Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Zanesville, OH

  • Published 2022/10/21

Well-known for its art pottery, the city of Zanesville in Ohio is a charming little town rich in natural resources like clay deposits and rivers, primary tools in manufacturing pottery.

Pottery businesses filled Zanesville in the early days, thus the name “Clay City” and the “Pottery Capital of the World.”

The city is also the county seat of Muskingum County and is home to diverse industries like manufacturing, retail, and healthcare.

Here are the best things to do in Zanesville, Ohio, if you plan to visit during your next trip.

Take a Road Trip on the Muskingum River Y Bridge

Marker of Muskingum River Y Bridge

Rosemarie Mosteller /

As a historic landmark in Zanesville, the Muskingum River Y Bridge has been in the limelight since the 1800s because of its unique shape and structure.

The Y shape is also a recognizable marker for pilots traveling over Zanesville.

It officially opened in 1814 and connected the three towns that now comprise Zanesville.

Aerial view of Muskingum River Y Bridge

Toni Leland, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Records show that the Y Bridge is one of the first structures in the United States constructed using steel and concrete.

Now, the Muskingum River Y Bridge remains a vital transport infrastructure in Zanesville because it connects most parts of the town.

This structure has also helped traders and business owners move their supplies and products in and out of Zanesville.

The waters under Muskingum River Y Bridge

David Brossard, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore the Collections at the Zanesville Museum of Art

Featuring various galleries highlighting the city’s history and culture, the Zanesville Museum of Art is a go-to place for lovers of the arts.

The museum mainly contains pottery collections in Zanesville and the rest of Ohio.

Established in 1936, the Zanesville Museum of Art initially offered art exhibits for free, as well as art classes and spaces for performances.

The museum, along Military Road, features Asian, European, and American art galleries. There is also a standalone gallery for pottery and Ohio arts.

Guided tours are available at the Zanesville Museum of Art to allow visitors to appreciate better and understand the exhibits.

There is also a store at the museum where you can score local crafts like jewelry and glass art.

Go Tubing and Kayaking at Pea Ohana Watersports

Are you looking for exciting water activities in Zanesville?

Pea Ohana Watersports along Muskingum Ave Suite P might be the perfect place for you.

You can enjoy various outdoor water activities here, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and water tubing.

A kayaking or tubing history tour along Lock No. 10 in the Muskingum River is one of the favorite activities at the water park.

In this adventure, you will pass through the Y Bridge and end at Putnam Landing.

The tour will help you learn more about Zanesville’s history and discover great bear choices near the boathouse.

The tubing experience at Pea Ohana Watersports involves going through rapids and passing scene natural wonders in Zanesville.

You can also see the lovely Dillon Falls along the way.

Tour the Historic Dr. Increase Mathews House Museum and Gardens

As the oldest building in Muskingum County, Dr. Increase Mathews House Museum and Gardens features the rich military history of Zanesville and the entire county.

Built in 1805, the house-turned-museum was the official residence of Ohio medical doctor Increase Mathews and his family.

It was developed and improved over the years.

Now, it serves as a museum that houses memorabilia and artifacts on military history, pottery, glass, and archeology.

You can visit the Dr. Increase Mathews House Museum and Gardens along Woodlawn Avenue from Wednesday to Saturday.

Play Sports at the Riverside Park

If you want to spend a day playing outdoor sports, head to Riverside Park along N River Rd E.

The attraction is filled with open spaces where you can bond with your friends or the entire family.

Riverside Park has soccer fields, a basketball and tennis court, a horseshoe pitching area, and access to boating and fishing.

There is also a play area where your kids can enjoy the slides.

You can also find a dog park and a vast group eating area inside Riverside Park.

See the Alpacas at the Alpacas of Spring Acres

Learn how cute alpacas are raised and interact with them at The Alpacas of Spring Acres along Big-B Road.

Home to more than 90 alpacas, the farm offers guided tours where you will be taken to four barns where the alpacas are raised and cared for.

Depending on their mood and personality during your visit, you can also pet the friendly alpacas.

After the tour, you can also visit the Alpacas of Spring Acres gift shop to buy yarns, clothes, scarves, gloves, pillows, blankets, and rugs made from alpaca fiber.

Taste Local Craft Beer at Weasel Boy Brewing Company

Locally crafted beer is well-known in Ohio, especially to tourists.

At the Weasel Boy Brewing Company, you will taste Ohio’s finest craft beer, freshly brewed.

Starting in 2006, the brewing company pays tribute to the Zanesville brewing tradition.

From beers, the Weasel Boy Brewing Company also added the Rum Room, which brews and mixes various rum flavors.

While gulping these drinks, you can also order pizza, salad, soups, and pastries and listen to local artists perform.

Events like festivals and open mic sessions are also hosted at the Weasel Boy Brewing Company.

See Life-sized Sculptures at Alan Cottrill Sculpture Studio

Are you looking for a unique art gallery where you can see enormous sculptures?

Head to the Alan Cottrill Sculpture Studio along S 6th Street.

The art studio is home to the works of Ohio native and distinguished sculptor Alan Cottrill.

Inside the sculpture studio, you will see lifesize sculptures of astronauts, scientists, athletes, and other prominent and historical individuals.

Photographs and historical narratives are also at the Alan Cottrill Sculpture Studio.

The art gallery also houses the biggest bronze sculpture exhibit, with more than 300.

You will see one-of-a-kind art sculptures that reflect the history of Zanesville and Ohio.

Explore Book Collections at the John McIntire Library

Exterior of John McIntire Library

Julie Jordan Scott (original), Yassie (derivative work), CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bibliophiles will love the book collections at the John McIntire Library along 5th Street.

Aside from reading, the library also supports and encourages research.

Since the early 1900s, the library has become the central repository of information and materials of the Muskingum County Library System.

You can borrow reading materials like books and magazines, DVDs, audiobooks, and even video games during your visit.

There is also a microfilm collection of old newspapers.

Among the highlights in this library are the history of Zanesville and Muskingum County, its pottery culture, the Y Bridge, and the writings of prominent historians.

For significant events, the John McIntire Library also has a 198-seater auditorium and private rooms for meetings and other functions.

Learn about Plants at the Missions Oaks Gardens

Hidden in a quiet community along Hunter Avenue, Missions Oaks Gardens features different garden types and houses various flowering plants and rich flora.

Sitting on a seven-acre property, the gardens opened in the 1980s to grow local and non-local plants.

It is filled with the most beautiful and exciting species of plants, including magnolias, azaleas, and conifers.

You can also find wildflowers and trees that cover the gardens’ entire space.

Missions Oaks Gardens also has a pond, two waterfalls, a gazebo, and walking paths for visitors to enjoy.

Guided tours are available for big groups who want to learn more about the garden and the plants there.

Explore History at the Old Stone Academy

As the most historic structure in Muskingum County, the Old Stone Academy houses exhibits highlighting Zanesville and Muskingum during the 1800s.

It was initially dedicated to learning and later declared a public building.

During your visit, you will see various exhibits, including those of actress and novelist Elizabeth Robins.

You might want to check out exhibits that include murals, pottery, furniture, artifacts, and other memorabilia.

Visit the Old Stone Academy from Wednesday to Saturday.

Hunt Birds at the Tri-Valley Wildlife Area

Wildlife abounds at the Tri-Valley Wildlife Area along Memory Road, where grassland birds are the most common.

The wildlife sanctuary has varying birds of interest depending on the season.

During spring and summer, you can find Grasshopper and Henslow’s Sparrows.

Winter attracts American kestrels and short-eared owls, which turn up in flocks during this season.

Spanning more than 16,000 acres, the Tri-Valley Wildlife Area has forested areas, but its reclaimed grassland attracts bird hunters from various places.

Admission is free in the wildlife area, open daily to visitors.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Nearby localities in Zanesville are also worth visiting because of their proximity to the city and unique experiences.

These attractions are mostly just a few minutes from the center of Zanesville.

Here are the other things you can do nearby Zanesville.

Get Spooked at the Nightmare in Nashport

If you are looking for that haunted house experience during your trip, the Nightmare in Nashport, located in Nashport, Ohio, is perfect.

Covering more than a half mile of trails, the haunted house’s “Trail of Terror” will surely scare you.

The Nightmare in Nashport features more than 15 terror and scare scenes in the woods and open space.

From mummies to zombies, skeletons, and ghosts, you will encounter them all during your terrifying tour around Nightmare in Nashport.

The attraction is open on weekends, beginning from dusk until midnight.

Nightmare in Nashport also encourages the public to join their cast and provide scary entertainment to people.

This place is 16 minutes from Zanesville.

Book Tee Time at Crystal Springs Golf Club

Another nearby attraction in Zanesville is the Crystal Springs Golf Club in the community of Hopewell, Ohio, 13 minutes from Zanesville.

With the backdrop of the charming hills of Muskingum County, the golf club provides an excellent spot for golfing and enjoying nature.

The 18-hole championship golf course is a relaxing escape for many golf players because of the view of green rolling hills and the forest filled with tall trees.

Golfers with varying skill levels can practice their golfing ability through different courses.

Six ponds are also at the golf club, adding to the facility’s natural vibe.

You can enjoy golf with your family and friends at Crystal Springs Gold Club.

Taste Award-Winning Wines at Terra Cotta Vineyards

About 20 minutes from Zanesville is a local vineyard and winery that produces award-winning wines, sitting along Rix Mills Road in New Concord, Ohio.

Terra Cotta Vineyards offers a variety of wines from red to white and dry to fruity blends.

Inspired by other wineries and vineyards in Ohio, the Terra Cotta Vineyards started in 1995 when the grapes were planted and then grown.

In 1999, the winery officially opened.

Since 2006, the vineyard has reaped national awards for the quality of its wines.

Wine tasting at Terra Cotta Vineyards is also available for visitors.

Final Thoughts

Experiences in Zanesville, Ohio, mainly deal with history and nature.

The place is rich in history, reflected in the tourist attractions and experiences people can have at Zanesville.

It is also abundant in natural resources and unique places to visit, thus making it a go-to destination for most travelers.

Discover the best things to do in Zanesville, Ohio!

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