Located on the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland, Ohio offers plenty of culture, diversity, entertainment, attractions and more. Here are our recommendations for kid friendly must-see attractions for a Cleveland family vacation.
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Pro Football Hall of Fame
Tim Ponisciak: Football fans young and old will love visiting Canton to check out the Hall of Fame. It is located right next to I77. The Hall of Fame features busts of all of the players who enshrined and there are also many interactive exhibits that youngsters will enjoy!
Cost: adults $25, kids 6-12 $18, under 6 free
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train Ride
Katie G.: All aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Railroad where you and the family can enjoy a scenic view of the greater Cleveland area. Traveling North to South through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, there are several different excursions to choose from throughout the year, including the ever popular Polar Express. The basic excursion lets you hop on and off at one of the three stops in the National Park on this 3-1/2 hour round trip journey. Restrooms and snacks are available on board. Sit back, relax and enjoy the view!
Cost: Ticket prices vary and can be purchased online
Lake Metroparks Farmpark
Katie G.: Ever wonder what it's like to live and work on a farm? Visit the Lake Metroparks Farmpark for a chance to learn about science, agriculture and farming. Learn how to milk a dairy cow, see how cheese is made, grind corn and wheat, make bread and visit with many different farm animals including pigs, sheep, goats, horses, cows and chickens. Horse-drawn wagon rides are offered daily and included in admission. Grab a snack at the J&J Cafe and let the kids run around on the fun, farm-themed playground.
Cost: $8/Adults, $6/Child (2-11), Free/Under 2
Melt Bar & Grilled
Katie G.: It's hard to find a kid that doesn't love grilled cheese. Be sure to swing by one of the many Melt Bar & Grilled locations throughout the Cleveland area for a tasty sandwich and maybe a cold brew (for Mom and Dad). Founded in Cleveland, Melt offers several varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches, including simple varieties like the Kindergarten with cheese and bread to more gourmet choices like the chicken and waffles. For those who may not like a cheesy sandwich, there are soups, salads and plenty of appetizers to choose from.
Katie G.: Happy Dog is a hot dog restaurant like you've never seen. Order your basic beef or vegan sausage and top it with as many toppings as you can fit on the bun. Kids will love the crazy, unique toppings such as Froot Loops, mac and cheese and spaghetti o's. With 50 toppings to choose from there's something for everyone. Pile on as much as you want for the same low price. Tater tots and fries are available to accompany your dog along with over 75 beers to choose from.
Euclid Beach Park
Katie G.: If you're visiting Cleveland in the summer, chances are you'll want to visit one of the many beaches along the waterfront of Lake Erie. Euclid Beach Park is perfect for families as it boasts a long stretch of sand, picnic shelters, restrooms and an observation pier. Perhaps the biggest attraction for families is the Grand Carousel with beautiful hand-crafted wooden horses dating back to 1910 where the Euclid Beach Park amusement park once stood.
Cleveland Botanical Garden
Katie G.: Take in the beauty of nature at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. With over 20 unique and lush indoor and outdoor gardens to explore ranging from the rainforest to the desert, you are sure to enjoy your time no matter the season. Kids will love visiting the hands-on Hershey Children's Garden (open seasonally March - October) where they can climb a treehouse, explore the mini ecological areas, view honeybee hives, search for aquatic life in the pond and play at the natural playground.
Cost: $12/Adults, $8/Child (3-12), Free/2 and under
Cleveland Museum of Art
Katie G.: The Cleveland Museum of Art offers free admission to the public year-round, making this a great choice for the family looking to save a dime on vacation. There are plenty of activities for families to see and experience at the museum, including interactive and hands-on exhibits as well as daily events including Open Studio, Art Stories and Art Together.
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Katie G.: Learn and explore at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Visit the permanent and traveling exhibits at the museum to learn about science and the natural world. The Perkins Wildlife Center gives you an up close look at Ohio nature with several different walkways through the woods and animal ambassadors to visit. For families with young children, be sure to visit the Smead Discovery Center, a hands-on learning center with plenty to do for young kids. Stop by the museum store for a sourvenier or grab a bite to eat at the Exploration restaurant.
Cost: $17/Adults, $14/Child (3-18), Free/Under 2
Children's Museum of Cleveland
Katie G.: The Children's Museum of Cleveland lets kids of all ages imagine, create and play. Kids can get wet at the Wonder Lab exploring whirlpools and water tables or they can build, work and climb at Adventure City. If you have a little artist on hand, they will love the Arts & Parts Studio where kids work with various materials and supplies to create what they want. Guests are encouraged to bring their own food, as there are only vending machines available. During the Spring and Summer months, enjoy one of the traveling food truck vendors.
Ages: Recommended 8 and under
Cost: $12/Adults & Children
A Christmas Story House Tour
Katie G.: The famous holiday movie, A Christmas Story, was filmed in Cleveland and visitors are welcome to tour the house year round. Older kids will appreciate the humor of the holiday classic and will love seeing artifacts, photos and learning about the actors from the movie at the official A Christmas Story House Museum. Be sure to stop by the gift shop after your tour to pick up your own "major award" replica to take home.
*Insider Note: The tours sell out fast during the very crowded Christmas holiday season.
Cost: $11/Adults, $8/Child (3 - 12), Free/Child (2 and under)
Katie G.: Playhouse Square is Cleveland's go-to destination for theater and the performing arts. There are eight theaters playing many different varieties of shows ranging from traveling Broadway shows to concerts and comedy acts. Families will enjoy walking around the square admiring the picturesque facades of the historic theaters. Be sure to check out the events page utilizing the "family" category search feature for upcoming performances and shows.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Katie G.: The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is home to many animal exhibits, a Rainforest, interactive kids section, attractions, a gift shop and restaurants. The zoo strives to protect and improve the future of wildlife around the world. Visit with animals such as gorillas, elephants, lions, tigers, bears, birds, rodents and more. Explore the Rainforest with plants and animals from the Asian, African and American jungles. Enjoy one of the many attractions such as the carousel, train ride, 4D theater or giraffe feedings.
Cost: $14.95/Adults, $10.95/Child (2-11), Free/Child (Under 2)
Cleveland Indians Baseball Game
Katie G.: Catch a ballgame at Progressive Field to watch the Cleveland Indians take on one of their MLB rivals. This beautiful ballpark is also family-friendly with a section dedicated just to families. The Family Deck offers a Kids Clubhouse designed to keep kids entertained before (or during) the game. There is a parents lounge, nursing stations, family-friendly concessions and interactive activities. Smaller kids will also love the smaller-scale baseball field, slide and ride on toys. Take advantage of the KeyBank Kids Ticket for an economical way to enjoy the game.
Tickets: Start at $15
West Side Market
Katie G.: Looking for a good lunch option while in town? Head on over to the West Side Market which is the oldest public market in Cleveland. The market has over 100 vendors offering traditional and unique items such as meats, seafood, fruits, vegetables, spices and nuts. The beauty about the market is that each person can choose what they want to eat whether that be Asian or Italian or Greek. Save room for dessert at Grandma Campbell's Cupcakes or Oooo...Fudge.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Katie G.: Introduce your kids to the history of the music you grew up listening to at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum. Throughout the museum you will explore various exhibits learning about where rock and roll came from and view artifacts from famous rock legends such as Elvis, The Beatles, Tom Petty, Aretha Franklin and more. There are interactive exhibits, movies about legendary rock icons and an outdoor stage featuring live music during the summer months.
Cost: $23-$26/Adults, $14-$16/Kids (6-12), Free/Kids (5 and under)
Great Lakes Science Center
Katie G.: Kids can have fun running around, building and exploring STEM activities at the Great Lakes Science Center. Interact with hands-on exhibits, visit traveling exhibits, catch a planetarium show at the Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater, learn about space at the NASA Glenn Visitor Center or tour the giant William G. Mather Steamship (open seasonally May-Oct). There is even an indoor and outdoor youth area for kids under 7 to jump, play, explore.
Cost: $13.95 - $16.95/person
Greater Cleveland Aquarium
Katie G.: Visit with fascinating sea creatures at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. See fish and turtles that are native to Ohio, specifically Lake Erie at the Ohio Lakes + Rivers gallery. Learn about sea life around the world, including an interactive tortoise exhibit at the Lakes + Rivers of the World gallery. Don't miss out on the Tropical Reef gallery which showcases tropical fish around the world or the Shark Sea Tube where four different species of sharks will be swimming over your head in this underwater tunnel. Enjoy touch pools, a gift shop and cafe while visiting.
Cost: $19.95/Adult, $13.95/Child
Katie G.: Known as The Roller Coaster Capital of the World, Cedar Point boasts several roller coasters along with thrill rides, family rides and kid rides. If you need to cool off during the day, head over to Cedar Point Shores for fun water slides the whole family can enjoy.
Primary photo: Steve DiMatteo via Pexels
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