Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center

13178 State Route 664 South, LoganOH 43138 

https://www.explorehockinghills.com/plan/welcome-centers

The Hocking Hills Welcome Center is one of the best places to start a trip to the Hocking Hills region. The center is located at the edge of downtown Logan, Ohio. It is a great place to get trail maps and information on the less traveled trails and parks of the region. Inside are brochures and guides on more than just the natural wonders, with lots of information on businesses catering to visitors. It also has a large collection of menus from local restaurants for anyone trying to decide where to go after a long day on the trail.

While the world has gone digital and most information is online, the centers staff is quite helpful and a great resource. They are happy to help visitors find the regions popular destinations, local resources, and hidden gems. The center also has many paper maps that are great for using on the trails or roads of the region. In an area where mobile phone reception can be and usually is spotty, this can be a real life saver.

While there don’t forget to leave enough time to go to the Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum just outside the front doors. This is one of the regions hidden treasures.

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Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum

13178 State Route 664 South, LoganOH 43138

Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum Sign

The Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum is located next to the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center. This museum is an oversized garden shed. What the museum lacks in size it makes up in the size of the collection. The museum houses the collection of Paul Johnson. There are over 3,400 pencil sharpeners in the collection. It is just one room. A person can stand in the middle and turn three sixty and see the whole museum. A visit to the area should include this museum. It will not take long to see, but will amaze one in the amount and variety of pencil sharpeners. It is one of Ohio’s hidden treasures. So, make it a point to see this museum.

Random Ohio Reviews : 10 Years Later

A little bit of this …. a little bit of that ….. a Whole lot of oHIo. (okay mostly SW OhiO)

10 years ago today we posted these words and from there we were off to explore Ohio. Over the next decade we would explore many of the great places that this great state has to offer. Restaurants, museums, parks, local culture. If Ohio offered it we gave it a chance. After a decade of exploration we thought we had seen a good portion of the state but Ohio is like its  weather, when you think you know it, it changes.

We choose the name Random Ohio because we had no major focus in the early days. We loved going to anything that was Ohio. Eventually as we started to look at the pieces of the puzzle that is Ohio, we realized that this great state is almost impossible to describe in a concise manner. Everything about it is random.

From the north where the Eerie allows vast ships to travel from this state to others, to the south where smaller paddle wheelers and riverboats take to the Ohio, to the lakes and the rivers in between where swimmers, skiers, and recreational boats reign. Ohio seems to be something different depending on where in the state you are. Our travels have taken us to the farm lands of the northeast to the hills of the south to the industrialized Eerie shores. We may have gotten to some regions more than others, with the crowded Dayton Cincinnati region being over represented, but we have tried to show every part of Ohio. Our rough estimates show that:

  • 14% of our reviews have been from the Northwest :  Toledo and the Black Swamp region
  • 15% Northeast: Cleveland, Akron, and Canton
  • 15% Central: Columbus and the center of the state
  • 8% Southeast: Hocking Hills, Chillicothe, and Marietta
  • 48% Southwest: Dayton and Cincinnati

Our post have ranged from history to the arts to outdoor recreation to the local landscape. We have loved almost every minute of our journey through this great state. While we have tried to categorize them we have found that most, if not all, fit into many categories. Of our 152 reviews:

  • 83% have been about History: Since the first Ohioans settled permanently in 1788 the state has been preserving its past. Most places we visit love to tell their history, and we loved to hear it.
  • 65% Museums: A legacy of preservation brings on many museums. The great Ohio History Connection network of museums, national history museums, or local stops all have been worth a visit.
  • 50% Entertainment and the Arts: The great playhouses and art museums of the large cities to the small stages and outdoor murals.
  • 46% Food: Local fare known to the world to the local fare unknown to anyone from 10 miles away.
  • 40% Parks and Playlands: national parks, state parks, local parks, amusement parks.

We have even found that the facts we learn about Ohio are random. 7 years ago we decided to give a list of 100 random facts about Ohio to celebrate our 100th post. We only were able to get 50 facts at the time but from that 50 we have added 50 more every year until we had 300 Random Facts About Ohio. From “Ohio is an Iroquois word meaning “great water.” to “The shortest time a governor has served is…” we have helped many a school kid finish a report or just satisfied the curiosity of our readers. The facts have become our most popular posts with almost 65% of our traffic coming from them. After 300 facts, when we think it is going to be hard to find more facts, the state and its citizens still keeps giving them to us.

The one thing that we have noticed that is consistent is that most Ohioans are proud to be Ohioans and support their local culture even as they venture out into the wider world.

As we look back over the past decade and the 530 post we wanted to a take a moment to reflect on what we have seen, heard, learned and experienced. This year we will be reflecting on some things Ohio has taught us and looking forward to the things we are yet to learn. Through out the year we will be posting about our experiences and our thoughts on different aspects of our travels. So stay tuned to see what we have in store for the next decade and beyond.

 

Repost: Ohio’s Great 8: A large collection of presidential sites in Ohio

In Honor of Washington-Lincoln Day, we remind you of some great places to learn about Ohio’s contribution to the office.

mother of presi

Ohio has given this great nation 8 of its 44 presidents. Because Ohio is “The Mother of Presidents” it has gained a large collection of presidential items and locations. From small nick knacks to house, planes, and even battlefields her is our list of places to see a bit of presidential history.

Presidential Memorabilia:
The National Museum of the United States Air Force – Planes from every president to fly
Golden Lamb – Historic Inn and restaurant that has been visited by every Ohio president and many more.
First Ladies National Historical Site – The home of First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley which celebrates the wives of all presidents
Ohio Statehouse – Houses artifacts from presidential visits
Ohio Historical Center – Houses many artifacts ( not many on display) from Ohio’s historical presidential campaigns
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – Tells the story of slavery and the struggle to end it. Talks about Lincoln, and many other presidents, struggle with the dreaded institution of slavery.
Cleveland History Center – Talks about the history of northwest Ohio and the area that made James Garfield. Right next door to Garfield Tomb.

William Henry Harrison:
Fallen Timber Battlefield
Fort Miegs
Adena Mansion and Garden – Visited many times as a Governor and General.
Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama – A loud Outdoor Drama telling the life and troubles of the great Tecumseh and his interaction with Harrison.
Tomb of William Henry Harrison

Ulysses S. Grant
Land of Grant – Birthplace, Boyhood home, and Schoolhouse

Rutherford B Hayes
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center – Also house the Tomb of the late President

James A. Garfield
James Garfield Birthplace
James A. Garfield National Historic Site
James A Garfield Tomb

Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison Birthplace – A small plaque .3 miles from his grandfathers tomb denotes the site of his birth

William McKinley
The William McKinley Birthplace Museum 
William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum – Also house the Tomb of the late President

William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft National Historical Site

Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding Home
Warren G. Harding Tomb

 

COSI Old and New

Digital Cameras didn’t become a common device until 2000 by that time COSI had built its new building. Lucky for us some one has been collecting old photographs, maps, stories and history of the Science Center.

http://oldcosi.com

But for the newer COSI here are some of our photos:

COSI and The American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery

333 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215

https://cosi.org/exhibits/dinos

In the fall of 1999 the Center of Science and Industry, COSI for short, opened its new riverside museum along the Scioto River. This museum was a $210 million work of art. Built on top of the old Central High School, the building is a very large and inviting presence in Columbus. Unfortunately it also had a high upkeep cost to it. Because of the building expense and maintenance costs COSI eventually had to shutter large portions of its building, including the entire south wing. The major exhibit in that space was the ever popular Adventure. Adventure did reopen in 2010, but this time as an extra fee. At the turn of 2017 Adventure was closed for good. In its place would come a new gallery with the help of The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in NYC.

The American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery is the newest permanent exhibit in the museum. The gallery is dedicated to the full understanding of the large creatures that once ruled the earth. More than just talking about them as a zoo would, with info on the different types and displays of each, the gallery dives deep into how they lived, how they acted, how we know what we know, what exactly they were, and what they became. The exhibit does not shy away from the idea that dinosaurs did not become lizards, but become birds. The amount of information it presents to explain why we now believe this to be true is vast.

This in-depth exploration of the 100’s of millions of years dinosaurs roamed the earth can become a little overwhelming for kids. The exhibit breaks up the information with displays, dioramas, and skeletons, and some interactive elements. Kids will enjoy looking at all the visual things the gallery. There are also many hands on portions that they will love. Adult can take a deeper dive into the facts and figures. The hall is a great place to take any interested in natural history, dinosaurs, birds, or great museum exhibits.

Along with the Dinosaur Gallery the American Museum of Natural History used the available portion of the wing to open a rotating Special Exhibition Gallery next door. When we went the gallery had Traveling The Silk Road: Ancient Pathway on exhibit. This exhibit was presented by AMNH and was amazing. While the exhibits will change from time to time if they live up to the standards that COSI and AMNH have given with the Dinosaur Gallery we expect everyone to be a reason in and of themselves to come and see why COSI is one of the greatest Science Museums in America.

 

COSI – 10 years later

Columbus, OH 43215
http://www.cosi.org/

Original Review

10 years Ago we posted a review of Columbus’ Center of Science and Industry. COSI as it is known. Since then many things have changed and evolved. Some sections have gone away. Others have advanced with the times.  Over all the museum has finally found its footing and is as amazing as ever.

Upon arriving at the complex the first change many will notice is that the old parking lot is gone. In its place is an underground large parking garage. Atop the garage is a green space with gardens and spaces for programs. From the outside this opens up the area to be more scenic.

Inside much has changed, but in more subtle ways. Do to budget concerns the museum had to close some of it exhibits. This lead to the more kid friendly attractions staying and some of the more educational parts being shuttered. Over the years these parts have reopened, moved, and been reworked. Some have become areas for traveling exhibits that are included with admission. These sections keep the museum fresh and ever changing.

With the new sections open the museum feels well balanced. Sections for the kids (Gadgets) still are around but new section where the whole family can learn are also included. Energy Explorers teaches about conservation and proper use through interactive games and exhibits. All of the activities are tied to a card that one picks up on entering and everything affects the overall outcome of the person chosen. The kids can have fun with the games, while the adults can think about the answers. Small choices can have a big out come.

This mix of fun and learning helps to teach without preaching. Many of the attractions that have reopened are like this. Life has a working research lab from Ohio State University. At the same time the data is collected through many interactive stations and games. Ocean now has a lab / more information room where visitors can study the world right around them, not just the bigger ocean. COSI seems to have taken the “great for kids learning about a subject but not so much a place to “explore more information.” and fixed it. Now many of the section have both simple to learn ideas and larger context working together.

 

One of the best parts of the redesigns is the section dedicated to the history of the Museum itself. In it is many photos and artifacts from the begone days of the old building and even the lost section of the new one. This is where the old mine elevator is now housed. Any one who remembers the original COSI will love to ride it agian.

Probably the biggest change is to the South Wing. gone is the popular, but more for kids, Adventure section. In its place is a New Gallery. But that is a whole other review in itself.

So for its 20th year in the new location we say give it a try. COSI has found its footing and is now a great place for Adults, kids , and every one of any age.

The Scioto Mile

https://www.sciotomile.com/

The Scioto Mile is a collection of 9 parks along the Scioto River in the heart of Downtown Columbus. Started in 2015, this “mile” was a reworking of the land surrounding the river. Dams were removed. The area was taken back to a more natural state and the its beauty was emphasized. The mile has more than 175 acres of land, but is more than just a series of parks along a river.

The parks are connected by the Scioto Trail. The trail makes up the backbone of the system running from Scioto Audubon Park in the south to the Olentangy Trail in the north and on to the Ohio to Erie Trail. It follows the east side of the river winding from park to park. The parks are not just open green spaces with a few benches. Many of them are filled with sculptures and memorials. There is a center dedicated to the visual arts. More in to the performing arts? The trail has a place for them too. The variety of things to see and do is enormous.

Along the trail is Milestone 229. A restaurant for people on the trail. This is not a fast food joint but a comfort food joint for everyone. It “offers a kids’ menu, as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.” The restaurant has great views of the river and the Scioto Mile Fountain. The fountain is a large interactive fountain that comes alive at night with lights and fog. A must see on the mile.

In the middle is the name sake that flows through the city. This section of the river has been improved to be a great water recreation venue. Paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks can be seen on the river during the warmer months. Tours are even offered.

Along the west bank the trail goes through less parks but is no less as scenic. The trail ends up at the new National Veterans Memorial and Museum and one of the Greatest Science Museums in the nation.

The Scioto Mile is a great way to get out and see nature or to experience the city life, or do both at the same time. It is the variety that makes this state great all within the heart of its capital city.

 

Repost: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

It has been almost 10 years since we went. We hope to go back soon. It still is a great museum. In honor of #MLK2019:

50 E Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202

http://www.freedomcenter.org/

Although the museum is called the “Underground Railroad” Freedom Center it teaches more than just the struggle to escape slavery. It teaches the history of the problem, the struggle to escape, and the problems faced afterwards. The Museum is also more than just a museum about Black Americans. It includes sections on the strife that faced Women, Native Americans, and Abolitionists, and many others during the time period.

The museum starts with a short film about three fictional slaves. From there one passes a real slave pen and into a small section on the Underground Railroad.  This section seems like to little a space to tell too much information. From there the visitor is sent into an immersive video theater where they can experience the escape across the Ohio River. This is one of the best parts of the museum. The video tells the story as if you are there with them.

After seeing everything the second floor has to offer one moves to the top floor, where the bulk of the museums information is presented. From Slavery to Freedom tells the history of slavery in the new world, from the middle passage to the prewar years and ending with the post-Civil War era. This is the main section of the museum where most of the information is contained. Flowing like a river from the early days of the continent and the United States to the Civil War, major events are described alongside the story of the people involved. This creates a more in-depth vision of the times and a less classroom telling. The major problem with this section however is that it leaves out the Underground Railroad. Yes, because the story is told else where it is not included in the time line. This is disconcerting but does not distract too much from the overall experience.

The final sections of the museum are the “The Struggle Continues,” with a short film about modern slavery and injustices, the temporary exhibit area which house different exhibits throughout the year, and Reflect, Respond, Resolve, an interactive area to learn more about injustices in the modern world.

Even though the museum is dedicated to the Underground Railroad and slavery, it does an amazing job of keeping everything even-handed. It tries not to villainize any one group. The museum explains the facts and lets the visitor interpret them as they see fit. It is sensitive to how touchy the subject is. In “Reflect, Respond, Resolve” section the interactive displays have no right answers only more questions.

The museum is a must stop for anyone who has lived in a world with injustice. In our current climate it is even more important that ever.