Monday, May 2, 2011
The Ohio Statehouse is commonly known as "The People's House," so you owe it to yourself to make a trip!
I do a lot of work in this building, and have for 4 years, so I sometimes get desensitized by its beauty. But let it be known, The Ohio Statehouse is absolutely gorgeous and was named as one of THE best Statehouses in the country, and I can tell you why!
For those who do not know, the Statehouse is where all Ohio State Senators and their staffs have their main offices, and where both the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives meet for legislative session and committees. Therefore, you will find that the building consists of a LOT of offices (for each Senator), committee rooms, and clerk offices. None of this will be the fun part for you to see. The Governor also has his ceremonial office in here, but that is guarded by a State Trooper at a desk so you won't have the opportunity to see this part!
There are guided tours on weekdays 8-4 and on Saturdays from 8-12. For groups under 10, the tours are EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR. Take this tour!! You won't regret it. Now, I know I am a big history nerd, but I still think that anyone would have a great time on this tour. The architecture is breathtaking! The tour guides will point out all the amazing hidden secrets and facts, such as the fossils embedded in the limestone on the pillars and walls.
You can always do a self-guided tour if you'd like. They have maps available at the desk at the 3rd Street entrance. Some of the highlights are:
1. The Map Room: This room has a large map of Ohio on the ground with all of the counties in different gemstones.
2. The Statehouse Gift Shop: Lots of fun local Ohio products (jams, salsa, etc) and Ohio-related gifts!
3. The Interactive Mueseum: This is a NEW state-of-the-art interactive museum geared toward kids, but with lots of fun facts, games, and activities that even a nerdy adult would enjoy!
4. Statehouse Cafe: Great food at reasonable prices! You can get quck to-go items, coffee, or large homestyle meals (turkey, mashed potatoes, etc).
5. House/Senate Chambers: These rooms are EXTREMELY ornate and are the stars of the Statehouse. These rooms are where the legislators meet to vote (on certain days/times you may even be able to witness a live session in person).
6. The Rotunda: While on the outside, the Statehouse looks like it does not have a dome, it really does. The Rotunda is the BEST part of the Statehouse. Walk in here and witness in awe the beauty of this dome!
7. The Atrium: This is the large open section of the building that connects the Senate offices to the House offices, which used to be two separate buildings. Ask the tour guide about the metal pigeon that sits above one of the doors for a fun story! Also, you can see the plaque here that indicates where Abraham Lincoln stood and gave a speech when he was running for President!
As you can see, there are plenty of great things to see in the Statehouse, and tons of rich history to learn. It is "The People's House" so if you are from Ohio, find out who your Senator is and stop in his or her office to say hello.
I give tours for the Statehouse through my work sometimes, and it never gets old :-)
Me and My Parents when I was a Page at the Statehouse