COLUMBUS — As the seasons change and the temperature drops, friends, family and visitors will travel to Ohio to spend time with loved ones and celebrate the holidays together. Ohio offers spectacular experiences to revel in holiday cheer while recreating childhood memories and introducing unforgettable new traditions. From whimsical tours to invigorating winter hikes and breathtaking light displays, Ohio has a wide array of holiday activities and attractions inherent to the Find It Here. experience!
“The holidays are all about spending time with family and friends, and Ohio. Find It Here. brings Ohioans and visitors together to share in memorable experiences throughout the state,” said Matt MacLaren, director of Ohio. Find It Here. “Our goal is to inspire seasonal trip ideas that foster old and new traditions and make holiday road trips even more festive.”
To make holiday trip planning seamless, Ohio. Find It Here. launched its 2019 Holidays In Ohio microsite, www.Ohio.org/Holidays, to assist Ohioans and visitors in finding seasonal experiences available across the state. Holidays In Ohio provides ideas for only-in-Ohio experiences and events that allow family and friends to spend time together this holiday season.
The following Ohio. Find It Here. experiences are just a sampling of the many opportunities awaiting Ohioans and visitors this holiday season. Be sure to share your holiday memories and adventures this season by tagging #HolidaysInOhio and #OhioFindItHere.
Only in Ohio Experiences
Castle Noel, Open Year-Round (Medina)
The perfect day trip for Christmas enthusiasts, Castle Noel is known as “America’s largest year-round indoor Christmas entertainment attraction.” Teeming with excitement and the spirit of the holiday season, Castle Noel houses the world’s largest private collection of Hollywood Christmas movie props, costumes, and more – you’re sure to feel as if you’re on a Christmas movie set.
A Christmas Story House and Museum, Open Year-Round (Cleveland)
Relive scenes from this treasured movie as you tour the home from the “You’ll shoot your eye out!” classic, A Christmas Story. Decode a secret message in the upstairs bathroom or see if you can climb under the sink just like little brother Randy. After visiting the house, swing by the museum gift shop for your very own leg lamp!
WinterFest at King’s Island, through Dec. 31 (Mason)
Participate in an unforgettable experience during WinterFest at King’s Island, where the amusement park transforms into ten alluring and dazzling winter wonderlands. Ice skate on the Royal Fountain, sample holiday treats, enjoy live shows and rides, and watch your loved ones’ faces light up in wonder and amazement as they look up at the park’s Eiffel Tower transformed into an ornately decorated 314-foot tall Christmas tree.
Lebanon Horse-Drawn Carriage Parade, Dec. 7 (Lebanon)
Head to Lebanon for a magical horse-drawn carriage parade! Each year, this free event spreads holiday cheer through much more than carriage rides. Shop in downtown Historic Lebanon, listen to Christmas carolers, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and take a train ride to the North Pole on the North Pole Express at this fun, family-friendly parade and festival.
Charming Town Festivities
Christmas Candlelight Walking Tour in Granville, Dec. 7 (Granville)
Small town charm and a candlelit stroll are the perfect way to welcome the holiday season! Feast your eyes on more than 70 Christmas trees all decorated differently during this walking tour in Granville. The kids will love hopping up on Santa’s knee and meeting Mrs. Claus with the stunning backdrop of the charming downtown. New this year is a Christmas Market featuring all the décor and gifts to fill your stocking, and your heart, with holiday cheer.
Steubenville Nutcracker Village & Advent Market, through Jan. 4 (Steubenville)
Nothing says Christmas like “The Nutcracker” and Steubenville’s Nutcracker Village & Advent Market is an inventive display of life-sized (some stretching up to 6 feet) figures, all uniquely hand-painted. Now in its fifth year, Nutcracker Village will feature more than 100 nutcrackers, an outdoor advent market with products from local makers and even a nutcracker-themed parade.
Dickens Victorian Village, throughJan. 1 (Cambridge)
Holiday travelers are invited to stroll the more than 95 scenes featuring 186 life-like characters representing classic scenes from the Victorian-era in Cambridge’s annual event. While you’re in the area, explore the charming streetscape, striking historic architecture and eclectic shops and eateries of this small-town treasure.
Ohio Holiday Lights Trail
Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo, through Dec. 31 (Toledo)
See more than one million lights sparkle in the eyes of loved ones at the Toledo Zoo this year. In addition to lights, 200 illuminated animals will greet you as you wander through the zoo during Lights Before Christmas. Don’t forget to check out the award-winning Big Tree during your visit!
Kingdom of Lights at Landoll’s Mohican Castle, through Jan. 5 (Loudonville)
Embrace the magic of the holidays with Kingdom of Lights at Landoll’s Mohican Castle in Loudonville. The castle is decorated with more than 100,000 lights and Christmas music plays throughout the grounds as you stroll. Be sure to snap a few photos in front of their outdoor Christmas trees for a fun, annual tradition!
Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, through Jan. 5 (Columbus)
Experience millions of LED lights shining bright at the Columbus Zoo’s annual Wildlights. You can also catch two animated light shows (alternating every 30 minutes), “Candela: The Evolution of Light” and “Holiday Cheer.” And the main man himself – Santa Claus – is right at home in the rustic North Pole setting of Santa’s Holiday Home.
Can’t Miss Events
Hayes Train Special, through Jan. 5 (Columbus)
A holiday staple at the Hayes Presidential Library and Museums, this display of model trains winding through a winter wonderland transports visitors to the days of President Rutherford B. Hayes. Blow the train whistle, operate the Ferris wheel and more through a variety of interactive buttons. A favorite for years, the Hayes Train Special attracts families from near and far. You won’t want to miss this unique glimpse into the past!
Polar Express Train Excursion, Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 13-15 (Dennison)
Dress the family in their comfiest pajamas, hop aboard the train and follow along as storytellers read aloud the classic tale of the Polar Express. The Christmas spirit abounds as everyone will enjoy songs, games, and activities while sipping on hot chocolate and snacking on treats. But that’s not all – you’ll see Santa in his workshop, and each child will receive their own special jingle bell.
Ohio. Find It Here., operating within the state of Ohio’s Development Services Agency, works to position Ohio as a destination of choice to enrich lives through authentic travel experiences. The Ohio. Find It Here. brand supports Ohio’s $46 billion tourism industry. For more, visit Ohio.org.