Family Attractions in Cleveland

Children’s Museum of Cleveland

Children’s Museum of Cleveland, dedicated to children up to eight years of age, the museum hosts numerous traveling exhibits as well as several permanent exhibits such as “Splish Splash,” which teaches children about water transportation, weather and the earth’s water systems. It features a two-story climbing structure, a kaleidoscope and the Weather Forecast Center where children learn how water affects the weather. They can also use the anchor desk to present their own forecast in front of a camera.

Cleveland Botanical Garden

Cleveland Botanical Garden, ten gardens and a conservatory are among the attractions here which include the Hershey Children’s Garden, a Japanese Garden featuring a dry rock stream, the Mary Ann Sears Swetland Rose Garden, Western Reserve Herb Society Garden, a Woodland Garden, Elizabeth and Nona Evans Restorative Garden, Campsey-Stauffer Gateway Garden, and the CK Patrick Perennial Garden.

The Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse features two displays: The Spiny Desert of Madagascar and the Lush Forest of Costa Rica. In the latter, you can see 50 different native butterflies, which are released into the ecosystem every day at 2 pm. In the former, you’ll see native plants plus a variety of creatures seen nowhere else on earth.

From April through October, the garden is open Monday – Saturday from 10am to 5:00 pm and on Sundays from Noon to 5 pm. On Wednesday the garden stays open until 9 pm. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $5.50 for seniors and members of groups of 15 or more, and $3 for children 3-12. During the winter months, the garden is closed on Mondays. Hershey Children’s Garden closes for the winter on November 1.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, one of the oldest in the United States, the zoo maintains a collection of domestic and exotic animals from around the world, including the largest collection of primate species in North America. The zoo is also a botanic garden.

Favorite exhibits include the African elephants, the “Wolf Wilderness” exhibit and the Rain Forest, a two-acre, two-story indoor tropical oasis with more than 6,000 plants and over 600 animals from the tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

The zoo is open every day except Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children under 12 from april through October. The rest of the year, admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Cayahuga Valley Scenic Railroad, Ride the rails from Cleveland to Akron, and Canton while enjoying the views of Ohio’s only national park, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Many different trips are offered, from round-trip train rides under two hours to longer trips that include a ranger-led hike. Some excursions offer the chance to visit Hale Farm & Village, Stan Hywet, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Akron Zoo, Quaker Square, or the Hartville Flea Market and Hartville Marketplace. Trains leave from Rockside Station (Independence), Peninsula Depot Visitor Center, and Akron Northside Station. Call (800) 468-4070 for more information.

Open from 10 am to 5 pm daily, admission is $7 for children aged 1-12 and $6 for anyone 13 and under.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Cleveland Museum of Natural History, You’ll find a variety of exhibits here covering everything from dinosaurs to moon rocks to Foucault’s pendulum. A favorite permanent exhibit is “Lucy,” the partial skeleton of 3.2 million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis discovered in 1974 by a group of scientists that included the museum’s then curator, Donald Johanson. The remains of this species of human ancestor have provided valuable clues as to when and why humans began to walk upright and evolve larger brains. Visitors can see a cast of the original skeletal materials and reconstruction of what Lucy’s full skeleton might have looked.The museum also houses a planetarium and a wildlife center.

Admission is $9 for adults; $7 for seniors, college students with ID, seniors and kids aged 7 to 18; and $6 for kids 3-6.
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Cleveland Police Museum

Cleveland Police Museum, the museum’s permanent exhibits look at all aspects of policing. Inside the museum you will find a countless number of fascinating firsts that the Cleveland Police have developed; like the very first police call box, or the first closed circuit camera which was used in banks to photograph unsuspecting criminals. Thousands of old photos and intriguing stories of the officers that were a part of the solutions are found here as well.

Visitors can learn about the history of policing as well as famous crimes that have taken place in Ohio. Some displays, like the Death Masks of victims of the notorious “torso murderer,” may be too graphic for very young visitors.

The museum is open from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday-Friday.

Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum

Crawford Auto Museum

Crawford Auto Aviation Museum

Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum showcases nearly 200 antique, vintage, and classic automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, automobile culture and aircraft. The Crawford collection is one of the top ten in the nation, according to Car Collector magazine. The Crawford also holds a dozen historically significant airplanes.

Call ahead to arrange to take a guided tour of the Macedonia Preservation Facility which stores vehicles not currently on display in the museum and oversized vehicles in the collection that are too large to be displayed in the Crawford.

The Crawford s open Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday, noon to 5 pm. Admission is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, and $5.00 for students. The admission fee includes entry to the History Museum and Library and Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum. The fee to park in the museum lot is $8.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Craig Hatfield

Dittrick Museum of Medical History

Dittrick Museum of Medical History, focuses on the development of medicine in the greater Cleveland area. Exhibits include: Diagnostic Instruments, Doctor’s Office 1870s, Doctor’s Office 1930’s, Early Medical Practice and Education, Hospital Medicine, 1865-1920, Laboratory Medicine 1865-1920, Microscopes, Pharmacy 1880’s, Medicine 1895-1950, Surgery and Obstetrics Instruments.

The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday-Friday. Admission is free.

Great Lakes Science Center

Great Lakes Science Center, this museum has more than 400 hands on exhibits including an eight-foot-high indoor tornado; the Bridge of Fire, a static generator generates 200,000 volts of electric current and causes your hair to stand on end; an information technology gallery that allows visitors to manipulate digital images and ride a virtual hang glider; and an entire floor devoted to the environment of the Great Lakes.

The center is open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm daily. There are a variety of admission packages. Creative Commons License photo credit: heather0714

NASA Glenn Research Center Visitor Center


NASA Glenn Research Center Visitor Center

NASA Glenn Research Center Visitor Center, the center features six galleries with interactive displays and exhibits. Visitors can participate in a countdown to a shuttle launch, pilot their own supersonic jet or conduct mocrogravity experiments. A tribute to Ohio native John Glenn features hoto exhibits, spacecraft models and two spacesuit replicas.

The visitor center is open every day, except New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Call (216) 433-2000 for more information.Creative Commons License photo credit: stu_spivack

Cleveland Indians Progressive Field Tour

Progressive (formerly Jacobs) Field Tour, even if you’re not a fan of the Cleveland Indians, the tour is worth the trip. Tours leave from the Cleveland Indians Team shop and tour the following areas: The Bullpen, the Press Box, a Party Suite, the Club Lounge, the Indians Dugout, Heritage Park and the indoor batting cages. The tours are wheelchair accessible.

Tours are available Monday-Friday at !:30 pm, Saturdays at 10:30 am, 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 pm from April 14 – June 6 and in September. From June 7-30, July and August, tours are available
Monday through Saturday every hour from 10:30 am until 1:30 pm. Admission is $7.50 for adults and $5.50 for seniors and kids 14 and under.
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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, made up of thousands of artifacts, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s permanent collection features a number of exhibits, including:

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is open 363 days a year, every day from 10 am to 5:30 pm. On Wednesdays, you can tour the Museum until 9 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Creative Commons License photo credit: zoonabar

Rockefeller Greenhouse

Rockefeller Greenhouse,  initially used solely for growing the plants used to landscape City parks and gardens, the greenhouse has evolved into a Botanical garden with specialty plant collections, seasonal floral displays and theme gardens, including:

  • The Japanese Garden: Developed in the 1960s, this garden recreates a Japanese courtyard with bamboo hut and pond. Of special interest is the Dawn Redwood tree, which was grown from one of six seeds brought from Japan.
  • The Betty Ott Talking Garden: Plants here are chosen for their appeal to all the senses. A raised bed invites visitors to touch and smell the plants, and signs give information in Braille type. This is one of only a few such gardens in the country.
  • The Mall: A traditional formal garden with clipped hedges and corner statues representing the four seasons.
  • The Latin American Garden: A showcase for cacti, succulents, flowering plants and tropical fruits found in Central and South America.
  • The Peace Garden features an old-fashioned gazebo as well as rose, herb, and perennial gardens.

The greenhouse is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm. Parking and admission are free.

Steamship William G. Mather Museum

Steamship William G. Mather Museum, the William G. Mather is a retired Great Lakes bulk freighter built in Detroit by the Great Lakes Engineering Works, River Rouge, Michigan in 1925. The flagship for the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company, the Mather remained an active part of the fleet until 1980. Visitors can explore the ship’s living quarters, the pilothouse, galley, and four-story engine room.

USS Cod Submarine

USS Cod Submarine, a World War II submarine docked on Lake Erie, the USS Cod is designated Cod a National Historic Landmark and dedicated to the submariners who lost their lives during the 100 year history of the United States Navy Submarine Force.

Considered one of the finest restored submarines on display, the Cod is the only U.S. submarine that has not had stairways and doors cut into her pressure hull for public access. Instead, visitors use the same vertical ladders and hatches that were used by her crew. All of the vessel’s seven war patrols were designated as “successful” and the submarine received seven battle stars and was credited with having sunk a total of 26,985 tons of Japanese shipping.

The submarine is open for visitors daily from May through September from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for senions and $3 for students and military with ID.

main photo credit:Creative Commons License photo credit: Charles Burkett