Local Getaways/Day Trips in Cleveland, OH
Known as “The Roller Coaster Capital of the World,” Cedar Point makes a great destination for a day on your own, a family trip or a weekend with the girls. Located less than hour away from downtown Cleveland, it’s more than worth the drive. Thrill rides provide a heart-pounding experience for thrill-seekers, but there are several laid-back rides for those who may not be as daring. If walking in the sun gets too hot for you, the accompanying water park can provide some relief. There is an additional charge for the water park, so buy tickets that cover both is you know you’ll want to go.
You can’t spend time in Cleveland without visiting one of northern Ohio’s greatest gems. Cuyahoga National Park preserves over 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River from Cleveland to Akron. There’s almost no limit to what you can do while you’re here. Take a hike or a bike ride, explore caves, canoe, kayak, fish, go horseback riding or watch the birds. The huge park is packed with visitor centers, so make sure to start your trip off by visiting one and pick up a map – it’s easy to get lost out there! Not in the mood for a big hike? Park in one of the lots and explore the nearby land. Every inch of this place is beautiful.
You can easily spend a whole day at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, which takes up ten acres in the heart of the University District. There are several gardens outside, each with their own unique theme. Come as often as you like, because the place is always changing. Bring your camera and take some pictures – you’ll never run out of great shots. Parking can be scarce near the gardens, but they offer a special rate to guests who wish to park in the attached garage. Bring your own lunch and find a pretty spot for a picnic or stop for a bite at the on-site café.
Get out your walking shoes, because there’s a ton to see at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Visit animals from around the world, including endangered species. Take a walk in the indoor rainforest to experience another part of the world. Pack a cooler with drinks and snacks – it can get pricey to feed the family at the zoo. When you need to take a break, sit back on a bench while the kids enjoy the huge playground. If it gets too chilly, take a ride on the enclosed tram, free of charge.
Everyone wants a chance to see a real dinosaur, right? If so, be sure to schedule a stop at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History into your trip. This place is packed with dinosaurs both inside and outside. These giant structures, both skeletons and reproductions of the actual creatures, will amaze children (and adults!) of any age. Also on display are animals native to the Cleveland area, as well as information about how the area was formed. Hands-on exhibits will keep younger children entertained. The ever-changing special exhibits are always exciting, and make sure there’s always something new to see.