Seeing historical sites through up close and personal visits is the perfect way to get kids excited about local history. You’ll find a range of inspiring historical sites located close to home. The area in and around Westerville features a range of museums, parks, and other sites that expand your understanding of history, so you can easily plan a day out and about in the area with the family.
Whether your kiddos are constantly reaching for history books and stories or you’re looking for a new way to get them interested in learning about the past, this area makes it easy. Not sure where to start? Crème de la Crème of Westerville has you covered. We’ve put together this list of seven sites practically in our own backyard that will have you and the kids eager to keep learning about local history.
Westerville History Center and Museum
The Westerville History Center and Museum is a great place to go with the kids to get a glimpse into local history. The museum features historical collections and learning experiences that give access to the past, broadening the community’s understanding of itself and how it exists in the world.
Westerville played a big role in shaping American history through Underground Railroad activities and anti-alcohol efforts, and the museum lets you explore this legacy through themed exhibitions and artifacts. Walk in during open hours, or make an appointment to view the Historical Collections. The museum also created a self-guided walking tour with more than 40 points of interest. You’ll find the Westerville History Center and Museum at 110 S. State St.
Everal Barn and Homestead
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Everal Barn and Homestead is a beautiful spot to check out right in the heart of Westerville. You can rent the Everal Barn and/or the Homestead for various events throughout the year, so if you’re looking for a unique, picturesque setting for a wedding, reception, corporate outing, family reunion, or other gathering, add this local site to your list.
You can also travel back in time on a historic walking tour of the barn and homestead. You’ll find informational signs throughout the Park, giving you insight into the history of the location and how the buildings and land were used. These tours are free. Visit Everal Barn and Homestead at 60 N. Cleveland Ave.
First Responders Park
Head over to Westerville’s First Responders Park when you’re looking for a quiet space to reflect and learn with the kids. The park includes a memorial wall for fallen heroes, a quieter space for reflection, and more. First dedicated in 2010, First Responders Park includes a centerpiece feature known as C-40, a section of steel from the World Trade Center’s north tower that fell on September 11, 2001.
In 2011, the City dedicated a privately funded sculpture to honor a fallen Westerville fire fighter who was killed battling a fire in Ohio in 1998. The park also has plans for a permanent police memorial. Find the park at 374 W. Main St.
Astronaut Grove Park
Astronaut Grove Park is another Westerville park offering a view into history. The 2-acre public park memorializes those who have lost their lives during space exploration. The park was dedicated in 1988.
You’ll find several plaques with information about the park, which was originally created to honor those who lost their lives in the Challenger accident. Small star-shaped plaques through the brick walking areas list the names of people who were killed in the Apollo 1 and Challenger accidents. Astronaut Grove Park is located at 290 W. Main St.
Orange Johnson House Museum
Visit nearby Worthington to check out the Orange Johnson House Museum. There, you and the kiddos will take a trip back in time to 19th century Worthington thanks to one of the oldest residences in Ohio still standing in its original spot. This property gives an interesting glimpse into Worthington’s pioneer and Federal periods.
The oldest part was build in 1811, demonstrating pioneer architecture. The house includes period furniture, including some pieces with connections to the families and activities in early Worthington. Orange Johnson bought the property in 1816, adding a stately Federal-style addition. Check out the exhibition rooms on the lower level for rotating exhibits, too. The Orange Johnson House Museum is located at 956 High St. in Worthington.
Jeffers Mound is another amazing historical site to explore in Worthington. Under the Worthington Historical Society’s care since 1974, the prehistoric mound is the only remaining part of a larger earthworks complex that once occupied the area.
Archeologists and historians believe the Hopewell people built the earthworks between 100 BC and AD 400, though archeologists have discovered signs of human habitation in this area from as far back as 8,000 BC. The surface of the mound is eroded easily, so make sure you and the kids stay off the mound itself and treat the area with respect. You’ll find the Jeffers Mound just north of Route 161 at the crest of the hill where Worthington’s Pleasanton Drive diverges from Olentangy River Road.
Ohio History Center
Hands-on experiences and resources bring history to life at Ohio History Center, located close to home in Columbus. This headquarters of the Ohio History Connection seeks to inspire local families to discover Ohio’s stories.
You can look forward to a fun-filled, interactive day with the family thanks to exhibits that explore extinct and endangered Ohio species, life in the 1950s, and everything in between. Kids into history are sure to love the collection of restored Civil War battle flags! Visit the Ohio History Center at 1-71 and 17th Ave. (Exit 111) in Columbus.There you have it! Crème de la Crème of Westerville just gave you seven great places to check out when you’re looking to learn more about local history. Do you know of another historical site close to home that other families shouldn’t miss? Drop us a line so we can add it.