Take a trip to Jackson Center to see Airstreams being made during the factory tour and then cool off during a cavern tour at Ohio Caverns.
Photo opportunities are limited during the factory tour, but visitors are allowed to take one at the entrance to the Airstream factory. Vintage Airstream trailers can be seen in the parking lot of the Airstream Service Center.
Airstream Factory Tour
The Airstream factory is located in Jackson Center, Ohio. It's a small town about an hour and a half away from Columbus. Take U.S. 33 West and turn left onto S.R. 274 to get to the factory. Free tours are offered weekdays at 2 p.m. I suggest you get there a couple of minutes early to use the restroom, look around the lobby, visit the gift shop and/or grab a refreshment before the tour. Tours take off from the service center building where you'll see antique trailers out front. Eye protection and hearing protection are required, as well as closed-toe shoes to take the tour. They provide ear and eye protection for visitors. Tours last about an hour and a half. You see all parts of the Airstream trailers being made from the furniture to the outer aluminum shell. If you opt to go across the street to see their best-selling Mercedes diesel Airstream vanagans being worked on, it's an additional 20 minutes. We were able to step inside a couple of nearly-done RVs at the end of the tour. I recommend that only children ages 5 and up go on the tour. To learn more and plan your visit, check out http://www.airstream.com/company/tours/ or call 877-596-6111.
The number of stalactites and stalagmites on the Ohio Caverns tour is amazing. It is dubbed "America's Most Colorful Caverns."
Ohio Caverns are located south of Bellefontaine near the Piatt Mac-O-Chee and Mac-A-Cheek castles, about 4 miles from West Liberty at 2210 East State Route 245. There are signs along the way directing visitors to the caverns as you do have to make a few turns. It's located at the top of a hill and there's plenty of parking, and large grounds with a pavilion, too. Daily tours are offered on the hour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. After my Airstream tour, I barely made it to the last tour at 5 p.m. Allow plenty of time to get there off of U.S. 33 as you drive through downtown Bellefontaine. The caverns are fairly closed in and there's a narrow walkway, so I wouldn't suggest you go on the tour if you don't like enclosed spaces or have claustrophobia. The caverns offer lots of formations and it's fairly cool with a year-round temperature of about 54 degrees. It's also very damp and I got hit by drops a few times during the tour. Our tour lasted about 45 minutes. They allow visitors to take photos throughout the tour and point out various special formations, including the largest stalactite in Ohio. The number of formations on this tour is the most I've seen on a cavern tour. Adult tickets are $17 and children are $9 (ages 5-12) for individual tours. I realize the price is over my usual budget of $10, but it's well worth it as the formations are unlike any other caverns I've been in. (Combination tickets are also available as are annual passes.) The property also has a gem-mining area, too. To learn more or buy tickets online, visit http://www.ohiocaverns.com/