Six great things to do in Toledo, Ohio
We were once eating pasties in a diner in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and the couple at the next table asked me where I got the Toledo Mud Hens t-shirt I was wearing that day. They were from northern Wisconsin and loved the old M*A*S*H television show, fondly remembering when the show's character Corp. Max Klinger talked about his home town and its minor league baseball team, the Mud Hens. They were shocked to find out that the Mud Hens were an actual baseball team and that the Hungarian hot dog joint Klinger always praised in the show was a real, beloved Toledo institution!
Actor Jamie Farr, who played Klinger on the show for pretty much its entire eight-year run, is a Toledo native and still one of its biggest boosters.
I think he's on to something here as we spend a lot of time in the northern Ohio city just an hour down I-75 from our Michigan home.
Toledo Harbor Lighthouse
Here are a few of our favorite Toledo sites, perfect for a quick day trip:
Tony Packo's - The "Hungarian hot dog joint" immortalized by Klinger in M*A*S*H opened in 1932 by factory worker Tony Packo (natch!). There are several Packos outlets in town, but no trip to Toledo for us is complete without a stop at the original Packo's in the working class area near Toledo's port district. Hungarian hot dogs (a chili-topped hot dog), stuffed cabbages, chicken paprikas and fried pickles are favorites on the family-friendly menu. Be sure to stop in the restaurant's store to get a few pickles or Hungarian salsa to take home and check out the framed hot dog buns signed by celebrity visitors throughout the dining room.
A Meal at Tony Packo's
Toledo Mud Hens - Take in a game in downtown Toledo's ballpark with the Mud Hens. We've found the AAA-team play fast-paced and affordably priced to the extent that it really doesn't cost any more to drive down to Toledo for a game and stay overnight than to go to Detroit's major league ballpark and pay major-league prices for tickets, parking and concessions. Toledo's cute mascots are also a real hit with the kids! It's winter? No problem! Toledo also has a minor-league hockey team called the Walleye and I've had several hockey fans report back that the new Toledo arena is a great place to watch a game. A lot of fans play nearby after they watch the Walleye.
Toledo Mud Hens ballpark
Libbey Glass Outlet - Want to do a little local shopping? Toledo's massive Libbey Glass Outlet offers an opportunity to find that perfect glass serving dish or set of wine glasses from the town's famous Libbey Glass Company. I've grabbed some cute Halloween glasses and Christmas mugs, replenished my stock of everyday wine glasses at the outlet store. The store also has a small section of Toledo souvenirs like historical books about the town, shot glasses and other cute tchotchkes perfect as small gifts. Summertime bonus? The outlet store is located directly across the parking lot from the Toledo Farmers Market, where you can get some great local produce or other regional foodie finds.
Toledo Libbey Glass Outlet
Toledo Museum of Art - Libbey Glass Company mogul Edward Drummond Libbey and his wife, Florence Scott Libbey spearheaded the establishment of the museum in 1901. The Libbeys strong interest in glass history and financial support in the form of generous endowments allowed the museum to develop into a privately-owned, non-profit institution that is open to the public free of charge. The library's early 1900s Beaux Arts-style main building celebrated its centennial last year, while the library's newer addition of a stunningly modern Glass Pavilion across the street serves as a great showcase for the museum's legendary glass collection and glass studios where visitors can view the glass blowing process or learn to create their own glass masterpieces.
Toledo Museum of Art
The Toledo Zoo - Take your family to the Toledo Zoo and check out some of the newer exhibits like the Tembo Trail, which offers great views of the African Elephants, the Hippoquarium (where you can see eye-to-eye with these impressive animals) and the Safari Railway, which offers a 20-minute trail ride through the zoo's 5-acre savanna. The original part of the zoo also contains one of the largest collections of 1930s-era Works Progress Administration buildings in a single location.
Hippo at the Toledo Zoo
Maumee State Park - Stay in the state park's lodge or one of its roomy cabins as you and your family enjoy the park's beach, hiking and biking trails, golf course, boating, paddle boarding and other activities and amenities. Occasional boat tours of the Toledo Harbor lighthouse depart from the park's marina and family-friendly fun includes hunting for several geocaches hidden throughout the park and visiting the naturalist at the parks nature center.
Maumee Bay State Park
Dominique King is a metro Detroit writer who began her writing career as a freelance business writer for local newspapers and magazines. Dominique is the publisher of MidwestGuest.com, a member regular blogging team at DiscoveringOhio.com and authored a series of encyclopedia entries for the Michigan Companion. She has a degree in Communications (M.A.) from Detroit's Wayne State University.
Text and photos © Dominique King, and used with permission for Wandering Educators.com