When it comes to absurd roadside attractions, odd museums and more, you can’t get much weirder (or wonderful) than Ohio. Home to the World’s Largest Basket, expansive rock gardens and even a museum dedicated to autographed hot dog buns (seriously, it’s real), this state is sure to please fans of all things bizarre.
Visit these nine one-of-a-kind attractions the next time you’re in Ohio.
The Futuro House (Carlisle)
The Futuro House in Carlisle draws spectators to the site of what looks like a UFO landing. Don’t worry – no real aliens made a pitstop here. It’s actually a private residence, one of 100, that was designed in the 1960s by a Finnish architect as a portable ski chalet. Looking like something out of a Spielberg movie, the shiny pair of silver “flying saucers” is connected by a large duct and identical oval windows that provide a 360° view outside. While you can’t explore the inside, it’s a great spot for a selfie. Just be sure to wear your tinfoil hat!
The World’s Largest Basket (Dresden)
If you’re passing through Dresden, it’s hard to miss the World’s Largest Basket – a seven-story replica of the Longaberger Company’s most popular picnic basket. There’s not much to see here; it is just a giant building shaped like a picnic basket, but it’s a cool spot to stop for a few photos (and maybe have a picnic on the lawn).
Hartman Rock Garden (Springfield)
Springfield’s Hartman Rock Garden is home to more than stones. Among the flowers, fish ponds, and fountains, you’ll find handmade miniature replicas of historic landmarks from across the country, including the White House, Mount Vernon, Independence Hall, and a massive 20,000-stone castle. If you’re lucky enough to drop in during the garden’s annual Tchotchke Palooza in July, the flower beds are filled with dozens of figurines of famous characters and celebrities like Pinocchio and Sitting Bull, all made by the late founder and artist Ben Hartman.
Hot Dog Bun Museum (Toledo)
A love for hot dogs is understandable, but hot dog buns? That’s another story entirely. Located in Toledo, the Hot Dog Bun Museum features a massive collection of hot dog buns signed by celebrities. Tucked away in the popular Hungarian restaurant Packo’s, this bun-signing tradition began with Burt Reynolds in the 1970s. These days, the restaurant’s walls are lined with shrine-like displays of foam hotdog buns inscribed with the autographs of every famous person who’s ever set foot in the place, from Margaret Thatcher to Mr. T.
The Troll Hole (Alliance)
Remember those colorful troll dolls from the ‘80s and ‘90s with their vibrant tufts of colorful hair? Well, in Alliance, Ohio, you’ll find a 14-room museum stuffed to the gills with all things trolls. Known affectionally as The Troll Hole, this fun and funky spot holds the Guinness World Record for the most extensive troll doll collection, but you’ll also find depictions of Nordic trolls and folk art, troll legends and myths, and a whole exhibit dedicated to troll lore in movies! Once you’ve had your fill of cutesy cryptid bridge-dwellers, grab a bite at the Grumpy Troll Café.
Field of Giant Corn Cobs (Dublin)
You’ve never seen a cornfield quite like Field of Giant Corn Cobs in Dublin. Located on what used to be a field of real corn, the permanent art installation is a monument to Ohio’s rich history of agriculture, captured in perfect rows of 6-foot-tall corn cobs. More than 100 supersized cement sculptures stand erect in the field in Frantz Park, waiting for you to feast your eyes on their unpoppable kernels amongst the native Osage Orange trees.
Wyandot Popcorn Museum
Circus tent? Check. Antique popcorn equipment? Check. Cracker Jack collection? Check. The Wyandot Popcorn Museum in popcorn-obsessed Marion explores the niche of roasted kernels with the world’s largest collection of meticulously restored popcorn poppers, vendors, and steam-powered and horse-drawn popcorn wagons dating all the way back to the 1800s. Housed under an old-timey big top tent, it’s one of only two popcorn museums in the world (both of which are somewhat strangely located in Ohio).
World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock (Sugarcreek)
Among the alpine-style chalets and misty mountain murals in Sugarcreek’s Swiss Village sits the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock that once graced the cover of the Guinness Book of World Records, clocking in (ha!) at a whopping 23 feet tall. From April to November, the clock sounds twice every hour when a miniature polka band appears to play a tuba-heavy tune while a pair of three-foot-tall lovers clad in lederhosen dance a jig.
National Barber Museum and Hall of Fame
Discover 6,000 years of barbering at the National Barber Museum and Hall of Fame in Canal Winchester. Here, you’ll find a treasure trove of hair-cutting artifacts, from beautifully maintained barber chairs to antique tools of the trade, like primitive shears and straight razors. See traditional stained glass barber poles, two-speed vibrating massagers that were once considered the pinnacle of cutting-edge technology, and a Hall of Fame recognizing barbers who made significant contributions to the profession!