Many years ago I went on a car trip across country. I saw many interesting points of historical interest that I hadn’t known about until I went on this trip. As I drove on the highways, I would get off at the exits that marked historical sites, and I would follow the signs to their destinations. Being a historical buff, I explored the many different sites, and I one day happened to find some caverns in Missouri that were used during the Civil War to hide weapons and such. This was such an enjoyable excursion to me that I just had to find out more about the Ohio Caverns, and I just had to put it at the top of my list for the five most interesting day trips one can take while vacationing in the Columbus area.
The Ohio Caverns are located in West Liberty, Ohio, and the Ohio Caverns website describes the two different tours that one can take. What they refer to as the “historical tour” ( which I would definitely take!), goes into more depth than the regular tour and, during this tour, according to the Ohio Caverns website, one can see areas of the caverns that were ” toured from 1897-1925 as well as the location where the cavern was first discovered.” There is something fascinating to me as a student of history to enter and explore the same exact place as those who have lived before me, which is why I would definitely take the historical tour at the Ohio Caverns site. The Ohio Caverns website says that this tour lasts for approximately 1 1/2 hours, and it is approximately 1 1/2 miles. This guided tour is offered year round for groups of 10 or more with advanced reservations. The main tour, on the other hand, takes only 45 minutes and it operates from 9am-5pm (April 1st-October 31st) and from 9am-4pm (November 1st-March 31st). The prices vary depending on which tour one chooses to take. The admission prices for the regular tour is as follows: Adults $14, Children (5-12) is $8, and the younger children (4 and under) get in for free. The historic tour is slightly more expensive with the adult admission price being $19.50, and the child admission (from 5-10) being $14. Once again the youngest ones (4 and under) get in for free. For more information one can go online to www.ohiocaverns.com.
While on the subject of caverns, it appears that there is another set of caverns that one must explore as well. These are the Olentangy Indian Caverns in Delaware, Ohio. On their website (Olentangyindiancaverns.com) it is written that the caves were used by the Wyandotte Indians for shelter from the weather as well as for protection from enemies. There is a section of wall on which the first white man to have entered the caves signed his name which would be an exciting step back into history; something a history buff like me could not pass up. I remember a time in a college history class where my professor showed slides of a trip that he took with his wife. They passed a spot in which one of the rock formations had a carving of a name of a settler in the 1800’s along with the year that they were there. I often wish that I could have been on that trip with them, because I like to see evidence of the existence of our ancestors. The next best thing to that trip is coming to the Olentangy Indian Caverns, where one could set foot in the same cave as the first white man who signed his name on the walls.
Not only can one explore the caverns there but when one is finished exploring, there is a miniature golf course on the premises, so one can play the course before or after the tour of the caverns. One can even play horseshoes, and there is a playground as well. The tours run from April 1-May 31, and from August 29-October 31, with the operating hours being from 9:30am to 5pm. The price of admission is $8.50 for adults (17 years +) and $5 for children (7-16). For more information, one can visit their website at www.olentangyindiancaverns.com, or one can call (740)548-7917.
Another interesting day trip that one can take is to the John and Annie Glenn Historic Site and Exploration Center in Zanesville, Ohio. Here guests are greeted by docents who are dressed in the time period during which John Glenn (former astronaut and senator) was growing up. It is a fascinating experience to have docents appear and speak with you as if they actually lived in the appropriate time period. One time I went to visit the site where Abraham Lincoln used to live in Illinois. The docents of that historical site dressed up and behaved as if they were in Lincoln’s era, and they even talked to me as if I lived in that period as well. What a stimulating experience to learn more about history! This is why I would love to go to the John and Annie Glenn Historic Site and Exploration Center. The admission prices are as follows: Adults $7, Seniors and Groups $6, and Students $3.
For those history fans like me, a trip to the Columbus Washboard Company would be another way to experience the past. The Experience Columbus website says that the Columbus Washboard Company is the “only place in the United States that is still producing washboards that are still used by the Amish for washing clothes, as well as by musicians and even in unique furniture.” General admission for adults is $4, $3 for seniors, and $1 for students. Children can enter for free. Tour hours are: 10am, 12pm, and 2pm M-F, and 12pm on Saturdays. For more information, one can contact the Columbus Washboard Company website (www.columbuswashboard.com).
Last but not least there is a place for animal and nature lovers to visit called The Wilds which the Experience Columbus website describes as ” one of the largest and most innovative conservation centers in the world.” In this environment one can comfortably observe animals in their natural surroundings from either an open air safari train, or a closed safari transport. This guarantees the guests’ safety while allowing the animals to run and play without being cramped in enclosures. Another amazing aspect of The Wilds is that they offer evening safari trips. One has dinner before being taken on an evening excursion to see the animals. The Wilds is open seven days a week during June, July, and August. For more information about times and prices, one can call the Wilds at (740)638-5030.
I would love to travel to Columbus to visit all of these attractions, especially the Ohio Caverns and the Olentangy Indian Caverns. The Columbus Washboard Company also appeals to the historian in me. As one can see, Columbus has a lot to offer everyone for every interest, and it would definitely be a great vacation spot for the whole family.