We recently visited Cleveland, Ohio and these are our Must-Do Activities with Kids in Cleveland. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Destination Cleveland. Affiliate links contained in this post earn us a commission that helps to continue to run this site.
My sister has lived in Cleveland for years now and since our parents are located at basically a mid-way point, we’ve always met there. We would plan for 2 times a year to get together, typically Easter and the summer. However, this year, I said I was going to drive the girls by myself to visit. Plane tickets out of Philadelphia have always been high (in my opinion) to get to Cleveland. My sister and I used to joke that we’d meet in the Bahamas since it was so much cheaper for both of us to fly there than to see each other.
Part of me thought I was crazy. I was going to drive with a 4.5 year old and a 2 year old alone more than 8 hours. Yup, I was definitely crazy. Both girls typically get antsy when we make the 2.5 hour trip to Hersheypark, so this was wayyyyy out of anyone’s realm of ideas. Except mine. I wanted to get there and see my sister and my nieces. My sister now has four little girls, so traveling for her is increasingly difficult.
Often, I’ve heard Cleveland doesn’t offer much. It’s just a manufacturing city that’s cold and gloomy. My sister promised me that she would change my mind. And she did. So much so, that we already have a list of things we want to do when we go back next.
7 Must-Do Activities with Kids in Cleveland
We did an insane amount of things while we were in Cleveland and over time we will share those with you, but for today, we wanted to share with you our 7 Must-Do Activities with Kids in Cleveland.
1- Great Lakes Science Center
First off, the Great Lakes Science Center is HUGE! It has a ton of activities for toddlers through adulthood. Everyone can literally walk away from the science center and say they learned something. While there dozens of activities packed in, the space wasn’t so overwhelming that you thought you were standing on top of people.
They have a special section blocked off just for younger kids too which made it nice to be able to sit and take a break while the kids ran around and played. Depending on the weather, there’s also an outdoors space where kids can do water activities and more. One really cool thing was that kids can make their own duck tape hats while they watch a scientist give a fun, educational demo.
2- Find a Cleveland Sign
Cleveland has installed three of these huge Cleveland signs throughout the city. We looked up the locations and one morning before we did anything else, we went and found one. The girls though it was so neat and I admittedly loved the fact that you could see the Cleveland skyline in the background. The sign in this post is at Edgewater Park, an amazing and very large park (with a beach in warmer weather). Other signs are located at North Coast Harbor and Abby Road.
3- Greater Cleveland Aquarium
We have an aquarium close to our home and we’ve been numerous times, so I was a little nervous that the girls would just be over it. However, there’s some really cool features at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, like talking to a scuba diver and touching sting rays an tortoises. Anytime that my girls are able to touch unique animals they are giddy.
4 – Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Like the aquarium, I was nervous the girls would have been so often, it wouldn’t be anything special. However, we had so much fun. Not only did we go at this amazing time where the leaves were changing so it provided an amazing backdrop but there were some awesome animals that we’d never seen, like elephants.
One of the biggest bonus points of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is that you are able to feed the giraffes. How many people can say they’ve done that (I guess a lot if you live in Cleveland, but still)!? It was so much fun. The girls squealed with delight as they waited for the giraffe to take the tettuce out of their hand. Plus, there’s a tiny baby giraffe that looked like a big toy!
There’s also this really amazing tree house at the back of the zoo. It’s huge, has a slide, and the girls just loved it.
5- Cleveland Botanical Gardens
Some people may not think the botanical gardens are a place for kid excitement, but our girls couldn’t contain their happiness. If you need to get some energy out of your littles, it’s a great place to let them run loose (but still supervised). There’s hidden treehouses, a children’s garden, and check times for the butterfly release daily in the afternoon at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
One of my biggest goals, is to let my kids outside and to explore nature and the outdoors as much as possible. They loved looked at all the flowers, see the water features, and the really tall trees.
6 – Ohio City Neighborhood
Once day, I was waiting for my sister and happened upon Ohio City Neighborhood, specifically 25th street. It’s an absolutely adorable area. We ate at a restaurant called Tabletop Cafe where you can play unlimited board games for a fee the entire day (Note: They charged me for my 2 year old to “play”) and then went across the street for ice cream at Mitchell’s. It’s an awesome ice cream shop where you can see how it’s made throughout certain times of the day. We definitely want to head back and explore more of this neighborhood.
Where’s your favorite Must-Do Activities with Kids in Cleveland? Leave us a comment and let us know so that when we return we can visit! There’s so many things that were on our list that we weren’t able to squeeze in that we are excited to return and explore. We definitely think Cleveland is a hidden gem in the United States for families and a must do bucket list city for everyone!
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