New Jersey often gets credited as the home of Thomas Edison, but the nation's most prolific inventor was really a Midwesterner by birth. Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, a tiny Erie County village just a few minutes south of Interstate-80, and his first home is now a museum open to the public most of the year (double-check the website for dates and times).
Although Edison only lived in Milan until he was 7, tours of his birthplace include artifacts and anecdotes amassed from throughout his entire life. And, because most of the 1841 house has been preserved in its original condition, visitors also get a hearty dose of local history. Tours last 45 minutes to an hour, and go way above and beyond light bulbs (although visitors do see an Edison original incandescent bulb that's been burning for 120 years). Guides keep guests of all ages entertained with silly stories and hands-on demonstrations. Younger visitors' eyes light up when a 1917 phonograph starts cranking out "Mary Had A Little Lamb.” One look at Edison's phonograph doll (a Chatty Cathy predecessor) is enough to give guests the creeps, but the story behind the doll’s failure will have everyone cracking up.
The museum is closed on Mondays and during the month of January. Adult admission is $7.