The headquarters of the nonprofit Ohio Historical Society, the Ohio Historical Center abounds with exhibits and activities that showcase the state's diverse social, natural, and archeological history. Built in 1970, the museum's towering Brutalist edifice is a piece of history itself, lauded as "bold" and "imaginative” by the American Institute of Architects. Inside, a 15,000-square-foot gallery explores pivotal moments in the Buckeye State’s past, examining everything from Ohio’s role in the Civil War to Boomer Esiason’s stint as Secretary of State. A natural-history exhibit regales guests with interactive displays of animals, plants, and geography. In addition to its permanent exhibits, the center hosts an ever-changing selection of featured exhibits and special events.
Outside the museum sits Ohio Village, a re-creation of a Civil War–era town. Costumed villagers bustle about the square, performing chores and activities of the era, such as churning butter and checking wooden PalmPilots. The town's 15 buildings showcase the height of 19th-century architecture and include a Gothic-revival church, a large town hall, and an open market. The village is also the home of the renowned Ohio Village Muffins, who regularly compete in games of baseball played by 19th-century rules.
Although The Canal Fulton Glassworks opened in 2009, the timber-framed structure that it inhabits was built nearly two centuries ago. Inside, the business has transformed its historic dwelling into a modern-day showcase of Ohio-based artists, with more than 3,000 handmade works on display, from glass and ceramics to furniture and paintings. The gallery also shares its artistic prowess with the community during hands-on classes, including glass-making workshops that focus on paperweights, pendants, and beads.
Facilitating the fan-delighting collision of comic-book universes and intergalactic heroes, Wizard World organizes Comic Cons and pop-culture conventions across the continent. At each event, stars from the silver screen set down roots in booths across the convention floor, wielding markers for autographs and their photo-op-ready smiles. Past guests have run the gamut from William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and the cast of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Away from the crowds, stars also participate in talks and Q&A panels as part of the event’s programming. Along with beloved actors, Wizard World’s conventions grant guests a chance to interact with writers and artists as well as partake in activities such as gaming tournaments and costume contests.
As the oldest historic tour on the national register, the German Village Society's Annual Haus und Garten Tour sends feet pattering across 233 acres of historic landmarks, enchanting gardens, and award-winning restorations. A year ago, the daylong celebration drew a total of more than 6,000 visitors, and this year, an even larger crowd is expected to be on hand to ogle and coax autographs from the 13 homes and gardens scheduled for display.
Tour-takers can meander along the route at their own pace, stopping to explore the shops and eateries in the marketplatz or to peek into classic abodes, which homeowners have transformed into chic, opulent spaces ideal for modern living or showcasing the latest trends in wool socks for coffee tables. In addition to the lineup of architectural stars, the tour will also be stocked with various live performances, including a rendition of The Scarlet Pimpernel in Schiller Park at 2 p.m.
Challenge Nation pioneered the urban-adventure race with a race season that includes visits to 35 cities across the country. Each scavenger hunt is personalized to the hosting city, exploring its many diverse neighborhoods with a series of clues that would test even the most skilled children's-book detective. The teams—comprised of at least two people—vie for a $300 first-place prize. The Amazing Race–style competition rewards quick wits and wise planning over physical fitness, so the best way to prepare is by doing logic puzzles while eating Funyuns and lounging in a La-Z-Boy. The top 25 teams qualify, the top five receiving free entry, to compete in the national championship, which rewards winning teams with a $5,000 cash prize.