15 of the Best (and Most Offbeat) Attractions in Ohio! By
While Ohio is home to massively popular attractions like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Columbus Zoo, it also has a weirder side. The quirkier corners of Ohio are home to unusual attractions that will surely spark your curiosity. If you’re looking for sites that you aren’t going to see anywhere else in the world, Ohio can give you just that. Here are the 15 most unusual attractions in the state.
1. Helltown, Ohio
Helltown, Ohio (formerly known as Boston Township) is infamous for the folklore surrounding the abandoned ghost town. Local legends claim it's the site of multiple crybaby bridges, haunted school buses, mass human sacrifice, a Satanic church and even radioactive mutants! The town was abandoned in 1974, when the National Park Service designated it to be the new site of a national forest reserve. Homeowners were bought out of their property over the next few months, but the NPS fell behind on its plan to create a park and the village sat untouched for years. Most of Helltown is now part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and can be explored by the public.
The legendary house from the film, “A Christmas Story” has been painstakingly restored to movie quality in Cleveland, Ohio. Go indulge your childhood nostalgia with a tour, and afterwards you can stroll across the street and see the Christmas Story House Museum with original props, costumes and memorabilia from the movie with hundreds of rare behind-the-scene photos!
The abandoned Athens Lunatic Asylum, now known as The Ridges closed down in 1993. It is perhaps most infamous for being the site of many lobotomies and its eerie tuberculosis ward. Locals claim to have witnessed numerous paranormal sightings, and urban legends abound at the nearby Ohio University. Walking tours are available throughout the year where you'll hear all about the history and legends as you explore.
German immigrant, Gustav Heineman moved to Put-In-Bay, Ohio, where he established a winery. When he dug a well beneath his winery in 1897, he discovered a massive cavern with massive tabular crystal formation on the cave walls. Nowadays the crystal cave is host to daily tours where you can see massive natural crystals three feet in width.
The Great Serpent Mound is a 1,348-foot-long and three-foot-tall prehistoric Native American effigy mound that researchers have attributed to three different prehistoric indigenous cultures dating as far back as 1070 CE. The Great Serpent Mound is the largest serpent effigy in the world and is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
The Historical Loveland Castle and Museum Chateau Laroche began construction by eccentric Ohio resident, Harry Andrews in 1929. He spent 50 years building it by pulling stones from the nearby Little Miami River. When he couldn't pull any more rocks from the river, he molded bricks with cement and milk cartons. Today the castle can be toured daily for guests of all ages, but stay alert, as tales of hauntings have continually been reported through the years.
7. Frozen Cleveland Lighthouse, Cleveland, OH
In the winter of 2010, a Cleveland lighthouse on the edge of Lake Erie was sprayed by so much water that it became encased in layers of ice. The lighthouse had been in abandoned since 1965, but today draws more visitors than ever due to the beautiful natural phenomenon.
In limestone rock on an island in Port Clinton, Ohio, you can see an ancient natural sculpture of a time when glaciers drifted their slow path through prehistoric Ohio over 18,000 years ago. You can also see perfectly-preserved marine life fossils, pressed into the limestone rock by glaciers.
9. The World's Largest Basket, Newark, OH
Ohio likes to dream big. It breeds ambitious people. Sometimes we send men to the moon, sometimes we build medieval-style castles out of river bedrock, and sometimes we make really big baskets. In Newark, Ohio, the seven-story basket serves as the corporate headquarters of the Longaberger Basket Company, and was established in 1997.
Experience an African Safari with rhinoceroses, giraffes, cheetahs, African dogs, camels, zebras and more without having to leave the country! Safari at the Wilds is part of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and is open daily to the public May through December.
It's been said that driving through rural Ohio can seem like an endless tour of cornfields. But we're not ashamed of that fact! Some people are so enthusiastic about corn that they create monuments it! Artist Malcolm Cochran, a professor of sculpture at Ohio State University, was commissioned by the Dublin Arts Council to create the memorial to farmer, Sam Frantz, in 1994.
In 1932, an unemployed H.G. Hartman decided to build a fish pond in his yard. He liked the result so much that he repurposed rock and stone from a construction site near his house and used it to build replicas of American landmarks, religious sculptures, stone houses, and even a large castle complete with a drawbridge and moat. Today the site is open to the public to visit and photograph.
13. Mushroom House, Cincinnati, OH
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a giant mushroom? Maybe not before, but after you read that sentence it's all you can think about, right? Well, it's not made of real mushroom, but it's an amazing sight nonetheless. Built between 1992 and 2006 by architect, Terry Brown, it served as his secondary home while he built it. It features and ornate spiral staircase entry and pressed copper ceilings.
Pyramid Hill is an outdoor museum in Hamilton, Ohio, open throughout the year. It features Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Etruscan sculptures that date back thousands of years! The sculptures are on display in a 10,000-square-foot sculpture garden with various meadow and forest landscapes throughout.
15. The Avrocar, Dayton, OH
Who hasn't looked up at the stars and wondered if there was intelligent life in the infinite distance? What kind of ship would they fly? In 1952, at the height of the Cold War and 50s sci-fi mania, a Canadian Aircraft company was commissioned by the U.S. government on a secret project to create the Avro Canada VZ-9. It was designed to take off and land vertically. This real-life flying saucer was loaned to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, where it can be visited by the public.