STANDOUTS in OHIO TOURISM

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These are Ohio’s best attractions and top destinations in Ohio and have been awarded as standouts in tourism by OhioTraveler.com.

  • Dennison Railroad Depot Museum is a standout in tourism and in history. This is one heck of a whistle stop! The depot is incredible. It’s like buying a ticket to a bygone era. And then you wander through the museum which is housed in one train car after another stretching down the track in what has to be one of the longest museums around. But that’s not all, this depot is special. The G.I. generation saw 1.3 million servicemen stop at the track side canteen in Dennison, Ohio. This town 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! Click here for more information.

  • Clifton Mill  and its 200+ years of finely aged beauty stands the test of time and enchants its visitors on a number of levels. Tour all five floors of the historic mill. Relax to the gentle sounds of the old mill wheel and the soft rhythm of the water gently cascading over the falls. Gaze at the covered bridge. Hike the scenic Clifton Gorge. Inside, treat yourself to some great home-style cooking at The Millrace Restaurant. The atmosphere is unmatched and the view is simply hypnotizing. The menu and gift shop include fresh delights made fresh right there at the mill. You won’t want to leave without a keepsake from a bygone era. Complete information is available at http://www.cliftonmill.com/.
  • Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati is FREE! And it hits the mark when it says it impacts communities by providing changing arts experiences that challenge, entertain and educate. There is regular changing over of exhibitions throughout this architectural gem called the best new building since the Cold War by the New York Times. Yes, it’s a piece of art in its own right both inside and out and on every floor. A variety of mediums are sure to electrify the senses and forge great conversation. It is a place of genius, innovation and inspiration. And regularly, a whole new world rotates in calling you back for a revisit. Learn more at contemporaryartscenter.org/.
  • The American Sign Museum is all about signs—signs—everywhere signs …and from every era, too. This one-of-a-kind destination features the rich tradition of sign design and displays vintage signs from 1900 to present. Venture through time and see old wooden, handmade signs turn to gold leaf and glass, light bulbs to neon lights and other techniques that advertise a bygone age. The museum has five main sections dedicated to the different eras of this artistic craft and includes an indoor main street with full-size storefronts and canopy of captivating signs everywhere you look. Click here to see a video feature. To visit, get details here.
  • Great Mohican Pow-Wow is a national standout in Native American Pow-Wows. It features accomplished musicians, custom dancing and colorful ceremonial dress. Adding to its authenticity, the event is nestled in secluded wooded hills creating the perfect backdrop to this beautiful annual celebration. Entertainment dazzles with fire-starters, tomahawk throwers, storytellers, hoop dancers, colorful ceremonial dress and more. In addition, there are Native American foods to enjoy and original creations by more than 40 traders, artisans and crafters. These wares include pottery, bead working, quill working, fur trading, wood and bone carving, leather work, basket weaving, clothes making and jewelry. Click here to play a video showcasing the Pow-Wow. Complete information is available at http://www.mohicanpowwow.com/.  
  • Duck Tape Festival is perhaps the most genius idea for Fathers’ Day weekend that ever dawned on man. Avon, Ohio showcases duct tape in all forms including art, sculptures, fashion and more.  It is a celebration for all of the wacky and fun uses one could imagine for using duct tape. The festival honors the history and heritage of the city that is proclaimed the “Duct Tape Capital” of the world, home of Duck® brand duct tape.  Rides, games and food are a part of this annual event which kicks off with a duct tape parade! Complete information is available at www.ducktapefestival.com/.
  • COSI – Center of Science & Industry – is a standout in Ohio but is also one of the most respected science centers in the nation. It makes science fun with hands-on discovery and has done so for decades! COSI features more than 300 interactive exhibits throughout ten themed exhibition areas including Ocean, Space, Gadgets, Life, little kidspace®, Progress, Adventure, Innovation Showcase, its outdoor Big Science Park and WOSU@COSI. Beyond the exhibits, you’ll find COSI’s hair-raising Electrostatic Generator Show, a High-Wire Unicycle, the National Geographic Giant Screen Theater, Science 2Go! retail store and the Atomicafe’ restaurant. COSI also hosts world-class traveling exhibitions from other museums throughout the year. For more information, visit http://cosi.org/.
  • Bear’s Mill is to the art community what flour is to baking. This standout in Ohio tourism has been around since 1849. And it is still operational today. The four story grist mill stands strong with its weathered look wearing its history in plain sight. Its photogenic features, inside and out have drawn national attention. Its shop – the Mill Market – and special events have drawn fans from near and far. Visitors are treated with history, food and art. Exhibits rotate photography, paintings, pottery and sculpture. Tours and demonstrations are available year round. Click here for more information.
  • Historic Sauder Village is a standout in Ohio history. This has been a family favorite stop for many over the years. Known as Ohio’s largest living-history village, you are invited to take a step back in time. Authenticity abounds with costumed guides and craftsmen at work. Plenty of hands-on experiences await. In addition to its rich history, it also has delicious food inside the 150 year old Barn Restaurant and dessert at the Doughbox Bakery. Take a stroll through the Village’s 40 shops and historic homes. Spend the night at the campground or in the 98-room country inn. Throughout the year, there are wonderful special events. Click here for more information. 
  • African Safari Wildlife Park: This drive through wildlife park in Port Clinton, Ohio is an experience like none other. This Ohio standout has been creating fantastic memories for families generation after generation. The 100 acre preserve allows you to watch and feed animals from your car. Animals include zebras, giraffes, elk, bison, ankoles and their enormous horns sticking straight out plus many others. There’s even a walk-through safari where you will see a shite alligator among other animals. In addition, there are opportunities to ride a camel, pet a kangaroo, rabbits and hand-feed a giraffe. Other fun includes pig races, gem mining and educational animal programs. Click here for more information
  • The Toledo Museum of Art is internationally recognized for its impact on the global art community. Its campus features the innovative architecture of the Center for the Visual Arts by Frank O. Gehry, the Glass Pavilion which won the Travel + Leisure’s Design Award for Best Museum, in addition to now being off the grid due to its production of green energy. Inside, over 30,000 works span six buildings and 36 acres of art represent American and European painting, ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works, Asian and African art, medieval art, sculpture, decorative arts, graphic arts, and modern and contemporary art. Its Glass Pavilion has a state-of-the-art glass making facility with live demonstrations and a collection depicting the history of art in glass. Discover more about this architectural and artistic gem at www.toledomuseum.org.
  • Castle Noel: How can America’s largest year-round indoor Christmas entertainment attraction not be a Standout in Ohio! Mark Klaus (yes, Klaus) and his wife, Dana, created a wonderland out of an old church in scenic downtown Medina, Ohio. In it, you’ll find yourself at the crossroads where Hollywood meets Christmas. Where else can you slide down Santa Clause Mountain which is a replica of the two-story slide from the movie, A Christmas Story. Heck, even Uncle Eddy’s infamous RV from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is parked on site. In addition, it features authentic props from Hollywood Christmas movies, including Elf, Grinch, Christmas Vacation, and many other holiday classics. Other delights are seeing Toy Land which allows people to relive childhood by revisiting favorite toys from Christmas’ past. Speaking of Christmas’ past, there’s $2 million worth of stunning Christmas displays that used to grace famous New York City storefronts.  All this and much more wait your Xmas celebration any time of year. Click here for more information.
  • Toledo Zoo & Aquarium: The Toledo Zoo isn’t just known as the best zoo in Ohio, it’s the best zoo in America, according to USA TODAY in 2014. And rightfully so considering its many firsts such as the internationally known hippoquarium. The zoo’s aquarium has one of the most diverse collections of any zoo-aquarium in the country. Other exhibits that make this zoo special are Arctic Encounter, Frog Town, Cheetah Valley, and Primate Forest. The exhibit, Africa! features free-roaming African animals such as giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, impalas, wild dogs, and ostriches, and can be enjoyed from an observation deck or the guided Safari train that circles the exhibit itself. Click here for more information.
  • Rainbow Hills Vineyards: So many things standout at this winery. It is everything a winery should be. It takes you on a journey into a woodland paradise and down a winding non-paved road into a rolling meadow on one side and grape vines on the other. The winery dog gives a friendly hello. The setting is tranquil, with panoramic views a plenty. Inside, it is rustic with private nooks, warm wood and lovely rough-stone walls and fireplace. Subtle touches make you feel like you aren’t going anywhere for a while. Back outside is a soothing fountain in a pool-like pond with plenty of sheltered seating cascading down the hillside. From star gazing to sun splashed days, it is a true getaway surrounded by wildlife and complete with meals and inn. Oh, and the wines have won international awards. Their name says it all. Click here for more information.
  • Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival: Some call it the best of the wurst but one thing is for sure – it’s a standout in Ohio festivals. This fest packs in more than 27 tons of the finest sausage cooking over open pits. In addition to bratwurst, there are more than 100 more delicious foods made from local family recipes dating back to “the old country,” that celebrate the German heritage of this Ohio small town. Don’t miss the Best “Wurst” Bicycle Ride tour of 12, 32, 65 and 100 miles held on Saturday of the festival weekend, which is held every August in Bucyrus, Ohio. Click here for more information.
  • All American Soap Box Derby: This timeless classic is a nationwide Standout in tourism and old-time fun! The All American Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio is held every July and has run nationally since 1934. These world championship finals are comprised of more than 550 qualifiers from nearly every state in the country and several foreign countries. The derby features boy and girl drivers from ages 8-20, who compete in one of three different divisions in these “gravity” races for scholarships and other prizes. Race week at Derby Downs racetrack is filled with festivities for everyone. Discover all that the All American Soap Box Derby has to offer at soapboxderby.org.
  • Historic Roscoe Village: This historic Ohio canal town is a standout in a variety of experiences. The canal boat ride, living history tours, unique shopping, dining and special events make this a favorite destination for tens of thousands year round. Get lost in the architecture and the tales from costumed guides and you’ll feel what it’s like to be living in the 1800s. The general store, blacksmith, schoolhouse, doctor’s office and so much more add to the authenticity of this time capsule. Throughout the year, amazing seasonal events add to the bustling village and its history, creating family memories for all. Discover all that Historic Roscoe Village has to offer at www.roscoevillage.com/.
  • Ghostly Manor Thrill Center: This house of horror, thrills and fun is not just a standout in Ohio, it has gained national recognition for haunting its visitors and thrilling them too. It is not recommended for young kids or the faint of heart – both tell-tale-signs of what you’ll need to endure to get through a scary good time. And it’s available any time of year! It also features The XD 4D Theater which delivers a hulluva virtual roller coaster ride. If you bring little kids, no fear, there’s plenty of fun for them too at the Skateworld roller rink. They’ll also love seeing the fire breathing dragon. Learn more about this thrilling destination at www.ghostlymanor.com/.
  • Cedar Point: Saying that Cedar Point is a standout in Ohio tourism is stating the obvious. It’s kinda like saying the sun is hot. Cedar Point is a standout in global tourism! It is often referred to as the roller coaster capital of the world and the best amusement park on the planet. It hosts a world-record 72 rides, and 17 are roller coasters – many of which have set world records in height, speed, steepness, you-name-it. It opened in 1870 and is the second longest running amusement park in the country. Its unique island-ish setting on Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio takes you to a thrilling new world that delivers adventure to everyone. Learn more about Cedar Point – the amazement park – at https://www.cedarpoint.com/.
  • National Underground Railroad Freedom Center: This is a STANDOUT in Ohio tourism and a national treasure. Throughout the history of mankind, we have enslaved our fellow brothers and sisters. The fight to combat hatred is documented on the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati. The Freedom Center has stunning architecture inside, a recreated slave pen inside and tributes to the suffering and the heroes that beat all odds to make a difference. Every turn inside these walls is met with inspiration. Join the fight which wages on today because this story of struggle is ongoing. You will not leave without being moved by miracles of survival and haunted by the vile and inhumane acts done by humans. The Center’s three pavilions celebrate courage, cooperation and perseverance. Plan your visit at http://freedomcenter.org/.
  • Hocking Ice: The pure natural beauty of ice formations at Hocking Hills State Parks is a standout in Ohio tourism, bar none! Waterfalls freeze creating an ice cone extending upward like a mini mountain and also downward from the top of the falls, sometimes connecting to create a solid column. A panoramic view if icicles in areas like Old Man’s Cave toward the Upper Falls catches sunlight to offer photo ops that’ll make even a novice photographer look like they work for National Geographic Magazine. This winter wonderland is amazing when there is a deep freeze and well worth the trek to see it. There’s an annual winter hike event that draws over 5,000 hikers to the Hills every January. Plus many toasty indoor winter opportunities make for a great weekend getaway. This video showcases some of the things to do and see when Hocking Hills freezes over.
  • A Christmas Story House: This Standout in Ohio Christmas tourism is actually open year round and needs no triple dog dare to want to check it out. The house is where the popular holiday classic, “A Christmas Story”, was filmed. It is five minutes from downtown Cleveland and has been restored to its 1983 movie appearance. Across the street is its museum featuring movie-related memorabilia. You can even buy leg lamps, a pink bunny suit, decoder pin and official Daisy Red Ryder Range Model 1938 Air Rifle BB Gun complete with retro box from A Christmas Story – but be careful, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Learn more about this legendary Christmas destination at www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com.
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame: It is the shrine to the biggest sport in America. And it’s located where the National Football League was founded – Canton, Ohio! Every year, new legends take the podium here and share eloquent speeches followed by the first pre-season game of the season. Inside kicks off a journey like no other museum can offer. Any fan will find plenty to root for here with incredible memorabilia, interactive displays and film covering every era. It culminates in the solitude of the Hall itself with the likeness of icons of the sport surrounding you. It is a pilgrimage every American football fan should take at least once. Learn more about this standout in tourism at www.profootballhof.com.
  • Circleville Pumpkin Show: It’s the GREAT PUMPKIN show, Ohio! This fall classic started in Circleville over 100 years ago and is now commonly referred as the greatest free show on Earth. It is the biggest pumpkin festival in the United States, topping 400,000 visitors annually. You know it’s great when it spans nine city blocks! Pumpkin pie anyone? Last count, more than 23,000 pies alone sold during the 4-day event. One pumpkin pie weighs in at over 400 pounds. And not to be outdone, folks will buy over 100,000 pumpkin doughnuts. Don’t miss the fun. It always starts on the third Wednesday in October and runs through Saturday. Learn more about this fall favorite at http://www.pumpkinshow.com/.
  • Ohio Renaissance Festival: Call it the king of festivals. This incredibly entertaining event is a standout in Ohio tourism because it thrills folks of all ages for more than 50 consecutive days every fall. Side splitting laughter and jaw dropping reactions are plentiful throughout the 30 acre 16th century village where about 100 shows are featured on 11 stages daily. Sword fighting, full armored jousting and humorous storytelling are only part of the adventure. Period craftsmen, artisans and food peddlers add to the merriment. But it’s the number of folks in full costume and accent that make this festival come alive. As do the musicians and dancing. Learn more about this great event at http://www.renfestival.com/.
  • Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens: This is the nation’s 6th largest historic home open to the public – and it dazzles!  The founder of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, F. A. Seiberling, used his wealth in 1915 to create an estate in the country that is today an American treasure. The estate includes five historic buildings and eight historic gardens on 70 acres. Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens has many interesting sights and tales. One of which is giving birth to the world’s largest self-help movement in the history of mankind – Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).  Throughout the mesmerizing gardens and ornate structures, there are nooks and crannies that blow the mind. And all of the furnishings are original. There’s even a butterfly conservatory. Visit http://www.stanhywet.org/ for more information.
  • Cincinnati Union Terminal: What was one of the last great train stations, built in 1933, is now a standout in tourism featuring three mega museums inside its historic art deco walls. Together, they form what is now Cincinnati Museum Center but it’s more than that. In addition to housing sensational museums of local history, natural history and a children’s museum, there’s an OMNIMAX® theater, eateries and hundreds of annual events and traveling exhibits. Not only that, it is still an active train terminal for Amtrak and visitors can even checkout Tower A, where rail operations used to be controlled. The eye-popping architecture and colorful Rotunda make this a very photogenic whistle stop. Visit http://www.cincymuseum.org/.
  • Wake Nation: Water skiing without a boat makes Wake Nation Cincinnati a standout in tourism. This full-sized cable wake park is the first and only in the Midwest. The park is for  wakeboard, water ski, kneeboard, and wakeskate riders of any skill level. This unique concept brings extreme excitement to the adventurous whether you are a kid, adult, novice or champion rider. The 10 acre lake tows up to six wakeboarders, skiers, or kneeboarders simultaneously with ropes attached to a moving cable system suspended high overhead. Riders can circle the lake or hit the optional sliders and rails to increase the rush of watery fun. Visit their web site by clicking herePlay Video.
  • Original Bob Evans Farm: There are restaurants and then there are iconic eateries that are standout names like Bob Evans. Incredibly, folks can visit the original restaurant in Rio Grande, Ohio. Not only that, but Bob’s original farmhouse is just out back. Talk about “down on the farm”! The old homestead is full of entrees. The vast rural landscape is nestled in Southern Ohio’s rolling hills along the Ohio River and Appalachian country. The old farmhouse is now a museum that shares the family and restaurant’s history. And every fall, the Bob Evans Festival attracts thousands with its entertainment and activities. The festival is also an Ohio standout in tourism! Visit their web site by clicking herePlay Video.
  • Hartman Rock Garden: There are rock gardens and then there is Hartman Rock Garden in Springfield, Ohio. Trust me there is nothing else like it. Renown as one of the nation’s most intriguing works of in situ folk art, an ordinary resident in an ordinary neighborhood began building extraordinary things out of stone in his backyard. He filled his yard with over fifty structures of historical significance. In a recent restoration, it has again become a sight to see featuring amazing structures, colorful landscaping and  hundreds of handmade figurines. Hundreds of thousands of stones were used to create this one-of-a-kind garden. And it is free to visit. Visit their web site by clicking herePlay Video.
  • Allen County Museum: This isn’t your ordinary county museum. It has the infamous gangster Dillinger locked up, rare birds riding a Ferris wheel and a display showcasing the things locals choked on over the years. That and so much more make it a STANDOUT in Ohio tourism! Oddities aside, The Allen County Museum in Lima, Ohio is serious about history. So much so, it has the distinct honor of being the only county museum in Ohio accredited by The American Association of Museums. Learn more at Visit their web site by clicking here.
  • Warther Museum: This is an Ohio STANDOUT in tourism as one of the most unique and historic workshops turned museum. It was over 100 years ago that Ernest “Mooney” Warther began carving history. Warther’s one-of-a-kind collection of 64 ebony, ivory and walnut train carvings has been appraised by the Smithsonian Institution as a “priceless work of art.” The eclectic property and state-of-the-art facility has a bustling cutlery business, tours of the original home and workshop, Swiss-style flower garden and an amazing arrowhead collection and button collection arranged in beautiful designs on the walls and ceiling. Learn more at www.warthers.com. Play Video.
  • Ye Olde Mill: This Ohio STANDOUT is like a cherry on top of a sundae. Utica, Ohio is home to Velvet Ice Cream and Ye Olde Mill. And the Dager family business is about to celebrate the century mark. What started as a hand-cranked delight by a young Joseph Dager, is now a household name. Nestled on 20 rolling wooded acres, there’s am 1817 grist mill with water wheel and a 19th century style ice cream parlour. Visitors get to explore the ice cream making business with a behind-the-scenes factory tour. There is also a museum, restaurant, gift shop, nature trail and spring ice cream festival. Celebrate a century of deliciousness in 2014 and visit Ye Olde Mill. Click here to learn more.
  • Shadowbox Live: Shadowbox Live is Ohio’s STANDOUT in live performances. Their entertainers feature rock-n-roll and sketch comedy acts and are masters at both. Note-for-note, their singers can stand toe-to-toe with any American Idol. On the comedy front, Saturday Night Live can eat their heart out. This club is edgy, fun and probably not for everyone. It’s an Ohio original and it’s the best nightlife not just in Ohio but probably the Midwest. Be prepared, this theater scene is high energy and will take its audience for a ride like no other. Learn more at www.shadowboxlive.org.
  • Hocking Hills Canopy Tours: Not only is Hocking Hills Canopy Tours a STANDOUT in Ohio Tourism, it’s a standout in zip lining circles nationwide! This “World-Class” destination is what zip lining was meant to be – an absolutely exhilarating experience amidst breathtaking beauty. Even with the professional guides, jaw-dropping zip lines a plenty, panoramic natural beauty and hours of fun there’s more. The SuperZip™ is over a quarter mile long and reaches 50 miles per hour. You can also zip in darkness. At the other end of the spectrum is the Dragonfly tour for little kids. Learn more at hockinghillscanopytours.com.
  • Buckin’ Ohio: Cowboy-up, Ohio! You’re in for a ride. This Ohio STANDOUT is a wild bull riding rodeo. It’s the real deal and it attracts professional bull riders from across the country to a farm in Burbank, Ohio. This family-owned bucking bull ranch packs a wallop. There’s plenty of western-style entertainment but the adrenaline boost is seeing up-close, the power of the bulls and the bravado of the riders. Things can get real hairy at times, and that’s when the audience goes nuts. It is a great outing offered several times per year nestled along the back roads of rural Medina County. Find out more at http://buckinohioblog.com. Play video.
  • USS Cod:  Cleveland offers a rare opportunity for visitors to explore a legendary World War II submarine. It performed the only international sub to sub rescue in history. This standout tour allows the freedom to explore everything onboard from the torpedo room to the large guns on deck, mess hall and sleeping arrangements. It’s also rare in that it has not been altered to accommodate tourism: You have to use ladders and squeeze in tight spaces just as its crew members did. Oh, and the staff’s storytelling and friendliness is superb. Visit http://www.usscod.org/ for more information.  Play Video.
  • Topiary Park: Columbus offers a surreal experience. It’s like crawling into a painting and exploring it in three-dimensions. Georges Seurat’s famous painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte.is recreated in topiary right down to topiary boats floating on water. Visitors are free to roam and explore all aspects of this unlikely recreation, becoming part of art. The topiaries are nestled within what was historically called Old Deaf School Park, which has a past spanning back to the early 19th century. Visit www.topiarypark.org/ for more information.
  • KitchenAid Experience: This is one of the most well done experiential tourism opportunities anywhere. It is as its name says – KitchenAid Experience. From the factory tour where new products are created to the mini museum where legendary products are laid to rest, in between is a store but what stands out here is the cooking class. That’s right; you get the full KitchenAid Experience right in their kitchen. This foodie delight is smack in the historic small town downtown of Greenville, Ohio. Click here for more information. Play Video.
  • KD Guest Ranch: This authentic dude ranch isn’t just an Ohio Standout, it is one of the best in the country. The hospitality is as incredible as the husband and wife duo who teach guests how to be real cowboys or cowgirls. You adopt and care for your own horse, pen animals, take horseback rides in gorgeous settings where it is still wild as far as the eyes can see. Evenings come with music, fireside games and some of the best down-home cooking around. Visit www.kdguestranch.com/ for more information.  Play Video.
  • The Wilds: This safari experience will have you wondering if you somehow transported to the African Serengeti. This is one of the largest and most innovative wildlife conservation centers in the world. Located on nearly 10,000 acres in southeast Ohio, it is home to rare and endangered species from around the world, like rhinos, giraffes, and cheetahs, living in natural, open-range habitats. The only way to see them is by special safari vehicles.You can even spend the night in your own yurt. Click here for more information. Play Video.
  • National Museum of The U.S. Air Force: This is one of the best deals not only in Ohio but nationwide! It’s FREE to see everything at the world’s largest and oldest military aviation museum. It’s climate controlled hangars feature more 400 aerospace vehicles from the Wright Brothers to the modern age and every era in between. Sensory rich exhibits, hands-on educational programs and entertaining special events entice the imagination and bring the Air Force story to life. You can even board President Kennedy’s Air Force One. For more information, visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/.
  • The RainForest at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo: Not only does Cleveland have a Rain Forest, it’s one of the largest tropical indoor environments in the world. Housed in a massive two-acre, two-story, glass and granite structure, it features more than 10,000 plants and 600 animals from the tropics in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Many are endangered species from threatened habitats. Its unique design blends the jungle in and out of exhibits making you feel you are a part of it, not just on the outside looking in.  Click here for more information.
  • Ohio State Reformatory: This prison experience rivals Alcatraz! It is so captivating, major movies have been filmed here. It resembles a castle. In fact, it’s the largest castle-like structure in the state and fifth largest in the country. It still holds the record for housing the world’s tallest free-standing steel cell block. It consists of 6 tiers, 12 ranges and 600 cells. And that’s just in the East Wing of the prison. If that isn’t arresting enough, this 19th Century structure has walls that talk. See for yourself in an overnight ghost hunt. For more information, click here.
  • Jungle Jim’s International Market: This grocery store is a foodie haven like no other. Their vast variety of offerings from around the world are truly amazing in and of itself but the presentation throughout their two massive stores near Cincinnati makes shopping an entertaining adventure. Visit www.junglejims.com/ for more information.  Play Video.
  • Lehman’s Hardware StoreIn the Amish heartland, this was once the local hardware store but it has since grown to become a fascinating array of non-electric merchandise. Whether it’s old-world or cutting edge, a trip here is a trip to Yesteryear. Even Hollywood comes calling them for authentic set props. Visit www.lehmans.com/ for more information.  Play Video.
  • West Side Market: The ethnic diversity here is why there’s the term “melting pot.” More than a hundred stands bring the freshest produce, meats, seafood and more to greater Clevelander’s and have done so for more than 170 years. Get a bite at the historic hot dog stand and find a seat up in the rafters to people watch. For more information, visit http://westsidemarket.org/.
  • EnterTRAINment Junction: The reigning world’s largest indoor train display brings out the child in old and young alike. The different eras of trains, towns, and all of the tiniest details that make this experience come alive is evident as visitor after visitor mouth “WOW!” It’s a must-see whistle stop for family fun.Visit www.entertrainmentjunction.com/ for more information. Play Video.
  • Ohio Caverns: Generation after generation, this place never grows old …in a sense. It boasts the largest and most perfectly formed pure white crystal stalactite found in any cave in addition to other anomalies only found in this subterranean paradise. It is known as one of America’s most colorful caverns.Visit http://www.ohiocaverns.com/ for more information. Play Video
  • The Unusual Junction: The Unusual Junction is a STANDOUT in unusual Ohio tourism, shopping and dining! This eclectic whistle-stop fills a uniquely restored train station that was built in 1895. Wander through the antiques, collectibles, and memorabilia, including the authentic PRICE IS RIGHT sign, autographed by Bob Barker. It also features a retro 50’s diner and gourmet deli. This West Laffayette, Ohio gem is what traveling is all about. Visit http://theunusualjunction.com/ for more information.
  • Memphis Kiddie Park: This is a standout amusement park for toddlers and preschoolers. Here, you hope that you’re shorter than the height stick! There are about a dozen rides, including North America’s oldest steel kiddie coaster. Other nostalgic favorites include the train ride, airplane ride, boat ride, a little Ferris Wheel, Merry-Go-Round and more. It’s a survivor of a bygone era when kiddie parks thrived. This one remains family-operated. Located in an old Cleveland neighborhood, it is a delight for generations of tiny thrill-seekers and parents alike. The lines are small and the smiles are big! Visit www.memphiskiddiepark.com/ for more information.

This award recognizes Ohio’s standouts in tourism for being some of the best or top tourist attractions and destinations in Ohio.