One aspect of small town travel I absolutely love, is discovery in your own backyard. In Muskingum County, OH The discovery was not just for My Town readers, but it was also for My Town! My Town is based out of Fairfield County, and Muskingum is only two counties away. This was truly an eye-opening trip, because of the beauty, history, and experiences so close to home. If you live in Ohio, I hope you will take advantage of these great locations for a day trip. If not, I hope that you can make Muskingum County a destination for your next road trip!
There are so many wonderful aspects of Muskingum County to explore, and I invite you to visit and find your favorites. Listed below are the Top Twelve (because we couldn’t keep it to ten) of what stood out to My Town as can’t miss locations.
1. The Wilds
If you haven’t heard of The Wilds by now, you may be living under a rock. If you’re the rock dweller, have no fear, I’m here with information for you! The Wilds is truly an incredible, world-class conservation facility located in Muskingum County. With over 10,000 acres it’s the largest conservation center in North America. They specialize in housing threatened and endangered animals from all over the world, and the animals roam free on The Wilds grounds.
You can take Open Air and Wild Side Safari Tours to see the animals up close. All the while, being educated throughout the tour from The Wilds fun guides. You can also stay at The Wilds, they offer incredibly unique experiences from Yurts to camp outs, in addition to many other event-based offerings. My Town’s favorite- Open Air Safari Tour and camel visits right next to the bus!
Did you know that there is an entire historic block in Zanesville, dedicated to preserving the history of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society, and the homes of known abolitionists? The Stone Academy is not just a museum, but a collection of homes in an area that was part of the underground railroad. Currently, you can take a great walking tour in small groups, stay socially distant, and view these historic homes while hearing their incredible stories.
Once Ohio restrictions are lifted, make sure to take the tour through the Putnam Underground Interpretive Center. Here you can actually see where slaves hid in these homes, and learn about their journey through Muskingum County. Truly a remarkable place to visit and learn.
There is no better place for ice cream in Muskingum County than Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl in Zanesville! Serving the area for over 70 years, this treat destination makes over 600 gallons of ice cream a week! You cannot go wrong with anything on the menu, but the peach has some special ingredients My Town loved, and the cherry cordial uses three different types of cherries and chocolate!
In addition, they have an awesome retro vibe in the building, due to its longevity. They also serve a wide variety of homemade dining options, legendary nuts, take home cakes, and more. It is currently on its second owner, who was trained by Tom himself, and has no interest in changing the iconic location’s food choices.
Explore the life of one of Ohio’s favorite, and probably most famous sons- John Glenn. This is not a typical museum, because it’s John’s actual childhood home. The home is set up as it would have been when John lived there in the 1940’s. The museum additions showcase John’s many lunar and senate accomplishments.
When entering you are greeted by John’s mother, who is quite possibly the best tour guide/historical actress I ever met. She takes you through the house, and explains not only parts of the Glenn’s life, but interesting facts surrounding their situation during wartime, and the state of the world. Her storytelling was so compelling many in our group were brought to tears. To experience the museum yourself just a make an appointment. They are even doing small dinner tours.
Had the absolute pleasure of meeting Visit Zanesville staff for lunch at Bryan Place in Zanesville! Loved the atmosphere of this historic home/former YWCA. It is now a restaurant, event center, and even a furniture store! If you like to eat and shop while visiting a new town, you not only can do both at Bryan Place, but I guarantee it will be unlike any other shopping experience.
Zanesville’s Famous Y-Bridge was completed in 1902, and had three predecessors in the 1800’s. It is an incredibly important historical landmark and has been associated with famous shows and individuals from Amelia Earhart to Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Its most important historical role was creating a crossing of the Muskingum along the National Road.
The National Road we now know as U.S. 40, was the first major highway in the U.S. It was built in 1818, began in Cumberland Maryland, and went 600 miles to Vandalia, Illinois. The struggles and triumphs of this feat are immense. If you love U.S Road-tripping, you have to learn about the National Road’s history, the route, and what places you can visit today. The best place to start is at the National Road and Zane Grey Museum right in Muskingum County.
Where to eat in Muskingum County? There are several great choices, but the top of the list are the Adornetto’s family of restaurants. My Town had the pleasure of dining at the Old Market House Inn- a British themed pub style atmosphere, with incredible homemade dishes. Pictured is the special the night My Town dined- sea bass with caramelized bacon over a bed of corn chowder! We also had their famous homemade chips- crispy, hot, and just a little soft in the middle. You cannot stop eating them!
The family also owns Adornetto’s Pizza, which is a feature on the Top 100 from Pizza Today, and Giacomo’s Bread and More. If you don’t get a chance to have lunch at Giacomo’s you can still have their homemade bread at the Old Market House Inn. This is a three in one for My Town’s Top Twelve of Muskingum County
The man who started an arts movement in Zanesville- Alan Cottrill. Why is the Alan Cottrill Scultpure Studio and Museum the number one tourist attraction in Zanesville? There are several reasons.
1. Alan has created the largest body of work of any living sculptor in the world.
2. You get to see over 400 bronze sculptures ranging from history and sport figures, to animals and even Alan himself!
3. Many of the figures you will see are life-size, or larger!
4. His work can be seen in the U.S. Capitol building.
5. It’s just so cool, you have to see it to believe it!
But the best part is meeting Alan. You get a glimpse into his passion for the human figure and learn about how he followed his passion to get to where he is today. Alan is also the spark that helped start the thriving Artists’ Colony now in downtown Zanesville.
Great places to visit, learn, create, and be inspired can be found all over the town. Click here to learn more.
What an incredibly unique experience to stay at an Alpaca Farm! Spring Acres is Southeastern Ohio’s largest Suri Alpaca Farm, offering you the chance get up close with the Alpaca Farm lifestyle. You can even stay in their beautiful Bed and Breakfast and get more of the Suri Alpacas, the serenity of the farm, and education about the Suri Rescue. This is definitely a unique experience, only to be found in Muskingum County!
Have you ever seen a Sternwheeler either in a museum, in a movie? Or maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who has seen one up close. In any event, The Sternwheeler is an iconic river boat of the past, and when you visit Muskingum County you can ride a genuine historic Sternwheeler- The Lorena. On your trip you will experience history up close while making your way up the Historic Muskingum Water Trail. A truly a relaxing, fun, and educational venture that will leave you with life-long memories of Muskingum County.
What is the most famous potato chip in Ohio? Conn’s! Created by Ida Conn in 1935, Conn’s Potato Chips has become one of Ohio’s favorite snacks. You can experience Conn’s up close, by taking a tour of the manufacturing plant. Yep, peeling, frying, salting, you get to see how it’s all done up close. In addition, the best part of the tour is you can get fresh made chips hot off the conveyor belt!
Personally, I think this is awesome. You get to see how a quality product is made, and it’s put into a signature tin for you to take home. What a great experience.
Click here to read information about tours, keep in mind current COVID regulations could alter tours temporarily.
This is the first Brewery to operate in Zanesville since prohibition in 1918. Started in 2006, this brewpub is dedicated to its community, hosting charity events and supporting local businesses. All beer is made on site, and all ingredients including their specialty pizzas are locally sourced. A great place to stop, relax, and have some fun while exploring historic Putman, where Weasel Boy is located.
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