best indoor things to do in sandusky ohio - merry-go-round museum

13 Best Indoor Things to Do in Sandusky Ohio

Whether it’s cold outside or you’re just trying to fill a rainy day, make sure you check out these best indoor things to do in Sandusky Ohio.

Sandusky Ohio is widely known for its summer-time tourist attractions, thanks to its proximity to Lake Erie and convenient location between Northwest Ohio and Northeast Ohio. And most of the most popular things to do in Sandusky Ohio are outside, bringing tens of thousands of tourists to the region every summer.

But there are countless indoor activities in Sandusky Ohio that should not be overlooked… 

sandusky ohio - merry-go-round museum
Merry-Go-Round Museum | photo via @volcano715

Castaway Bay

Castaway Bay is one of Sandusky’s premier indoor waterparks. Forget the winter blues — this 38,000-square foot building means that you can enjoy summer fun activities at any time of the year.

Part of Cedar Point Amusement Park, Castaway Bay is designed with a family-friendly tropical theme that provides fun activities for groups of all ages. There are 10 water slides as well as a giant wave pool, wading pool for toddlers, splash pad, and adults-only spa.

If you are staying in the resort, you’ll get automatic access to the water park and arcade. No matter how cold it is outside, Castaway Bay is always 82 degrees!

Follett House Museum

Follett House Museum is a historic family home that now serves as a museum. Here, visitors can admire the original architecture while learning about the history of Sandusky and the Lake Erie region.

This history, while not widely known, includes fascinating facts about immigration, industry, politics, war, and more.

The house itself offers stunning views of the lake as well as local landmarks like Cedar Point and Johnson’s Island. Its distinctive Greek Revival architectural style earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C.

This indicates that the design was made by a master craftsman.

Maritime Museum of Sandusky

Sandusky may not lie on an ocean, but the town played an important role in the development of American shipping thanks to its proximity to Lake Erie.

The Maritime Museum of Sandusky pays homage to this history. The fascinating exhibits showcase stories of ice fishing, shipwrecks off the coast of the lake, and ice harvesting.

Tourists can also learn about lesser-known topics like how boats were built in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the significance of Ohio wetlands, and how the Ohio shipping industry influenced the Underground Railroad.

There are also activities for kids, including scavenger hunts and model boat building.

Maritime Museum of Sandusky - Sandusky, Ohio - Indoor Things to do in Sandusky
Maritime Museum of Sandusky | photo via @maritimemuseumsandusky

Toft Dairy & Ice Cream Parlor

Ice cream lovers will want to jump at the opportunity to visit Sandusky’s own Toft Dairy & Ice Cream Parlor. This historic facility isn’t like other ice cream shops. It began in the early 1900s as a family dairy farm and now boasts the title of oldest dairy in the state.

These days, Toft’s is a 76,000-square-foot factory that produces 70 ice cream flavors, stocking freezers across the Midwest. It is also a Sandusky Ohio landmark!

Locals and tourists alike find their favorite signature flavors here, with options such as Black Raspberry Chocolate Chunk, Cedar Point Cotton Candy, and Caramel Espresso Chip.

Toft Dairy & Ice Cream Parlor - Sandusky, Ohio - Toft Dairy & Ice Cream Parlor, Indoor Things to do in Sandusky
Toft Dairy & Ice Cream Parlor | photo via @eatdrinkohio

Ghostly Manor Thrill Center

Ghostly Manor Thrill Center isn’t just a haunted house. It’s Sandusky’s premier indoor entertainment center, featuring rides, games, and activities for people of all ages.

The facility has gotten so famous, that it was featured on the list of “Best Places I’ve Ever Been” on the Travel Channel, and we couldn’t miss highlighting it on our list of the best indoor things to do in Sandusky Ohio!

At the Thrill Center, haunted houses aren’t just for Halloween. You can tour one any day of the week, any time of the year. There are also rides galore, laser tag, mini-golf, an arcade, escape room, bounce houses and climbing gyms, and a roller skating rink.

You might want to plan multiple visits to try it all!

Sandusky Children’s Museum

The Sandusky Children’s Museum is a place for kids to learn and explore STEAM topics through engaging, hands-on exhibits. The exhibits here change seasonally, so there is always something new and exciting to explore.

Kids will get the chance to take part in group science experiments like building leaf blower hovercrafts, learning how robots work, experimenting with light waves, and making explosions with Coke and Mentos. The museum also has themed months with special exhibits like dinosaurs, robots, and more.

This is the perfect way to introduce kids of all ages to scientific concepts, spurring interest that may last a lifetime.

Sandusky Children’s Museum - Sandusky, Ohio - Indoor Things to do in Sandusky
Sandusky Children’s Museum | photo via @Sandusky Children’s Museum

Firelands Winery & Restaurant

Sandusky is no stranger to wine production, but Firelands Winery is one of the must-visit locations. This stunning winery has been in operation since 1880. In the 140 years since then, it has shared its signature vintages with people not just in northern Ohio but all over the country!

The winery features both a restaurant and a tasting room, where visitors can sample the local vintages as well as beer, spirits, and non-alcoholic drinks.

Firelands Winery’s long history revitalized the Ohio wine industry and earned international acclaim. The estate wines are produced in small batches under the guidance of a master winemaker.

Firelands Winery & Restaurant - Sandusky, Ohio - Firelands Winery, Indoor Things to do in Sandusky
Firelands Winery & Restaurant | photo via @firelandswinery

Great Wolf Lodge Water Park

No one can talk about great things to do indoors in Sandusky without mentioning Great Wolf Lodge Water Park.

For all the amazing outdoor attractions in the city, Sandusky also has tons of fun indoor water parks and pools. Great Wolf Lodge is one of the best.

The enormous indoor waterpark is only one part of the resort, but is open both to overnight guests and day visitors. The park includes a four-story water fort, lazy river, several water slides, a splash pool for toddlers, and an adults-only hot spa.

The perfect family fun center in Sandusky, Great Wolf Lodge makes it possible to enjoy the water at any time of year!

Star Lanes

You can find a bowling alley almost anywhere, but Star Lanes in Sandusky is something special. This 24-lane facility is the perfect place for a casual game, a team bowling league, or a birthday party.

Star Lanes also hosts regular special events, such as glow bowling. This fun spin on the classic game goes from 6 p.m. until closing, with lights on the lanes.

Star Lanes also features a top-notch pizzeria, so you won’t be stuck eating classic bowling alley fare here. If you are in Sandusky on a rainy day, Star Lanes is the perfect place to enjoy a game.

Star Lanes - Sandusky, Ohio - Indoor Things to do in Sandusky
Star Lanes | photo via @Star Lanes Bowling

Soda Pop’s

The name Soda Pop’s probably puts you in mind of an old-fashioned soda fountain — and you’re right! This old-world candy store is the perfect combination of nostalgia and, well, candy.

Here, visitors can explore vintage gourmet candies that they won’t find anywhere else. They might even remember them from their childhood.

Soda Pop’s also offers 30 varieties of root beer as well as craft sodas, all in retro-style glass bottles. Browse the antiques and sweets, grab a soda, or sit down to enjoy a specialty ice cream float.

You might be surprised at what you find when you step through the doors of Soda Pop’s and into the past.

Soda Pop’s - Sandusky, Ohio - Indoor Things to do in Sandusky
Soda Pop’s | photo via @sanduskysodapops

Merry-Go-Round Museum

The Merry-Go-Round Museum has been a Sandusky institution since it opened its doors in 1990, and it is just as much fun as it sounds.

On its first day, more than 2,000 people came to see the museum, which is dedicated to the “art and history of the carousel”.

Today, the Merry-Go-Round Museum features countless exhibits about the art, history, and mechanics of carousels. Tourists will learn from master carvers about the process of creating the stunning animal rides and view historical pieces from curators around the country.

Of course, no visit would be complete without a ride on the museum’s central carousel.

Merry-Go-Round Museum, Sandusky - Ohio Museums, Indoor Things to do in Sandusky
Merry-Go-Round Museum | photo via @jamie_habanek

Eleutheros Cooke House

Lovers of history will not want to miss a visit to the Eleutheros Cooke House, also called the Cooke-Dorn House. This museum, was once the family home of Sandusky’s first lawyer and a member of the United States Congress.

Eleutheros Cooke lived in the home during the mid-19th century, during which time he was instrumental in the development of the Lake Erie Railroad and the development of the region.

Today, tourists explore the home as a piece of living history in the region. Though the home was remodeled in the 1950s, it retains many original pieces from the 19th century.

Sandusky State Theatre

The Sandusky State Theatre is not only the best place to enjoy theatrical and musical performances in Sandusky. It is also a stunning historical building that has been a landmark in the city since 1928.

Once a movie theater, the building was remodeled in the 1990s and now hosts performances throughout the year, drawing nearly 50,000 people annually.

There are shows for all ages and interests. Past performances have included the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, Christmas concerts, and local performers — as well as internationally-acclaimed performers such as Michael Bolton, Willie Nelson, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and The Temptations.

Sandusky State Theatre - Sandusky, Ohio - Indoor Things to do in Sandusky
Sandusky State Theatre | photo via @sanduskystatetheatre

Finding Indoor Things to Do in Sandusky

Sandusky might be known far and wide for its amusement parks and outdoor activities. But a rainy or cold day doesn’t mean sitting bored at home (or worse, your Sandusky hotel room!). Instead, hit up one of these great indoor things to do in Sandusky Ohio, and keep the good times rolling.

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