Join Truda Shinker, our membership manager, as she visit the sites in the Ohio History Connection network! This month's road trip took her to Fort Ancient in Oregonia.
If you’ve lived in Ohio for very long, you’ve most likely seen the exit for Fort Ancient on I-71. I know I’ve passed it each time I’ve taken a trip to Kings Island or the University of Cincinnati. I’ve always been intrigued, but didn’t think I had enough time to stop. Well, I was wrong. As I explain below, you can spend as little as an hour at Fort Ancient and still have a great experience. Of course, I would encourage you to make it a destination because it holds important stories about the ancient Indigenous people of Ohio and it’s a beautiful place.
Address: 6123 State Route 350, Oregonia, OH
How much time: Fort Ancient is unique in that you can really spend as much or as little time as you’d like and still have a great experience. If you have an hour, stop by the excellent museum and learn about the ancient people of Ohio through the exhibits and displays.
Have a little more time? Drive through the property, park in the last parking lot and take a short walk to the North Overlook. According to Site Manager Bill Kennedy, the view of the valley below is something everyone should see. If you have even more time, consider hiking the ½ mile Eagle Trail. You can pick it up at the North Overlook. Be sure to wear hiking boots and long pants—it can get a little muddy and the elevation changes make it a bit strenuous. The Eagle Trail connects to the Earthworks Trail, which provides a wonderful view of some of the mounds on the south side of the site and brings you back to the parking lot at the North Overlook. If you want have the full experience, I would plan to be at Fort Ancient for 3-4 hours.
My favorites: I really enjoyed the wide variety of exhibits at Fort Ancient. From dioramas and recreated homes to artifacts and gardens, there’s something to catch the eye of almost every visitor.
Truda's Tips: Depending on the weather and your schedule, there are a couple of options for meals. The site features a lot of picnic tables and a large picnic shelter, so bringing your own food and eating outside is a great option. If you’re looking for something a little fancier, drive to nearby Lebanon and choose one of the many restaurants located downtown. We enjoyed The Village Ice Cream Parlor—great food, even better ice cream and a fun atmosphere. It’s easy to see why it was featured in two movies. Also, if you’re a coffee drinker, be sure to visit Lot 1 just around the corner in Lebanon’s oldest building.
Don't Miss: If your schedule allows, the daily staff-led tour at 2 p.m. is an excellent way to experience the site. The Fort Ancient staff is passionate about their work—you’ll leave the tour with a greater understanding of the ancient people of Ohio and the significance of the site. The tour leaves from the museum lobby.
For more information: Check out our website for hours and days of operation, as well as contact info.
Watch videos featuring this trip on our Instagram page! Our handle is @ohiohistory. Make sure you follow us for more content like this.