Ohio’s combination of big cities and small towns makes it the perfect place for a student trip. Whether groups are exploring the Roller Coaster Capital of the World or solving scientific equations at the state’s premier science museum, they will love spending time in the Buckeye State.
Museums and Cultural Centers
Columbus Museum of Art
With a spectacular permanent collection and rotating exhibitions that change nearly every month, the Columbus Museum of Art provides a new educational experience on every visit. It’s dedicated to educating the next generation of artists and encouraging curiosity, creativity and cross-cultural connections. Student can engage in a variety of themed tours from a hands-on artistic materials exploration to a French connection program that focuses on Impressionism. Groups can reserve a studio thinking class in which students will be asked to create their own masterpieces, write poetry and prose and work together to adapt to creative challenges.
COSI Columbus is the city’s premier science attraction. Groups are invited to tour the museum and the planetarium, and they can enjoy a National Geographic documentary in the giant screen theater. COSI (Center of Science and Industry) offers 21st Century and Generation Rx labs that engage students in scientific experiments and teach them the science of the human body and prescription medicine. Students can explore the Adventure in the Valley of the Unknown exhibit to solve a mystery that transports them to a remote island from a different era, or they can wander through the museum’s many interactive exhibits.
Armstrong Air and Space Museum
Located in Neil Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta, the Armstrong Air and Space Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the first man to set foot on the moon. Armstrong’s life and legacy paved the way for many great Ohioans, and the museum honors his achievements, as well as those of other astronauts. Students will love exploring the interactive exhibits and futuristic museum grounds. They can experience the thrill of landing a lunar module or space shuttle or attempt to dock the Gemini capsule in any of three simulators. End the tour of the museum with a screening of Apollo 11’s lunar landing in the 56-foot dome theater, a show that will inspire students to shoot for the stars.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Cincinnati’s National Underground Railroad Freedom Center celebrates the history, geography and economics of the Underground Railroad and the people who risked their lives to help end slavery. Not only does the museum discuss slavery and the abolition movement in America 150 years ago, but it teaches children about the ongoing mission of modern abolitionists and the plight of the 27 million people worldwide who are still victims of slavery. Through exhibits, films and presentations, students will explore the root of racial bias and learn how they can help end slavery.
Sunwatch Indian Village and Archaeological Park
Situated on the banks of the Great Miami River in Dayton, Sunwatch Indian Village and Archaeological Park is the original site of an 800-year-old American Indian village. Students can visit Fort Ancient to explore re-creations of traditional dwellings, talk to a real archaeologist and observe ongoing excavation and preservation projects. Five different age-appropriate tours allow students to tour the grounds, discover the history and engage in Native American culture.
Olentangy Indian Caverns
Located just half an hour north of Columbus, Olentangy Indian Caverns offers students the chance to learn about the ancient history and geology of the mostly unexplored caves. Students can tour the winding tunnels and spacious rooms beneath the ground and learn about the American Indians who took shelter in them. They can discover Indian lore and artifacts, or journey above ground to relax at the petting zoo or play a round of miniature golf.
Wildlife and Wild Rides
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
A student trip to Ohio would not be complete without a stop at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Students can take a Wild Encounters Tour that will allow them to get a closer look at the Discovery Reef, Manatee Coast, Giraffe Barn or Animal Health Care Center. They will learn the importance of wildlife conservation while fostering a love of animals. The zoo offers camp-ins for students that want to stay overnight at the zoo, explore after hours and meet animals up-close.
The Wilds, located in Cumberland, is an affiliate of Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Students can take a safari on horseback or in an open-air vehicle to see giraffes, rhinos and other endangered animals. The park allows animals to roam without separate habitats in a large, open-range area. Educational tours include a stop at the carnivore center and a chance to see wild animals in a natural setting.
With 18 world-class roller coasters, multiple thrill rides and an entire water park, Cedar Point in Sandusky is the perfect stop to let students burn off energy and have fun. Students can explore the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit, enjoy live performances or brave Valravn, the tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster in the world. They can host a performance or get involved in any of the festivals and competitions that take place throughout the year. Known as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, this amusement park is one destination that students will never forget.
By Sara Stokes