case of field closures)
- Web: Click here
The Huffman Prairie Flying Field and Interpretive Center in Dayton: 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.
Admission to the International Womens’ Air & Space Museum in Cleveland is free.
The International Womens Air & Space 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.
Admission to Lincoln Park Railway Exhibit is free.
- Can be viewed anytime from behind fence
- Location: (Map It) East Elm Street in Lima, Ohio
- Phone: 419-222-9426
The Lincoln Park Railway Exhibit is an outdoor display featuring the following which are also under lights after dark:
- The last steam engine built at Lima Locomotive Works (Locomotive NKP # 779)
- 1883 luxury private car (officiall car #5) for NKP probably used by Chauncy DePew
- 1882 Nickle-plated caboose #1091
- and authentic 1895 Country Station by DT&I Railroad
Admission to the Marion Union Station is free.
- Open Tuesday & Thursday’s 10:00 am to 2:00 pm or by appointment.
- Location: (Map It) Marion, Ohio
- Phone: 740-383-3768
- Web: Click here
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.
Admission to the Medina Toy and Train Museum is free.
- Open: Monday thru Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 pm
- Location: (Map It) 7 Public Square in Medina, Ohio
- Phone: 330-764-4455
- Web: www.ormandys.com/index.htm
The Medina Toy and Train Museum: 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.
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
- Open: Daily from 10:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.
- Location: (Map It) is at the Great Lakes Science Center – 601 Erieside Ave. in Cleveland, Ohio (Between Browns Stadium and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum)
- Phone: (216) 694-2000
- Web: Click here
The NASA Glenn Research Center Tours: 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.
Admission to the Northern Ohio Railway Museum is by donation.
- Open: Saturdays 10am – 4pm from the 3rd Saturday in May to the last Saturday in October
- Location: (Map It) 5515 Buffham Rd. in Seville, Ohio
- Phone: 330-769-5501
- Web: Click Here
The Northern Ohio Railway Museum features over 40 trolley cars, streetcars, interurbans, rapid transit cars and more. Enthusiasts and volunteers work diligently to restore and preserve these beautiful old streetcars and railway equipment for education and entertainment. It is a work in progress and quite a site to see. Tour the two enormous carhouses and see what moved greater Cleveland through the years. There’s even a three-mile demonstration railroad where – during special events – these relics ride the rails once again with passengers eager to capture that feeling of Yesteryear.
Admission to the Railroad Depot Museum is free.
- Open Memorial Day – Call to set up an appointment between Memorial Day and Labor Day on Sundays
from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Location: (Map It) 542 South Main Street in Willard, Ohio
- Phone: 419-935-0791
The Railroad Depot 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.
Admission to the Wright “B” Flyer is free.
See a Wright “B” Flyer lookalike aircraft in its hanger at the Dayton – Wright Brothers Airport. This aircraft is a flight worthy version of the 1911 Wright “B” Flyer, the first mass produced aircraft. Purchase an Honorary Aviator annual Membership for $100 and receive an orientation flight in the Wright B Flyer. The museum is operated completely by volunteers.
Admission to the Wright Cycle Company is free.
- Open: Open daily 9am – 5pm (Closed Mon & Tue from Nov thru Feb)
- Location: (Map It) 16 S. Williams St. in Dayton, Ohio
- Phone: 937-225-7705
- Web: Click here
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The Wright Cycle Company building is just outside of the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center in Dayton, Ohio. 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 at their original locations here and are open to the public. Their restored printing businesses, where they worked from 1890 – 1895, can be seen at the adjacent Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center. The Wrights 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.
Admission to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton is free.
- Open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day)
- Location: (Map It) Wright-Patterson Air Force Base ● Dayton, Ohio
- Phone: 937-255-3286
- Web: www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/
The National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton 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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