Now that Charlie is at the age where he is on the move constantly, we’ve been taking him to some of Cleveland’s best affordable, easy-to-navigate, family-friendly places to visit. Whether you have young kids or expecting your first chid, here is a list of where we have taken Charlie so far and where we want to take him when he is older.
Cleveland Indian’s Game: We took Charlie to his first Indian’s game last August (he was 5 months). Looking back, we probably should have either gone later in the season with cooler temperatures (see Charlie curls) or when he was a bit older. Between the loud cheering and hot/humid temperatures, Charlie was not a happy camper (lesson learned). So we will try again when he is a bit older and can enjoy it. There is an area designated for families with plenty of activities like the Kids Clubhouse. Kids of all ages can enjoy a two-story slide and interactive locker room in the indoor area. And outdoors they have interactive pitching, fielding and batting activities.
Cleveland Metropark’s Zoo/ Rainforest: Friends of ours bought us a membership to the Zoo/Rainforest for Christmas and we have definitely taken full advantage of it! Prior to us becoming members, we took Charlie to see the Asian Lantern Festival and he loved every minute. The festival featured more than 40 larger than life lanterns and ran from July 19 to August 19. Since its the middle of Winter right now, the Rainforest has been a nice escape from the cold temperatures. There is still plenty of animals and plants to look at and keep your child entertained.
The Botanical Gardens: While they don’t necessarily have activities for young kids, between the colors of the flowers/plants and the butterflies flying all around, Charlie was definitely entertained. We recently went to Orchid Mania which runs from January 26th through March 10th. I can’t recommend this exhibit enough, so if you’re local, go now! There are over 3,000 orchid flowers in every shape, size, scent, and color.
Greater Cleveland Aquarium: The aquarium was once a powerhouse on the West Bank of the Flats so the building itself is awesome. We’ve also been to a wedding here and the views of the Cuyahoga river make for a great photo opp. I think the main attraction of the aquarium is the Shark tunnel that you walk under when exiting. The aquarium has 9 galleries that you walk through with many fresh and salt water animals.
The Children’s Museum of Cleveland: Last Sunday I met a friend and her daughter at the Children’s Museum. Charlie refused to nap prior to going and I was on my own as my husband was in California for work. Needless to say, I was dealing with a major meltdown. That was until we walked into the “Meadow” room, he couldn’t get out of my arms quick enough! This room was specifically designed for infants, crawlers, and early walkers. The room was filled with bright colors and a sensory-rich environment. Next we walked into “Adventure City.” This is the largest exhibit that was designed for children to build and climb. Charlie was a little too young for this space, but we certainly enjoyed the Reading Nook room off to the side. The last area we had time for was the “Wonder Lab.” A word of advice, bring your child an extra change of clothes! They will have so much fun entering the world of water.
Still to visit:
Great Lakes Science Center: I’ve been here a few times and always thought this would be a great place to take Charlie when he is old enough to fully appreciate it. Between hundreds of exhibits, the Science Center also offers the Cleveland Clinic DOME theater. You sit under the giant dome screen surrounded by images and sounds.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad: Let me clarify, THE POLAR EXPRESS! Every night from November 9th to December 20th, families can experience the magic of the holiday season abroad THE POLAR EXPRESS and ride through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It’s no secret that Christmas is my favorite holiday and I thoroughly enjoyed this past year celebrating Charlie’s first Christmas. I always said when he’s older, we’re putting on our matching PJ’s and boarding the train for an evening of hot cocoa and cookies. There’s even a special visit from Santa himself!
Lake Metroparks Farmpark: If you’re from the Cleveland area, no doubt you went here as a kid on a field trip. They have a horse or tractor-drawn wagons that you can ride to all of the destinations throughout the park. There are a ton of exhibits and attractions for kids of all ages.
If you have any recommendations of other family friendly adventures, let me know!