Close to home
Are you planning to spend a few days in our area? Let us provide you with some suggestions about interesting things to do in our neighboring communities. Our area abounds with activities for all ages and interests.
The Van Wert area has much to offer individuals and families when it comes to fun, entertainment, historical sites, and the arts. Conveniently located between the metropolitan centers of Toledo, Lima, Dayton and Fort Wayne, it affords families extended entertainment opportunities within a 2-hour drive. Make Van Wert your over-night destination to enjoy an evening of serenity with reasonably priced lodging and restaurants. Here are a few of the many area attractions.
FALL FAMILY FUN
We invite you to enjoy the many great events scheduled for fall in Van Wert. But if you have the time to spend a few days leaf-peeping, attending autumn events, and having a great outdoor adventure, we would encourage you to consider making Van Wert your over-night stopping place. Within an hour's drive, you can visit many exciting fall attractions, then return to Van Wert and enjoy a meal in one of our local restuarants and stay the night in a local hotel, and set out the next day in another direction for another great time. Here are just a few of the many fall excursions available for you:
MINSTER (OH) OKTOBERFEST- 39 miles south of Van Wert
A celebration that brings thousands of visitors to Minster to experience true German heritage. There's plenty of great German food, music, games, contests, rides, craft show, and a fantastic Oktoberfest parade. Minster Oktoberfest is always held the first weekend of the first Sunday in October.
KENDALLVILLE (IN) APPLE FESTIVAL - 67 miles northwest of Van Wert
Hundreds of vendors and upwards of 60,000 in attendance over the two-day, two-location event - the original fairground location and the downtown historic area "Main Street Village." Visitors to this annual event are sure to find many wonderful treats and treasures! Kendallville's Apple Festival is held annually the first weekend in October.
GRAND RAPIDS (OH) APPLEBUTTER FEST - 68 miles north of Van Wert
Always held the second Sunday of October, this festival features Heritage Craftsmen, juried crafts, entertainment, great food, vintage farm equipment, re-enactment groups and pioneer demonstrations, the traditional apple butter stir, and shops brimming with goodies.
WALK WITH NATURE ALONG THE MIAMI-ERIE CANAL - 28 miles southeast of Van Wert
Take a hike down the historic Miami-Erie Canal in St. Marys (OH) and enjoy the beautiful scenery and nature along the way. This walk is always planned for the third Sunday in October.. For more information call 419-394-4611.
AUTUMN FESTIVAL AT BRUMBAUGH FRUIT FARM -67 miles south of Van Wert
Saturdays and Sundays in Septejber and October. Entertainment for the entire family can be found at "Darke County's Agricultural Playground"! Activities include... hayrides to the Kinda Kooky Korn maze and pumpkin patch, as well as Monster Mountain, Storybook Forest, Ghost Town Stage, Grandpa's Fun Acres (petting zoo and playground for the kids, young and old), Willy Worm's Wagon Express, Kid's Korral, Ole' Fishin' Hole (complete with pond and campfire sites), Farmer's Daughter Bakery and Brumbaugh's Market can be explored on this family-owned and operated farm .
FALL ON THE FARM - 58 miles north of Van Wert
Family fun awaits visitors young and old as Sauder Village celebrates Fall on the Farm! Guests will have the opportunity to take a step back in time and help prepare the farm for the winter ahead. From making noodles and butter to decorating pumpkins, exploring a straw tunnel, watching farming demonstrations, participating in a spelling bee or enjoying the Harvest Home Festival in the church... there are special activities for all to enjoy. All this happens on the second Sunday in October.
GREAT ZOO HALLOWEEN - 44 miles west of Van Wert
Enjoy a merry, not scary, Halloween at the Fort Wayne (IN) Children's Zoo! Kids collect candy along the darkened paths, which are decorated with thousands of pumpkins! Visit any evening the last two weeks in October.
North of Van Wert
Historic Sauder Village Located 60 miles north of Van Wert in Archbold, Ohio, this is a living history village featuring costumed guides and working craftsmen everyday late April through October. The village also houses the Doughbox Bakery and the Barn Restaurant. For more information see their website at www.saudervillage.org
Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation, Inc. NWORRP is unique among railroad groups in that they incorporate a diversity of interests - from model size, to quarter-scale, to full scale. They believe each aspect communicates the importance railroads were to our national and local history, and combining all of these interests together allows a better understanding of the positive impact railroads have in our everyday lives. The NWORRP is located near Findlay, Ohio, 62 miles northeast of Van Wert. Additional information can be found at their website www.nworrp.org
East of Van Wert
The MacDonell House in downtown Lima, Ohio, a short 30 miles east of Van Wert, is a real treasure. Located next door to the Allen County Museum, this 1890's Victorian mansion is a must see with more than 15 rooms furnished in great detail. This home and its decor are reminiscent of the great wealth brought into Allen County during the oil boom era. Features include: beautiful parquet floors, intricately hand-carved woodwork throughout, a two-story stained glass window accented by a grand staircase, a rare Viennese painting on a cobweb, a Wooten cabinet desk, an albino wild game and trophy room and so much more! For more information visit www.allencvb.lima.oh.us
South of Van Wert
Grand Lake St. Marys is a manmade lake located just west of St. Marys, Ohio. The lake covers 13,500 acres in Auglaize and Mercer counties. Grand Lake St. Marys is the largest inland lake in Ohio in terms of land area. It was constructed in the early 1800's as a reservoir for the Miami and Erie Canal. In the 1890's oil was discovered in the area, and oil derricks were set up in the lake. In 1949, it was made one of Ohio's first state parks. The lake and the surrounding state park are a popular site for recreational fishing and camping, and there are four swimming beaches. Grand Lake St. Marys is easily reached by driving south from Van Wert to Celina, Ohio, a mere 23 miles. Visit www.seemore.org for additional information.
Bicycle Museum of America located in New Bremen about 34 miles south of Van Wert, displays over 300 bicycles, the core of which were the Schwinn family collection formerly displayed at the Navy Pier in Chicago. With its total collection numbering over 600 bicycles, the Bicycle Museum of America is the largest private collection in the world open to the public. Have your picture taken atop a big wheel bicycle, a fun stop for young and old alike. Visit their web site at www.bicyclemuseum.com for more information.
Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum A short drive of 50 miles can put you on the moon. Named in honor of local native, Neil Armstrong, first man to set foot on the moon, this museum in Wapakoneta chronicles Ohio's contributions to the history of space flight. Among the items on display are a F5D Sky Lancer, the Gemini VIII spacecraft, Apollo 11 artifacts and a moon rock. In the museum's Astro-theater, multimedia presentations of the sights and sounds of space unfold against a starry background. www.ohiohistory.org/places/armstron will provide you with more information.
Fort Recovery State Museum, 39 miles south of Van Wert in Fort Recovery, Ohio, is the site of the two most dramatic Indian battles in American history. Museum features Wayne soldiers, a lifelike warrior, battle descriptions and one of the largest Indian artifact collections on display in Ohio. On the grounds are two reconstructed blockhouses, a connecting stockade and the Greenville Treaty Line marker. A 103’ monument stands to remember the 900+ soldiers that died here and an oak tree to remember the Native Americans. Other attractions are a log home, blacksmith shop, historical walkway, local walk-by museum and a state park. For more information you can visit www.fortrecoverymuseum.com
Garst Museum Located 55 miles south of Van Wert, the museum features the largest known collection of memorabilia on Annie Oakley; memorabilia and artifacts from the world famous radio broadcaster Lowell Thomas, along with historic artifacts relating to Anthony Wayne and the Treaty of Greene Ville, and Native American artifacts. Other wings in the museum include a village of shops, a wing of early American furnishings, pioneer life and military uniforms, as well as an early Indianapolis 500 race car built in Greenville. More information can be found at www.GarstMuseum.org
Famous Old Time Music Company If you like bluegrass music, this is a must stop for you. Located just east of Wapakoneta in the old United Local School building on U. S. Rte. 33, they offer new and used instruments, lessons, repairs, appraisals, accessories, books, and both audio and video recordings. They have a monthly "Bluegrass in the Cornfield" concert series in the Boatwhistle Memorial Hall. Good food on site allows concert patrons to enjoy a full day of music without leaving the comfort of the Hall. There is also a small stringed instrument museum displaying piccolo banjos, bowl back mandolins, and lots of unique, rarely seen instrument. Find out more about this attraction by logging onto their website at www.fotmc.com
Fort Wayne, Indiana Fort Wayne, Indiana, the second largest metropolitan area in Indiana, is located 35 miles west of Van Wert. There you will find many adventures awaiting your entire family. A sampling of these experiences would include the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo ( www.kidszoo.org ); Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory (www.botanicalconservatory.org ); and Science Central ( www.sciencecentral.org ). Fort Wayne also provides opportunities for attending theatrical productions and concerts at the Embassy Centre (www.embassycentre.org ) and sporting events at the Memorial Coliseum (www.memorialcoliseum.com ).
Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum and the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States The city of Auburn, Indiana, 52 miles northwest of Van Wert is the home to two of the finest museums in the United States dedicated to transportation. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum has more than 100 antique, vintage, classic, and special interest cars, from horseless carriages of the nineteenth century to muscle cars of the present. To find more information about this museum visit their website at www.acdmuseum.org or call them at 260-925-1444. The National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States focuses on post-WWII automobiles, trucks and engines of all years and automotive toys and models. Over 1000 automotive exhibits and thousands of toys and models are on display. Additional information can be found at www.natmus.com or phone them at 260-925-9100.
Grabill, Indiana Nestled in the midst of a large settlement of Old Order Amish, Grabill, located just outside of Fort Wayne and 46 miles northwest of Van Wert, offers history, culture, wonderful restaurants and unique shops and businesses with special items and collectibles. The Amish go about their daily shopping and business in the Grabill community and are especially friendly and helpful to their out-of-town guests. An exciting Country Fair is held the weekend after Labor Day each fall and special Country Christmas activities are observed during November and December. For more information you can visit www.grabill.net