Northern Panhandle Region
Kid-Friendly Resort, Stores and Attractions
Slap on an activity band at Oglebay Resort and have your pick of many activities to do. There is something for everybody including tennis courts, miniature golf, paddleboats, fishing, swimming and two museums. Say hello to all kinds of exotic animals in the Oglebay’s Good Zoo. Visitors will see kangaroos, river otters, bears, pandas, monkeys, zebras and more. The indoor Discovery Lab has a number of hands-on activities for children to learn more about the animals in a fun way. Visit the barn animals and take a train ride through the zoo. If you’re not tired after that, there are still the Wonders of the Wetlands exhibit to walk through and stars to gaze at in the Benedum Planetarium. Finally, the resort’s Schrader Center hosts nature walks, a butterfly watch, evening campfires, pottery painting and more. Spend the night at the resort’s Wilson Lodge.
First thing in the morning visit the Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum, which is located in a Victoria-era schoolhouse in Wheeling. Take a tour through the rooms of toy train layouts, one being a scale model of downtown Wheeling, and interactive displays. See an authentic train caboose and learn about Ohio Valley history. Once through that part of the museum, check out the thousands of toys displayed from the very old to new and including items such as dolls, ride-on toys, planes and cartoon characters. The options are endless. Next, head to another fun store called Cabela’s. It includes an aquarium, museum-quality animal displays and a creek filled with live fish that winds through the store. Go outside and get some fresh air at one of two areas nearby. You can choose to go to the Wheeling Skatepark, which is a 10,000 foot public concrete facility and is said to be one of the east coast’s best parks. It’s open 24/7 and is good for beginners and experts alike. The other option is to head to Wheeling Park. It offers a wide range of activities such as a large water slide, miniature golf, paddle boating, a rink for ice skating, an outdoor theatre, playground and tennis courts.
Spend the last day of your trip in Moundsville and start off with a tour at the former West Virginia Penitentiary. You’ll see what life was like for the prisoners who were kept there between 1876 and 1995. Experience the cramped cell blocks, see the once-used electric chair, “Old Sparky,” and hear tales of fires, riots and former inmates. Night tours and ghost hunts are offered in addition to the day tours, but reservations need to be made early if you would like those two options. Next, travel to the Marx Toy Museum. See the collection of toys that was created by “The Toy King” Louis Marx in the mid-1900s. His company became the largest toy manufacturer in the world in the 1950s. Tour the prototype room, which shows the process of making the toys and includes original sketches and models. Take a seat in a 1950s style booth and listen to some rockin’ tunes on the jukebox while you enjoy a snack and a bottled coca-cola in the museum’s vintage snack area. Become a cowboy or cowgirl for a little while in the museum’s life-size western town based off one of Marx’s original play sets, and play with some toys in a four-foot sandbox.
For the rest of the afternoon, visit the Grave Creek Mound Archeological Complex. The museum is centered around a 69-foot burial mound, which was created by the Adena Mound Builder people between 250-150 B.C. It’s the largest of its kind and was used for multiple burials. Learn about the people who created this enormous structure in the nearby Delf Norona Museum and explore the mound for yourself.