There’s a classic car museum in Cincinnati that you may have never heard of.
Located northwest of Cincinnati in beautiful Shandon, OH, Salty Dog Museum is a classic car museum that’s absolutely worth the drive (pun intended).
Salty Dog Museum houses dozens of vintage vehicles hailing from 1911 to the 1970s, all restored in spotless, shiny splendor. Admission to this hidden gem is free; however, it’s best to make an appointment as owner Ron Miller is often busy working at his eponymous body shop next door.
The museum boasts dozens of well-known classics, like Model As and Ts. These cars are absolutely stunning to look at, and kids can touch and investigate each and every one.
In a separate showroom, you’ll find eight shiny-red, vintage fire trucks. My kids were excited to see a large, two part ladder truck that had a backseat driver, as well as a vintage engine they could climb aboard. Ron demonstrated a siren using an old-fashioned hand crank. It was a delightful way to spend a summer afternoon.
The classic cars are all set up in two large showrooms, making it very accessible for families. Ron’s sense of humor shows, with whimsical little signs and details (like a Frisch’s Big Boy and stuffed animal “drivers”) made my kids laugh and interact with the displays. Having grandchildren himself, Ron was an natural with my kids and patiently answered all their questions with a smile.
The Salty Dog’s name comes from the eponymous Salt Flat racing at the Bonneville Speedway in Wendover, Utah, which is known for capturing the most land speed records. A race car driver himself, Ron first visited this course in 2008, and it reignited his passion for classic cars. He’s been restoring vintage vehicles since the ’60s, and truly loves transforming these automobiles to their original glory, as evidenced by the pristine cars in Salty Dog’s showroom. Miller’s enthusiasm for these vehicles is infectious, and during our visit I saw these cars for what they truly are: works of art.