A few weeks before school started our family decided to take a day trips outside of Pittsburgh. We thought it would be a fun way to end the summer and I was excited to go somewhere new. We had heard amazing things about Cleveland, Ohio. After looking up a few places to take the kids, we packed the bags and the car, and were on the road early one Saturday morning.
As a family who frequently drives on the Pennsylvania turnpike and stops at their service plazas, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the Ohio turnpike service plazas. They were fairly new, clean, spacious, and had a Panera. I am always up for Panera Hazelnut coffee and a scone! In addition, there was plenty of space for the kids to run around to get their legs moving.
We decided that our first stop in Cleveland would be the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. It was a beautiful, sunny day and we wanted to take advantage of the weather. As we are members of the Pittsburgh Zoo, we always ask a zoo if they reciprocate their membership. Unfortunately, they said they recently stopped reciprocating with the Pittsburgh Zoo. Noteworthy, as a result of being a member of the Pittsburgh Zoo, some zoos do reciprocate giving you free or up to 50% off admission . The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has various activities you can pay extra to do. We really just wanted to see the zoo and not do all the other things, so we paid for the basic entrance fee. This gets you into the zoo and the rainforest dome.
We expected to be at the zoo for 2 to 3 hours, because it typically takes us that long to go through a zoo. We were there for 5 hours! The zoo is spread out over several acres of land, and some areas you will have a nice walk to get to them. Our family’s personal favorite section was the tree house with the snake slide. Be careful though, you do come down quite fast and wearing shorts can give you a nice brush burn. Also, there is a really cool surprise at the bottom of the slide!
One thing that was really a nice touch was the design of the facilities. A lot was taken into consideration to make you feel like you were in that part of the world. Each enclosure was conducive to the natural habitat of that respective animal. The rainforest is at the entrance of the zoo, so we decided to do this after the zoo. We really enjoyed the rainforest and the animals inside. However due to a long day in the sun, the hot environment was too much for our family. Most note worthy about this zoo, there is a lot of walking involved so if you have little ones I highly recommend bringing a stroller.
Our day trip was spent mostly at the zoo, as a result we didn’t get to do other activities. Our hopes of getting to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium which was built in a historic powerhouse on the west bank of the Cuyahoga River, did happen. Next day trip to Cleveland! Other activities that you can do with the kids in Cleveland include Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Children’s Museum of Cleveland, and The Christmas Story House and Museum.
We had an amazing day trip even though we left early in the morning to get there at a reasonable time. We could have done more museums, but we really did enjoy the zoo. I can’t wait to go back, and this time we may even stay for an entire weekend. Remember, Life is Better Traveling.
Tell us what your favorite Cleveland Kid’s Activities are, or where in Cleveland you like to take your family…