11 Nature-Inspired Meeting Spots

From Ohio State Park lodges to a treehouse village to a national park, these places are sure to spur creativity 

Cannaley Treehouse Village
Built within the Beech Ridge area of Metroparks Toledo’s Oak Openings Preserve, Cannaley Treehouse Village offers a fun spot for small groups to find inspiration while surrounded by nature. Four of the five modern treehouses are used for overnight stays, but one treehouse, Flatwood Commons, is specifically designated as a meeting spot. Available for groups of up to 20 people, the space is ADA accessible and outfitted with the Wi-Fi and screen needed for a productive day. Metroparks Toledo’s programming department can also set up team-building exercises with an outdoor focus, ranging from archery to fishing to guided tree climbing. 3520 Waterville Swanton Rd., Swanton 43558, 419-407-9701, metroparkstoledo.com

Kingwood Center Gardens
This historic garden estate in Mansfield provides a relaxing place for meetings year-round. The beauty of the 47-acre property complements the stately architecture of Kingwood Hall, built for Charles K. King in 1926. Book either the 120-capacity Carriage House or the 200-capacity King Ballroom. Tour the mansion or walk the grounds on a self-guided tour that allows attendees to learn about the property’s history while bonding with one another. You can also opt for a guided history and horticulture tour, including a visit to the display greenhouse. During your visit, keep an eye out for the four male peacocks that roam the grounds. 50 North Trimble Rd., Mansfield 44906, 419-522-0211, kingwoodcenter.org

Meeting at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
This capital city favorite has spaces that can host larger groups. The historic Palm House, which showcases over 40 different species, can accommodate up to 190 people, while the conservatory’s Grand Atrium can fit up to 250. The rustic Wells Barn can accommodate 250 people for a meal (more in a cocktail setting), while The Veridian can seat 130 people and offers access to a rooftop and outdoor garden space. After your meeting, explore the conservatory’s four biomes: Himalayan Mountains, Rainforest, Desert and Pacific Island Water Garden, or explore the outdoor gardens and enjoy works by renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihuly on display throughout the property. The conservatory can also facilitate team-building exercises that educate attendees on plantings, the Chihuly glass works and more. 1777 E. Broad St. Columbus 43203, 614-715-8100, fpconservatory.org

The Wilds
The Wilds, located just outside of Cumberland, offers the chance to explore one of North America’s largest wild animal conservation park. The nonprofit safari park also hosts meetings of up to 50 participants. Straker Hall, which is equipped with both WiFi and AV. There are a variety of ways to spend quality time with your participants on-site. Choose a private catered breakfast, lunch or dinner for your team (on-site May through October; local caterers available the rest of the year). Larger groups can opt for a guided Open-Air Safari Tour together. Small groups can participate in guided bird-watching treks, take a zip line tour or choose from one of the species-themed tours. 1400 International Rd., Cumberland 43732, 740-638-5030, thewilds.org

Stone Cottage at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Located a short drive from both Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers the chance to gather for a great meeting while enjoying nature and even giving back to Ohio’s only national park. The Hines Hill Campus offers three spaces to gather. The Hines Hill Conference Center can accommodate up to 40, while the Stone Cottage is great for smaller meetings of around 12 people. The Barn, which has to be rented alongside the conference center or cottage, boasts a rustic interior and can hold meetings of up to 80 people. (All spaces are equipped with Wi-Fi and AV equipment.) Walking trails are nearby, and there are opportunities to work together via the Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Volunteers-in-Parks program. 1403 West Hines Hill Rd., Peninsula 44264, 330-657-2909, conservancyforcvnp.org

Cedar Grove Lodging and Events
Adventure awaits in the Hocking Hills. Cedar Grove Lodging’s Haven Event Lodge has a more than 250-person capacity meeting space as well as indoor and outdoor AV equipment. Its location less than a half-mile from Hocking Hills State Park’s Old Man’s Cave, makes this spot a central location for exploring the area’s variety of trails, waterfalls, caves and gorges. Cedar Grove Lodging can also help you choose from nearby outdoor activities. If you don’t want to stray too far, there are on-site trails, a fishing pond, a gas fire pit and a large open lawn for group outdoor events. 19555 St. Rte. 664 S, Logan 43138, 740-380-2209, cedargrovelodging.com

Meeting space at Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium
Go under the sea for your next meeting. Choose from a variety of different spots — all with their own unique environments. The Aquarium space holds up to 80 people (and for an additional fee you can have an Ocean Lab touch tank set up to view starfish, sea urchins and crabs up close.) For smaller groups, the Captain’s Room offers a 20-person space that features a jellyfish tank, and the zoo offers AV equipment to rent for all meeting spaces. The zoo’s staff can help set up team-building exercises throughout the grounds including a scavenger hunt and animal experiences such as the giraffe feed deck. 2 Hippo Way, Toledo 43609, 419-385-5721, toledozoo.org



Aerial view of Maumee Bay Lodge

Lodge Life 
Ohio State Parks’ lakeside locations offer great ways to get away and connect with your team. 

Maumee Bay Lodge
Explore where the land meets Lake Erie at this conference center in Lucas County. The Grand Ballroom can host corporate events of up to 380 participants (550 in a theater set up), while four other meeting spaces can hold groups of 40 to 100 people. Enjoy a private catered event such as a New England Clam Bake or book on-the-water activities like pedal boats or canoes. Take a walk along the wetland boardwalk for the chance to see water birds, mink and other animals. 1750 State Park Rd. #2, Oregon 43616, 419-836-1466, maumeebaylodge.com

Deer Creek Lodge 
This lodge with lake views located 40 miles southwest of Columbus offers an indoor ballroom space that can hold up to 270 people as well as six additional smaller meeting spaces that can accommodate groups of anywhere from 25 to 180 people. Each meeting area is equipped with AV equipment and Wi-Fi. After the meeting, hit the Deer Creek State Park Golf Course, head out on the water by renting kayaks or paddleboards, or enjoy talking a walk along the lakeside paths. 22300 State Park Rd. 20, Mount Sterling 43143, 800-282-7275, deercreekparklodge.com 

Hueston Woods Lodge
Surrounded by beech and maple trees, this unique, A-frame lodge near the college town of Oxford has six  meeting spaces and can accommodate gatherings of up to 375 people. The lodge offers views of Acton Lake and opportunities for recreation. After the meeting, make a visit to the on-site Nature’s Center Raptor Rehabilitation Center to see healing birds of prey such as bald eagles, hawks and owls, or enjoy an evening bonfire with your coworkers. The 108-foot Hueston Woods Covered Bridge is located on the property as well. 5201 Lodge Rd. College Corner 45003, 513-664-3500, huestonwoodslodge.com

Outdoor meeting space at Salt Fork Lodge

Salt Fork Lodge
This lodge just outside Cambridge in Guernsey County can host meetings from as few as a dozen participants all the way up to 250 people. Take a guided tour on the lodge’s pontoon boats to learn about Salt Fork Lake and the wildlife that lives in and along it. Enjoy a round of golf with your team, play giant lawn games or sit around the bonfire and roast s’mores. Those who stay until dusk can book a guided night hike led by a state park naturalist.14755 Cadiz Rd., Lore City 43755, 800-282-7275, saltforkparklodge.com