The United States has plenty of historical sites and memorials and we’re lucky that so many of them are right here in Ohio, including places like Schoenbrunn Village in New Philadelphia, Serpent Mound in Peebles and the birthplace of president Ulysses S. Grant in Point Pleasant. There’s also Fort Meigs in Perrysburg, which lets visitors learn about the War of 1812 and life in the fort.
The first thing you notice about Fort Meigs is the large wooden fence surrounding the perimeter—it is a fort, after all. But first you have to head to the Visitor Center to pay for admission. It’s $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for students, and children 5 and under are free.
There are interesting exhibits inside the Visitor Center, but if it’s a hot day it might be worth exploring the fort first and cooling down in the air conditioning afterwards. However, it is worth the time to take a short pause and watch an introductory video though, as it helps you get acquainted with everything you’re about to see. There’s a lot to discover at the fort—technically it’s a reconstructed fort, but a few original things remain and they should be marked on your map for you after you buy your tickets.
If you take the suggested route, you’ll head to Blockhouse 7 first. There you’ll get a good introduction to the fort and learn why it was built exactly where it was. You’ll also learn how the fort was built, and see a model of what things might have looked like as construction was taking place. You might’ve already guessed, but there’s a lot of reading on this self-guided tour, but plenty of photos and replica artifacts to keep kids intrigued, too.
Next comes Blockhouse 6, which details the battles at occurred at Fort Meigs, as well as the weapons that were used during that time. For example, there’s a cannon on display with various cannonballs above it so you can get an idea of the difference between a 24-pound solid shot and a grape shot.
In between blockhouses are plaques explaining other aspects of the fort, like the stockade, how discipline was handled, and why the traverses, or small hills dotted throughout the fort, exist. You’ll also spot cannons at various places, allowing you to picture exactly what the soldiers saw during battle, including the Maumee River. Keeping in mind that this was a fort that saw battles, there are a few monuments and memorials around the fort as well, to commemorate those who lost their lives there.
Blockhouse 4 explores what life was like at Fort Meigs, including living arrangements, illnesses, and food provisions. Take your chance at the Wheel of Fate and see which malady you get, along with the symptoms. I got frostbite and my husband got dysentery—luckily it’s just a fun game! After receiving your disease, take a peek in the tent to see how the soldiers lived. In this blockhouse kids will likely enjoy trying to mimic the footsteps of a soldier’s drill and pressing buttons to discover what sounds the soldiers heard at different times, such as evening meals.
The final blockhouse is Blockhouse 2, with a cannon in position and an upstairs area with plenty of windows for looking out and shooting.
Back inside the Visitor Center you’ll see numerous artifacts that were found at Fort Meigs like scissors, spoons, fishing instruments, and weapons like a flintlock musket. There’s also even more history, including some Ohio history surrounding town names and agriculture.
No matter if you start indoors or outdoors, your tour of the fort and Visitor Center will end in the gift shop, which offers plenty of history you can take home.
Note that while the Visitor Center is open all year, the reconstructed fort is only open April-October. Fort Meigs is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. For more information on hours and special events, visit the website: http://www.fortmeigs.org.