So, most of you already know that I’m about as dorky as they come. I’m amused by roadside attractions like The World’s Largest Ball of String (Which I haven’t seen YET.) But you get the picture, if it’s offbeat and quirky, I’m totally there. I can’t even remember how the heck I found this random little gem, but if you are into roadside attractions, you MUST make your way to Blanchester to check out this giant horseshoe crab. As you’ll see on the sign below, he is rated as one of the top 5 roadside attractions, and even made a random cameo in Twilight: Eclipse.
On Sweetest Day, I wanted to find a unique and unusual way to celebrate. I looked for all types of randomness, and finally stumbled across the one that felt right. The Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad or for the sake of all things Halloween, was known as the Pumpkin Patch Express.
I had vowed for many years that I was going to ride the train that went through Lebanon, and each year that passed, I still had not. I moved away for awhile, and was sorry that I had never ridden that train. Exactly 2.5 months after I moved back, that is exactly what I did.
It was a chilly fall day, and we explored the immediate area for awhile, while waiting for our train to come.
Today’s post will be about a spot that you may have never heard about in Port Clinton, Ohio. It’s roughly 3.5 hours from Cincinnati, and there is so much to do around there, you can make a weekend of it. We headed down there thinking, “An African Safari in Ohio?? Whaaaat???” Of course we had to go check it out!
I drove onto the land not knowing what to expect. There is a small building off the parking lot next to a fenced area where you can already start to see the animals. We went excitedly inside and paid for our admission. (Check Groupon.com to see if they have any specials. I got a great deal for this one!!) They also list discounts on their page here: http://www.africansafariwildlifepark.com/public/prices/discounts/index.cfm. Unlike most touristy places, they start you out in the gift shop filled with assorted post cards, stuffed animals, pop and candy and then you are on your way through the Walking Safari.
I am such a big kid… My boyfriend and I went to Crestline for an event and we passed through Mansfield on the way. I knew the carousel was there so I sweet talked him into going with me… ok actually I threw a fit like a child saying that I wanted to go nooowwwww!!!! He’s so patient and tolerant. 🙂
We walked in, and I was whisked away to simpler times. They have a neat gift shop and rides are only $1 per person or $5 for 6 rides! After you purchase your ticket you get to go to the animal of your choice. They all had on masks for Halloween, and I picked a rabbit with some super long ears. Boyfriend hopped on the animal next to mine and I laughed like a giddy five year old as the organ came to life and my rabbit hopped up and down to the music.
I have lived in Ohio for the majority of my life, and I’m sad to say that I had never heard about Yellow Springs! It was a little over an hour away from Cincinnati, and talk about CHARM!!! At first there wasn’t much going on in the area leading up to it, so I didn’t know what to expect, but as we got closer the artsy factor started to jump WAY up. Loved it!!
When you first head into town, you know exactly the moment you enter Yellow Springs. Adorned in the fork of the road is the word YELLOW SPRINGS made into a nifty sculpture! It is colorful, eye catching, and you just know good things are coming. I am personally one who loves old creepy buildings too, and we passed a great one that I want to learn more details about. As you enter town, you start to see little shops lining the side of the road and it’s hard to know where to start!
When I first heard about this place years ago I couldn’t believe it was true. A man, almost single handedly built a castle… in Loveland.. Yeah right. How come I had never heard of this so called, castle? I quipped to my well intentioned friend. He said, “Um maybe because you grew up in Hamilton and they don’t have any castles there, jerk.”
I had to agree, touche’ friend of mine.. there is in fact no castle in Hamilton that I’m aware of. So we jumped in the car and headed down to check out this interesting place. Now it was a mission, he didn’t care what I thought of the castle.. it was simply an, “I told you so,” sort of moment.
Most of you probably drive past this little slice of peace on the daily and never even realized it was here. I’m familiar with many unique little places in the area and this one even slipped past me! Finding the place was pretty easy but it’s tucked back on a hillside so even if you passed right by it, you’d only see the front of it, and you will probably miss the gravel driveway on the first visit. When you pull in, there is a big open lot next to a house and you’ll see the sign telling you about the place.
I really had no great reasons to “start a blog..” or so I thought. Turns out I have this knack for traveling on the cheap, and I love to find places that are off the beaten path. I used to own and operate a haunted tourism business, so this just feels like a normal transition. Travel is amazing, and you learn so much about yourself and the world around you. I realize that it’s not always possible to get away though, so I’d like to focus on places that aren’t vacation like, but more to curb some wanderlust.