You’ve Probably Never Heard of This Cincinnati Classic Car Museum

Salty Dog Museum is an homage to the automobile—and it’s a great spot for kids to do some hands-on exploring.
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Cars, Trucks, and Things That Go—this isn’t just a beloved children’s classic by Richard Scarry, it’s also pretty much every parent’s mantra in the early years. Because truly: Kids love cars, trucks, and things that go.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

It’s not just kids who are fascinated by transportation, either. Adults, too, love the automobile. But perhaps no one more than Ron Miller of Salty Dog Museum.

Located northwest of Cincinnati in beautiful Shandon, Ohio, Salty Dog Museum is Miller’s homage to the American automobile—a classic car museum that’s (ahem) worth the drive.

Salty Dog Museum houses dozens of vintage vehicles hailing from 1911 to the 1970s, all restored to spotless, shiny splendor. Admission to this hidden gem is free; however, it’s open by appointment only, as owner Ron Miller is often busy working at his eponymous body shop next door.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

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 a lineup of shiny-red, vintage fire trucks—for admiring from far and near. Miller demonstrated a siren using an old-fashioned hand crank, and even let my kids try, too—after letting them climb aboard, of course.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

For kids (and grown-ups), is there anything better than a museum where you can touch things? There isn’t. Miller knows this, and this grandfather has incorporated numerous kid-friendly features into what could be a very un-kid-friendly experience.

If you’re curious, 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 back 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 fun, functional, fantastic art.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

Salty Dog Museum, 4995 Cincinnati Brookville Rd., Shandon, (513) 265-8750

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