Cleveland is one of those places where you could try to cram more than two destinations into a one-day visit, but I wouldn't recommend it. Not if you all want to be on speaking terms for the drive home.
Cleveland is one of those places where you could try to cram more than two destinations into a one-day visit, but I wouldn't recommend it. Not if you all want to be on speaking terms for the drive home. I recently sampled two itineraries over two days, basing each on finding two sites close to each other. You could visit both but, even better, if you've got a wide age range of kids (and two responsible adults), you could split up and max out on each place. ITINERARY NO. 1: THE HARBOR *Great Lakes Science Center: Best for the grades 2-8 range, but teens might also enjoy this spacious, hands-on facility. There's a heavy emphasis on geometry and physics with the two dozen or so interactive stations. It also houses a NASA-sponsored space-exploration center. As with COSI, there is a space for small children (ages 7 and younger) in their Funhouse. 601 Erieside Ave., 216-694-2000, glsc.org HOURS: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) COST: for general admission only, $14 adults, $12 youth (ages 2 to 12); youth (ages 18 and younger) admitted free on Tuesdays PARKING TIP: A covered parking garage on Erieside Avenue (next to Browns Stadium) costs $7 (with museum validation) and has an underground walkway into the museum. Parking in "Port of Cleveland" lots on the north and west sides of the stadium cost $5. You should probably avoid going during a Browns game. *Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum: Located next door and accessible from a harborfront walkway, but approaching the building from the front is worth the walk for the awe-inspiring view. The museum probably will appeal most to teens but I think, if you're raising your kids right (i.e., to listen to your music), then just about any age will enjoy learning the stories behind the music they've heard at home. Oddly, I found the atmosphere here to be relaxing, especially compared to the science center. 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., 216-781-7625, rockhall.org HOURS: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) and til 9 p.m. on Wednesdays COST: $22 adults, $13 youth ages 9 to 12, free for youth 8 and under with a paid adult admission, $17 seniors and military personnel (with ID) ITINERARY NO. 2: UNIVERSITY CIRCLE *Children's Museum of Cleveland: While this place looks more like a large preschool than a museum, there's something about their low-key, low-tech set-up that is very enjoyable. We visited here a lot when our kids were very young and they spent hours playing in the pint-sized grocery store, barn, house, bank and hospital. Bottom line: a parent could kick back, relax and just let the wee ones role play for hours (and it is geared toward the 7-and-under crowd). 10730 Euclid Ave., 216-791-5437, clevelandchildrensmuseum.org HOURS: 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m. daily COST: $7 per person, free for infants 11 months and younger TIPS: Free parking is available in their own lot (accessible from both Euclid Avenue and Stearns Road). Their gift shop has a great assortment of snacks including juice boxes, Silk-brand soy drinks, raisins and other non-junky items. You can also bring your own food and picnic outside. *Cleveland Museum of Natural History: If you've got a student in the earth-sciences phase of his or her education, a visit here is a must. The exhibits on earthquakes, volcanoes, gems, minerals, soils and glaciers are truly impressive. They've also got an excellent dinosaur hall and areas devoted to human history. The outdoor areas are microcosms of Ohio nature (but their tiny animal enclosures may sadden you as they did me). 1 Wade Oval Dr., 216-231-4600 or 800-317-9155, cmnh.org HOURS: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and stays open until 10 p.m. on Wednesdays, 12 noon-5 p.m. Sundays, closed on all major holidays COST: $10 adults (ages 19+), $8 youth (ages 7 through 18), $7 youth (3 to 6), free youth (2 and under) TIPS: A new exhibit on whales opens this October. Parking in their lot costs $2 per hour. The world-class Cleveland Museum of Art (clevelandart.org; closed Mondays) is a short walk across the oval from here, but they're in the midst of a major renovation until the end of 2013 and, frankly, hiking through the rearranged galleries is arduous.