Ohio is nicknamed “The Heart of it All,” because of its somewhat heart-like shape and being in the center of the country and some of the country’s most populated cities, but also because its considered part of the American Heartland. The state is known for its important role in the Underground Railroad network, and visitors today can explore this history at the popular museum celebrating and memorializing its history.
For a lighter look at Ohio’s history, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame offers a fascinating and enjoyable look into the music industry of America. Ohio has also been home to some of America’s most famous people including the Wright Brothers, eight U.S. Presidents, Thomas Edison, and Neil Armstrong.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park was created to preserve and restore the area along the Cuyahoga River that stretches from Akron to Cleveland, Ohio. The park encompasses more than 20,000 acres and it is Ohio’s only National Park. In the park most visitors enjoy hiking and biking along the many trail options, including the popular Towpath Trail which skirts the former Ohio and Erie Canal.
Lake Erie Islands
In Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes, is the archipelago called the Lake Erie Islands. The islands include large islands, Kelleys Island, Pelee Island, and the Bass Islands, as well as smaller islands. The islands are a favorite summertime destination in Ohio and visitors can take ferries between several of the islands. The most popular island for tourists is South Bass Island, which is the third largest island.
Kings Island is an amusement park located in Mason, Ohio, with more than a 100 rides, shows and attractions. Visitors can experience 15 roller coasters including Diamondback, the tallest and fastest at the park and the world’s longest wooden roller coaster. For families the Planet Snoop kids area, Dinosaurs Alive and Soak City a 33 acre water park.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Cleveland’s most famous landmark is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located downtown on the shore of Lake Erie. The Hall of Fame’s purpose is to preserve and celebrate some of the music industry’s most important and influential people, artifacts, and time periods. The seven-level building features various exhibit halls with temporary and permanent exhibits relating to the history of gospel, blues, rhythm & blues, folk, country, and bluegrass music.
Cleveland Museum of Art
The most popular art museum in Cleveland is internationally renowned for its collection of Asian and Egyptian art as well as a permanent collection that is comprised of more than 43,000 works of art from throughout the world. Unlike many of the world’s great art museums, the Cleveland Museum of Art is free of charge, honoring the vision of its founders to make the museum accessible to the people.
The museum’s includes work from many different time period’s in European, African, and Asian history. The museum is also famous as the home of the Ingalls Library, one of the country’s largest and most impressive art libraries.
Top Things to Do in Ohio
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
The Cincinnati Zoo is one of America’s oldest zoos, opening in 1875, with the oldest zoo building in the nation, its Reptile House. The zoo is known for its successful breeding programs, having bred cheetahs, Sumatran rhinoceros, Malyan tigers, Western Lowland gorillas, Pottos, and Masai giraffes.The zoo is famous for having some of the longest living animals in captivity.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
This museum in Cincinnati preserves the legacy and celebrates the Underground Railroad one of America’s most important historical events.The 158,000 square foot museum is composed of three pavilions, named after and honoring the ideas of courage, cooperation and perseverance.
The most popular attraction at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is a real reconstructed Slave Pen which dates to 1830 and is known as the only known surviving rural slave jail.
Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park is a state park in Ohio; it is contiguous with the Hocking State Forest. Within the park are several spectacular rock formations, including Old Man’s Cave, a narrow, deep gorge featuring waterfalls, Rock House, a cliffed area with a rock shelter. Cantwell Cliffs, a broad gorge at the head of a hollow with a unique stone stairway and Ash Cave, a large rock shelter with a small waterfall, and Cedar Falls, a larger waterfall south of Old Man’s Cave. There are numerous hiking trails located throughout the state park.
Center of Science and Industry
COSI, also known as the Center of Science and Industry, is Ohio’s most famed science museum. The museum is located in Columbus and is a popular attraction for tourists, especially children. With more than 300 interactive exhibits, the museum covers almost every scientific field. The themed exhibits are titled Ocean, Space, Gadgets, Life, Little Kidspace, Progress, Big Science Park and outdoor exhibit, and the Lily Pad a watershed exhibit in Ocean.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is located in Columbus, Ohio. The conservatory contains plant species. Biomes representing global climate zones include: Himalayan Mountains, Tropical Rainforest, Desert, and Pacific Island Water Garden. Additional plant collections include a Bonsai Courtyard, Show house with seasonal displays, orchids and tropical bonsai collections, and Palm House with more than 40 species of palms. The conservatory is set within Franklin Park, and surrounded by outdoor botanical gardens and green space.
Things to Do in Ohio
If you’re heading to “The Heart of it All,” Ohio, get ready to explore the heart of America. From its days as an important stop along the Underground Railroad, to its fame as the home of many of America’s most noteworthy politicians, inventors, and pioneers, Ohio lives up to its nickname, and offers plenty of attractions for visitors of all types to enjoy while exploring the American Heartland.