Author: RandomOhio

12 days of Ohio Holidays – Day #10

The second oldest secular Christmas song – “Up on the House Top” – was written by Benjamin Russell Hanby of Rushville, Ohio. He wrote it while in New Paris.

The house he grew up in in open for tours. He and his father used it as part of the Underground Railroad. It is closed for the winter. Check their website ( for more details.

Jackson 5:

12 days of Ohio Holidays – Day #9

Ice skating 

This time of year the weather finally starts to get cold enough long enough for Ice Skating rinks to open. Through out the state many places have great rinks. Here area few cool ideas in the major cities. Some of the places offer more than just skating. Try your hand at Broomball, Curling, or even a game of Hockey.

Dayton: Riverscape Metro Park –

Cincinnati: The Fountain Square –
King Island Winterfest –

Cleveland: Cleveland Foundation Ice Rink in Public Square –

Columbus: There are many options in the Capital city –

Toledo: One Seaskate – 

12 Days of Ohio Holidays – Day #8

Winterfest at King’s Island

After a 12 year break this holiday tradition returned in 2017. The holiday event transforms the southwest Ohio amusement park into a winter wonderland. The traditional activities such as ice skating and horse drawn carriage have returned along with the transformation of the parks areas into wonderlands of there own. This time around a few more of the parks rides will be open. Of course the park has a nightly lighting ceremony (5:30pm) where Snoopy and friends light the iconic Eiffel Tower Christmas tree. This event is great for first timers or the crowd who remembers it from its 1990’s run.

Winterfest at King’s Island is one of the best theme park winter events in the United States. It won #2 in 2018. This year it was voted #3 in the nation.

12 Days of Ohio Holidays – Day #7

This is the time of year that the stores are filled with simple stocking stuffers and easy to grab gifts for friends and family.  For loved ones near-by this is fine. For friends or family that have moved out of Ohio, or who live in another state and wonder what’s so great about the great state of Ohio, a little more is needed. Here are a few suggestions (not a complete list add your own in comments below) for perfect way to wrap up Ohio.

We have organized our ideas into regional baskets. Pick and choose or add your own. These are just suggestions. If you have any more suggestions you can add them in the comments below.




  • Cincinnati Style Chili – A little bit thinner than the “other” styles of chili, this classic is known for its ability to turn spaghetti into a regional favorite. Everyone has their favorite place, and all are good.
  • Grippos – if they want barbecue chips they probably crave these.
    Mike-Sells – if they are from a little closer to Dayton these are the choice
  • Ester Price – Chocolates from Dayton
  • Boston Stoker Coffee – Don’t let the name fool you, it’s locally roasted coffee.


Amish Country:



12 days of Ohio Holidays – Day #6

The Legendary Christmas Lights at Historic Clifton Mill

75 Water St., Clifton, Ohio

Clifton Mill is located in Clifton, Ohio. The mill is one of the largest still in existence and has a rich history. Include on the mill property is a restaurant and country store.

When the holiday times come around, from Thanksgiving to the New Year, the mill and property really comes alive. The whole property is filled with over 3.5 million lights. This includes the mill, buildings, gorge, trees, bridges, and the gorge. The place is truly festive.

There are more than just lights to see at Clifton Mill. During the holiday time there is a Miniature Village, Santa Clause Museum, and a Toy Collection. The miniatures are fun to look at and will have you spending some time as there are many moving parts. Many of the miniatures show local or Ohio locations or inspirations. The miniature village is a surprise highlight of a visit to Clifton Mills during the holidays.

Another attraction is the Santa Claus Museum. This building is filled with every imaginable kind of Santa item. Yours eyes will have lots to look at. This is the more popular attraction and usually has a line outside.

On the hour many of the lights go dark.  Then the lights come back on for the light show set to music. The light show is not something to miss. So time it right and one can see a showing or two.

It does cost for any over the age of 7. The price is reasonable. Going during the week before Christmas break is less crowded. Parking is free. There is food you can purchase and gifts you can buy. It is mostly outdoors, so dress accordingly.

Clifton Mill at the holiday times is perfect for couples, singles, families, friends, neighbors, and really anyone.

12 Days of Ohio Christmas – Day #5

Zoo Lights

Ohio Zoo’s are world class. At the holidays they do not disappoint. They are annually some of the best lights in the nation. This year the lights are again in the running for Best Zoo Lights from the 10best at USA TODAY.

The winners of the Best Zoo lights in America will be announced on 12/13.

Wild Winter Lights
Cleveland Zoo

The newest of The festivals. This is the first year for the zoo lights, but it still is in the running for best zoo light. As they describe it:

Experience the vibrant colors of more than one million lights and unique twists on holiday traditions at this all-new evening event at the Zoo. Wild Winter Lights will feature a dozen diverse and interactive zones including, Snow Safari, Glacier Glade and Santa’s North Pole Lodge. Each area features unique twists on holiday festivities – from a 16-foot-tall teddy bear and giant sugar cookies to the awe of the A-Roar-A Borealis, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s version of the Northern Lights. Visitors will get a chance to participate in interactive games like snowball toss, enjoy a light show on Waterfowl Lake, take photographs with Santa and more.

PNC Festival of Lights 
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens

The Cincinnati Zoo will have a 25 foot tree on their swan lake, with floating orbs, all synchronized to music. A gingerbread village with hidden surprises will entertain. The Sisters from Frozen have a meet and greet at the Frozen Wonderland area, and Santa will be available 1 hour before the lights this year.

The Cincinnati Zoo was #1 in 2015, #8 in 2017, and #1 again in 2018. How will they do this year?

Columbus Zoo

The Columbus Zoo has gone all out this year. They have a 42 ft tree that puts on a show. Santa is at home near the polar bears. They also have shows through out the zoo, and much more.

The Columbus Zoo was #5 in 2015 and #7 in 2016. Can they break the top 5 this year?

Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas
Toledo Zoo

The Toledo Zoo has carolers, lights, and more lights. This year the historic tunnel will make its renovated reopening at the lights. The Cafe will once again be used as a backdrop for a dazzling lights show and the winter village will return.

The Toledo Zoo was #2 in 2015, #1 in 2016 and 2017, and #2 in 2018 (losing to Cincinnati). Will it make this a Back to the top this year?

12 Days of Ohio Holidays – Day #4

Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus

The Conservatory is decked out for the holidays.

The Conservatory Aglow Exhibit is a great way to see holiday plants and lots of lights. Also a great time to see the Chuley Exhibit. The full collection, the largest in a botanical garden, is on display through March. But why wait, see the lights and the glass this holiday season.

A Zinzinnati Holiday at Krohn Conservatory


The Krohn has great flowers year round but The Holiday show this year is taking it a step further.  As their website says
“Discover the beauty of our city’s German history at our holiday display. Surround yourself with evergreens and poinsettias as you stroll through the historical representations of Cincinnati’s buildings. On view you will find Atlas Cedar, Lawson Cypress, and an array of Amaryllis such as the lovely Papilio and Red Pearl.”
Happy Holidays

12 Days of Ohio Holidays – Day #2

Christmas Carol


Paul Laurence Dunbar (Dayton born)

Ring out, ye bells!
All Nature swells
With gladness at the wondrous story,—
The world was lorn,
But Christ is born
To change our sadness into glory.

Sing, earthlings, sing!
To–night a King
Hath come from heaven’s high throne to bless us.
The outstretched hand
O’er all the land
Is raised in pity to caress us.

Come at his call;
Be joyful all;
Away with mourning and with sadness!
The heavenly choir
With holy fire
Their voices raise in songs of gladness.

The darkness breaks
And Dawn awakes,
Her cheeks suffused with youthful blushes.
The rocks and stones
In holy tones
Are singing sweeter than the thrushes.

Then why should we
In silence be,
When Nature lends her voice to praises;
When heaven and earth
Proclaim the truth
Of Him for whom that lone star blazes?

No, be not still,
But with a will
Strike all your harps and set them ringing;
On hill and heath
Let every breath
Throw all its power into singing!

12 days of Ohio Holidays – Day #1

This year may seem familiar. We are just reposting and updating some old ideas as a reminder of some fun things to do in Ohio over the Holidays. Lets begin with…

Stan Hywett Hall and Gardens – Deck the Hall 2019 (open select days)

Our review of the regular tour

This year, as in years past, Stan Hywett has gone overboard to decorate for the holidays. The once home of F.A. Seiberling the co-founder of Goodyear Tire is one of the largest historical houses in the country. With such a large size one can expect a large amount of going ons for the holidays. The Hall has been decorated with festive attire. Outside a million lights will dance throughout the night and the Playgarden has been transformed into a Gingerbread Land. Almost every inch of the place has something festive going on. Many different food and specialty holiday items will be on sale through out the grounds. From local musicians and singers to giant 20ft poinsettia tree, there is something for everyone. Of course Santa and Rudolph even make a visit.