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Hidden in plain sight

The Columbus campus is home to some pretty awesome nooks, crannies, hideaways and not-so-secret secrets...
Ohio State's Orton Hall at Night.
Ohio State's Orton Hall is one of the university's original buildings and was built in 1893. It features classrooms, outstanding study spaces, a museum and a belltower that plays the university's iconic chimes each hour. 

Ohio State's Columbus campus spans 1,600 acres and those acres are composed of compelling classrooms, interested research spaces and plenty of locales that alumni remember fondly.

Still, with a campus this size its hard to keep track of all of the interesting places to visit here. Whether they are historic structures sitting prominently on the Oval, or more intimate venues nestled within classroom buildings, there are many, many cool spaces to visit on campus.

So where to start? How about with this list, that outlines a few of the more interesting campus gems that serve our students, faculty and broader university community.

The Planetarium

Ohio State's Planetarium in Smith Lab.

Time to space out. And what better place to do so than at the Ohio State Planetarium? It’s been around since 1967 and recently went through some tremendous transformations. Now, you can zip around the galaxy and beyond without leaving one of the comfy seats.

It’s on the fifth floor of Smith Laboratory and offers programs that are guided by graduate students. Depending on the weather, the events even extend to the rooftop some nights, with the use of a high-tech telescope.

The Parker Dairy Store

The Parker Dairy Store offers a number of tasty treats.

Not sure if you know, but Ohio State had a hand in inventing the Drumstick frozen ice cream treat. It’s true. Two of our professors came up with the idea of coating the inside of the cone with chocolate so it wouldn’t get soggy. #brilliant!

So why not enjoy one at the Parker Dairy Store? Located in the Parker Food Science and Technology Building, you can grab a Drumstick, a sandwich, some chili and other offerings daily.

University Hall

A rich collection of memorabilia is available for viewing in University Hall.

Built in 1873, University Hall used to be every Buckeye’s one-stop shop. It was a library, classrooms, chapel and dorm.

The original building had to be demolished because it was deemed unsafe, but it does retain a lot of its originality: the clock tower, the entrance and pillars.

These days, this is the place to go if you’re looking to delve into the lives of Buckeyes of a previous era. Inside is the University Museum, and it’s home to some pretty breathtaking stuff. Tons of photos, memorabilia, even bricks and blackboards from the original building. Definitely worth checking out.

Orton Hall

A cryolophosaurus greets you at the Orton Hall Museum.

Orton Hall is one of the oldest buildings on the campus, and with that comes some intriguing history.

This building is home to some really neat stuff. Around the belltower sit 24 gargoyles and grotesques. The building is made of 40 different kinds of Ohio stone —arranged as they occur in nature, oldest on bottom, newest on top.

Plus, it’s home to the Orton Geological Museum. Once inside, you can find over 30,000 specimens, including a 7-foot giant ground sloth and the skull of a Jurassic dinosaur.

The Ohio State Archives

The Ohio State Archives are home to millions of pieces of university history.

If you’re a history buff (of just a fan of looking at some seriously cool stuff), the archives is the place for you.

The Ohio State University Archives preserves Buckeye history at its headquarters on Kenny Road. In addition to more than 2 million photographic images of university life from 1870 to now, the archives contains documents, records and mementos that are part of the Ohio State story.

Archivists also publish From Woody’s Couch, a must-read blog for those who love to soak up Ohio State history.

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