While champions of the city love our more high-profile attractions (German Village, the Capitol, Ohio State football), there also are plenty of interesting excursions you might not find on the Experience Columbus website.
See another side of the city with these threeunconventional Central Ohio tours.
When researching the state'slatest tourism initiative, the folks behind the "Ohio: Find it Here" campaign uncovered a predictable fact: We're our own best customers. Those who visit Ohio destinations tend to be from the Buckeye State. The same probably goes for Columbus. And while champions of the city love our more high-profile attractions (German Village, the Capitol, Ohio State football), there also are plenty of interesting excursions you might not find on the Experience Columbus website. Here are three.
The Garbage Dump
Yes, you can visit a landfill. The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, which operates the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill in Grove City, hosts 60- to 90-minute tours three days a week. In 2015, more than 3,300 visitors (mainly elected officials, school field trips and those working on special research projects) took advantage of the service.
For 20 years-way before "Wall-E" hit the big screen-the site has been open for those interested. "We want people to understand the importance of the waste stream in keeping our community healthy and safe," says SWACO communications manager Hanna Greer-Brown, adding that 60 to 70 percent of waste coming to the landfill could have been diverted. Seeing is believing.swaco.org
The 360 acres encompassing Green Lawn Cemetery (Ohio's second largest cemetery) were designed in 1848 by landscape architect Howard Daniels to be more than a burial ground. They were meant to act as a park, too.
As such, it's quite natural for the nonprofit association to provide free self-guided and full-service tours, in part to share history, and in part to remind people that Green Lawn is still an active cemetery, says community outreach organizer Tracy Bleim. Visitors will see graves of influential people, including Daniels himself, writer James Thurber and industrialist Samuel Bush (great-grandfather to George W. Bush), as well as striking pieces of architecture, such as the Roman-style Huntington Chapel at the center of the park.greenlawncemetery.org
The Whistle Factory
See entrepreneurism firsthand at the American Whistle Corporation, the only manufacturer of metal whistles in the United States. The North Side whistle factory (which makes gold whistles for NFL officials at the Super Bowl) charges $4 per person for a personally guided, 45- to 60-minute tour of the small facility.
Guests tour the factory and watch whistles being made while learning business basics, from marketing to details of the whistle industry as a whole. The company has a strict 15-person minimum for the tours and provides a free whistle for each attendee. And no tour is complete without a visit to the gift shop, where lanyards, T-shirts and, of course, more whistles are for sale.americanwhistle.com