Located in northwest Ohio, Toledo is surrounded by the Maumee River and the western side of Lake Erie. Despite its small-town feel, Toledo is packed with fun and interesting things to do. From nature to food, and an emerging art scene, you’re guaranteed never to have a dull moment. Here are the top 10 things to do in Toledo Ohio.
1. The Toledo Zoo
Named the #1 Zoo in America in 2014 by USA Today, the Toledo Zoo has a range of unique exhibits. It is the first zoo on Earth to display hippos, as well as the rare Kihani spray toad. Exhibits are themed around different geographical areas like various regions of Africa and the Arctic. Be sure not to miss the reindeer, western lowland gorillas, and African penguins. The zoo additionally features a Science Museum that houses many species of amphibians and insects, and there is also a full-size aquarium.
2. The Toledo Museum of Art
A work of art both inside and out, the Toledo Museum of one of the best things to do in Toledo Ohio. With over 30,000 unique works, the museum features art from the Renaissance, Greek, and Roman periods, as well as Asian and African collections. The highlight is the Glass Pavilion- a work of art in and of itself. Given Travel and Leisure’s Design Award for Best Museum in 2007, the pavilion is made with walls of curved glass, and inside, contains more than 5,000 works of glass art.
3. The Toledo Botanical Garden
With over 60 acres of green space, the Toledo Botanical Garden is a tranquil refuge in the middle of the city. The garden features several smaller, themed gardens, including a rose garden, an herb garden, a perennial garden, and a pioneer garden. There is also an extensive collection of hostas, or plantain lilies. There are sculptures scattered throughout, and each summer the garden is home to a live jazz music concert series.
4. Fifth Third Field
Recently remodeled in 2002, Fifth Third Field has panoramic views of downtown Toledo, and is home to the minor league baseball team, the Toledo Mud Hens. With home games nearly every week during playing season and very reasonable ticket prices, there’s no reason not to come out and support your favorite team! Within the stadium, amenities abound with 2 souvenir shops and 9 distinct restaurants and bars. Make sure to check out the Birdcage Bar and Grill, an all-you-can-eat buffet for less than $20, located on the stadium’s club level.
5. Imagination Station
With over 300 science exhibits, this riverfront museum provides fun for kids and adults alike. Imagination Station has a number of permanent displays that deal with themes of energy, nutrition and exercise, agriculture, perception, and water. There are also daily live science demonstrations, as well as spaces for kids to conduct their own scientific tests and experiments. Don’t miss the high wire cycle, where with a 275-pound counterweight, you’ll be amazed at your ability to ride a bicycle across a high wire, 20 feet off the ground!
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6. Wildwood Preserve Metropark
Once the sprawling estate of Toledo’s Stranahan family, this 493-acre park is now public land, just waiting to be explored. The park is open year-round and features a variety of hiking and biking trails. Be sure to check out the Wildwood Manor House, the 30,000-square foot former home of the Stranahans. Volunteers not only offer free tours of the home, but also host monthly high tea events inside. Also located on the grounds is the historic Oak Grove Schoolhouse, built in 1893.
7. National Museum of the Great Lakes
Located on the banks of the Maumee River, this museum tells the story of the influence of the Great Lakes on the history and development of the region. Expect to find antique memorabilia like engines, rigs, and dishware used on the passenger and cargo ships that once sailed across the Great Lakes. Next to the museum is docked cargo ship Col. James M. Schoonmaker, once the biggest ship on the Great Lakes. Launched in 1911, the ship broke all kinds of cargo records and is now available to tour in the summer months.
8. Maumee Bay Brewing Company
Beer lovers rejoice! Maumee Bay Brewing Co. was one of the first craft beer breweries in Toledo and has since established itself as one of the best. Their most famous brew is Buckeye Beer, whose recipe dates all the way back to 1838. They have 10 other beers on tap in a variety of flavors including Coffee Cream Ale, Blood Orange Imperial Witbier, and Cherry Vanilla Porter. There is also a restaurant on the premises that serves up delicious pub food.
9. Woodlawn Cemetery
Opened in 1876, Woodlawn was one of the first cemeteries in the US to be built outside of a city center. It’s the resting place of several members of the US House of Representatives and Civil War Heroes and is one of the few US cemeteries on the National Register of Historic Places. The property itself is sprawling and green, with over 300 distinct species of trees and over 200 bird species.
10. Tony Packo’s
Fans of hot dogs and the tv show MASH can find just what they’re looking for at Tony Packo’s. Opened in 1932, Tony Packo’s is a Toledo institution famous for its Hungarian hot dogs. Natives of Hungary will note that they’ve never heard of such a specialty, and that’s because original owner Tony Packo invented them himself. The dogs are piled high with a secret spicy meat sauce and served over a bed of pickles. The restaurant’s popularity grew even more after it was referenced in a 1976 episode of MASH.
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