Though not a prime tourist destination of Ohio, Toledo offers many things to do and attractions suitable for families, couples, and singles of all ages. The town was originally founded in 1883 and was named after the town of Toledo, Spain, a city renowned for its craftsmanship in swords and knives. In homage to their namesake, the city’s paper is named “The Toledo Blade” and the town also held the first Sister Cities International relationship in North America, which began in 1931. Aside from it’s relation to the Spanish city, it was also a historically renowned place for being part of a strip of land that was fought over in what is now called the Ohio-Michigan war. The so-called war, which took place only two years after Toledo was founded, began because both the state of Ohio and territory of Michigan wanted the Lake Erie ports that were used for Trade with some of the eastern states. It lasted a very short time and spanned only a few small skirmishes that had bloodless results because the militias sent to battle were lost in swamplands and were unable to find each other. Eventually the land and the town were given to Ohio and Michigan, as a compromise, received the land that is now part of its upper peninsula. Today this battle is considered to be the origin of the Ohio State-Michigan football rivalry.
The first on our list of things to do is world-famous Toledo Museum of Art, founded in 1901 and housing over 30,000 works of art from the 19th and 20th century. Some of the well-known artists whose work resides there include van Gogh, Picasso, Rembrandt, Monet, and Degas. In addition the museum also features a Glass Pavilion built in 2006, that showcases glass art in connection to Toledo’s reputation as the “glass city” because of its large glass industry. The museum has free admission and tours, art demonstrations, curator gallery talks, and art classes are available throughout the year. It is located at 2445 Monroe St.
For the animal lovers, another great attraction is the Toledo Zoo, which holds over 9,000 mammals including 750 different species as well as a large aquarium and insect exhibit with a butterfly garden. Some of the featured animals include polar bears, elephants, hippos, and tigers; it also houses several endangered species. The zoo holds seasonal events including summer concerts, the Animal Egg Hunt (for Easter), a Party for the Planet Earth Day Celebration, natural feedings, and animal demonstrations. In the winter, it is known for its Zoo Lights display in which thousands of lights are strung some depicting animals. The admission cost of the zoo is $11.00 for adults and $8.00 for children (2-7) and seniors (60+) but many discount packages are available as well. It is located at two separate addresses at opposite ends of the zoo: 2700 Broadway and 2 Hippo Way.
Because it’s lakeside location, the city has many days when outdoor activities are not an option, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t things to do. Another great attraction for families is Cosi, also known as the Imagination Station, located at the intersection of Summit and Adams St. in downtown Toledo. It is considered to be an unconventional science center which offers hundreds of hands-on, seasonally changing exhibits which are both educational and fun. The admission price is $9.00 for adults (13 and older), $7.00 for children (3-12), free for children under 3, and $8.00 for seniors (65 and older). Additionally, Lucas County residents can come on Saturdays and enjoy free admission for their children (12 and under), if they are accompanied by an adult and bring the proper identification. More information on admission discounts and the hours of operation for Cosi can be found on their website.
On the positive side of living near Lake Erie, Toledo residents have access to Maumee Bay, a sort of combined country club and lake resort. It is located inside of a 1,850-acre state park at 1750 State Park Rd. #2 in Oregon, about a 20-30 minute drive from Toledo. Maumee Bay offers cabin and lodge rental as well as a water front hotel as accommodations for guests and visitors. The cabins and lodges are dispersed around the area in a more rustic environment and are often booked very far in advance. The hotel offers it’s own Water’s Edge Restaurant, massage therapy for guests, an outdoor pool, and of course the local beach.
There are many things to do while visiting Maumee Bay. There is also a large golf course that has been used as a regional qualifying course for the US Open; hiking and walking trails that are used for cross-country skiing in the winter; a marina that can accommodate up to 24 boats; local fishing docks for Lake Erie, the “walleye capital of the world;” sports courts for basketball, tennis, and beach volleyball; and special events featuring musical groups and other entertainment.
Last on our list of things to do in Toledo is going out to eat at one of the town’s multitude of restaurants. The city is known have the most restaurants per capita of its size and offers a large variety of ethnic foods. One of the most famous eateries in Toledo is Tony Packo’s, home to the Hungarian hot dog. It is located in downtown Toledo at 1902 Front St. and is considered to be a local favorite. Additionally, the restaurant hones a strange tradition of signing hot dog buns, which originally began when Burt Reynolds came to eat there in 1970’s. Today there are hundreds of hot dog buns in glass cases with signatures from many celebrities and a few presidential candidates. Another famous location is down on the docks of the Maumee River, which features a string of up-scale restaurants that offer Mexican, Italian, Seafood, Cajun, and bistro-style menus. The Docks are located on the east side of Toledo on Boers-Boyer Way.