What goes with summer? Sandals, tank tops and road trips! Ohio has a little something for everyone, from sports fans to nature lovers to music aficionados. Here are just a few. Fill ’er up and take off!
The one and only Rock Hall is in Cleveland, and it’s a must-see for rock lovers of all ages. You’ll find educational programs, live music on the plaza stage and souvenirs from coffee mugs to custom Les Paul guitars. The Library and Archives are packed with artifacts documenting the history of rock & roll, including the new exhibit, “The Summer of Love Turns 50,” and it’s free to visit with an appointment. Tickets to the Rock Hall are $23 online or $26 the day of your visit, with discounts for seniors and children. Kids 5 and under get in free. Or become a member and get in free. The Rock Hall has special summer hours and is even open on Sundays in July and August.
State parks, a national forest, hiking trails, caves, waterfalls, festivals, a thriving art community — Hocking Hills, Ohio, is truly a national treasure. You’ll find a huge variety of activities and attractions, from ziplines to spas to Appalachian music and culture — even a pencil sharpener museum. Whether you’re making a day trip, crave some camping or long for luxury, Hocking Hills is the perfect summer getaway close to home.
Lions, tigers and bears are just the beginning. The zoo’s 183 acres offer chances to interact with wildlife from around the world. Just one example: The RainForest includes more than 10,000 plants and more than 600 animals from the jungles of Asia, Africa and the Americas. Tickets are $14.95 with discounts for seniors and children. Kids 2 and under get in free.
The Wright brothers were Ohio natives, so what better place for a museum dedicated to aviation history? With more than 360 items on display, it’s not just for aviation fanatics. Just about anyone will find something of interest. Take a wild ride on a flight simulator. Tour preserved aircrafts used by three presidents. Watch a 3D movie. Or shop for souvenirs, from T-shirts and jewelry to hand-carved or 3D laser-cut model airplanes. Located at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, the museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, and admission is free. (Flight simulators and the Air Force Museum Theatre have reasonable fees, and some exhibits have special hours.)
Spanning five counties, Ohio’s Amish Country offers a chance to unplug and sample a simpler way of life. Tour the backroads, dine on homestyle recipes passed down for generations or visit the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center. Shop for antiques, handcrafted furniture, homemade soap, quilts and quilting supplies. Camp or stay at a bed-and-breakfast, hotel or inn.
With exhibits that change throughout the year, the conservatory and gardens is home to hundreds of plant species from the Himalayas, rainforest, desert and Pacific Islands. Visit several glass greenhouses, including a Victorian-style structure build in the 1800s. You’ll also find art collections, including the Chihuly Collection featuring Dale Chihuly’s intricate glass artwork. The conservatory and gardens account for 40 acres of the 88-acre Franklin Park, and it’s just a couple of miles from downtown Columbus.