A photo at Holmes County’s Farm at Walnut Creek. (

Kid Pleasers Abound In Northeast Ohio

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By Susan Glaser
The Plain Dealer

You can feed a giraffe, build a sand castle or take a train ride through a national park — and that’s just for starters.

Northeast Ohio is filled with family-friendly fun, from spacesuits and dinosaurs to a pro-football shrine and a Costa Rican rainforest.

Here’s a list of favorites.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

Young and old enjoy this attraction, with several thousand animals spread across 183 acres.

It’s best to set aside a full day to see everything here: Australian Adventure, African Elephant Crossing, the Rainforest and much more. At African Savanna, visitors can hand-feed lettuce to one of four Masai giraffes.

Admission: $10.25 to $14.25, free for children younger than 2; parking: free

Information: 216-661-6500,


Akron Zoo
505 Euclid Ave., Akron (Summit County)

Unlike the much larger Columbus and Cleveland zoos, this 35-acre site is just the right size for younger visitors — the perfect space to explore in a couple of hours.

Don’t-miss exhibits include Penguin Point, home to a dozen Humboldt penguins; Grizzly Ridge, with grizzly bears, coyotes, red wolves and river otters; and Farmland, where kids can pet and feed goats and ride a train. And don’t leave before taking a spin on the Conservation Carousel, featuring 33 animal figures to ride.

Admission: $9 to $12; parking: free

Information: 330-375-2550,


Cleveland Botanical Garden
11030 East Blvd., Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

The Hershey Children’s Garden is a magical place for younger children, with a treehouse, vegetable garden, stocked pond and more.

When you’re finished outside, head indoors to the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse, which has Madagascar desert and Costa Rican rainforest biomes.

On exhibit through Aug. 27: “Nature Connects: Art With Lego Bricks,” featuring 13 Lego sculptures of natural scenes, plus build-your-own sculptures and other activities.

Admission: $8 to $12, free for children 2 or younger; parking: $8

Information: 216-721-1600,


Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland
601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

There’s plenty here to keep children of all ages entertained and learning for hours, including the Polymer Funhouse, dozens of hands-on science exhibits and shows, plus the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, where visitors can peek inside the 1973 Skylab 3 Command Module and try on a spacesuit.

Also here: the William S. Mather Steamship (a restored 618-foot historic ship) and Cleveland Clinic Dome Theater.

Admission: $12 to $15, additional fee for theater and steamship; parking: rates vary

Information: 216-694-2000,


Cuyahoga Valley National Park
1550 Boston Mills Road, Peninsula (Summit County)

There’s no shortage of great hiking here, with children often showing a special fondness for the giant rock formations along the park’s Ledges trail.

When you tire of walking, try pedaling instead — on some of the 20 miles of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, which cuts through the park. And when you tire of pedaling, hop aboard the Cuyahoga

Valley Scenic Railroad, which has stops throughout the park.

A fitting end to your park day: the Yum Yum Sweet Shop, 1593 Main St., in downtown Peninsula.

Admission and parking: free

Information: 330-657-2752;


Fairport Harbor Lakefront Beach
301 Huntington Beach Drive, Fairport Harbor (Lake County)

Among the many enticing stretches of sand along northeastern Ohio’s Lake Erie coast, Fairport Harbor stands out.

The 21-acre beachfront park, managed by the Lake Metroparks, has a playground, kayak and paddleboard rentals, concession stands and more.

It also has lifeguards as well as a designated dog-swim area, which makes it perfect for four-legged family members.

Admission: free; parking: $3

Information: 440-639-9972,


The Farm at Walnut Creek
4147 County Road 114, Sugarcreek (Holmes County)

This is no ordinary Amish farm, what with camels, kangaroos and giraffes roaming about.

Visitors can take a wagon ride or drive their car through the farmland, which houses 500-plus animals, including porcupines, pigs, ostriches and zebras. If you buy a bucket of food, you’ll likely entice the animals to come closer.

Also on-site: two Amish-style farmhouses (that is, without electricity) where visitors can watch quilting and other demonstrations and buy baked goods.

Admission: $8.75 to $11.75; parking: free

Information: 330-893-4200,


Mohican State Park
3116 state Route 3, Loudonville (Ashland County)

One of the state’s most popular parks, Mohican offers terrific hiking and more.

You can rent a canoe and paddle down the Clear Fork, Black Fork and Mohican rivers. The park also has mountain-bike and biking and horseback-riding trails. Another draw: zip-lining at nearby Tree Frog Canopy Tours.

You can spend the night at the Mohican State Park Lodge, where children 10 or younger eat free. Other overnight options: Rent a cabin or pitch a tent.

Admission: free; parking: free

Information: 419-994-4290,


Pro Football Hall of Fame
2121 George Halas Drive N.W., Canton (Stark County)

Sports fans won’t want to miss this shrine to football, filled with entertaining, interactive exhibits.

Among the highlights: the Pro Football Today gallery, with uniforms and other memorabilia from the sport’s most recent stars; the Super Bowl Gallery and “Road to the Super Bowl” film; and an interactive space with video, trivia and call-the-play games.

New in 2016: “A Game for Life,” a high-tech, locker-room pep talk, narrated by a holographic Joe Namath, and featuring the inspiring stories of a half-dozen NFL greats.

Upcoming events: 2017 Enshrinement Week kicks off Aug. 3 with the Hall of Fame Game (Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys), the Grand Parade (Aug. 5), Enshrinement Ceremony (Aug. 5), and

Concert for Legends featuring Toby Keith (Aug. 6).

Admission: $18 to $25, free for children younger than 6; parking: $10

Information: 330-456-8207,


Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Blvd., Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

A lot of art museums bore kids — but not this one.

The museum’s Gallery One, which made its debut in 2013 as part of a $350 million renovation and expansion, has been a huge hit with children of all ages.

Exhibits here combine real works of art with tech-heavy interaction centered on themes such as Composition, Symbols, Purpose and Gestures and Emotion. (Note: Part of Gallery One was closed in March for a renovation; it will reopen in June with new exhibits and a new name, ArtLens Gallery.)

Other kid favorites in the museum include the Armor Court and the outdoor Fine Arts Garden with adjacent lagoon.

Adults might want to catch the upcoming special exhibit “Rodin: Master of Modern Sculpture” (beginning Sept. 1).

Admission: free; parking: $10 first two hours, $2 each hour thereafter to $16

Information: 216-421-7350, 1-888-262-0033,


Northeast Ohio: Other attractions

A sampling of additional seasonal activities, compiled by Susan Glaser of The Plain Dealer.




* Description: A dozen water slides, plus an inner-tube ride, activity pools and kids’ play areas. Also: paddle boats, batting cages, mini-golf, disc golf, go-kart racing and more.

* Location: 10661 Kile Road, Chardon (Geauga County)

* Open: operating hours vary; call for details

* Admission: $24.95, with some activities additional; discounts available online; free for children 2 or younger

* Parking: $4

* Where to buy tickets/information: at the park and online; 440-285-0910 to confirm operation in the event of inclement weather,




* Description: 48th season for the historical drama about the founding of Ohio’s first settlement

* Location: Schoenbrunn Amphitheatre, New Philadelphia (Tuscarawas County)

* Performances: various dates 8:30 p.m. June 16 to Aug. 19; “All Shook Up” (six shows 8:30 p.m. July 8, 14, 22, 28; Aug. 4 and 12); “The Odd Couple” (8:30 p.m. July 27, 2 p.m. Aug. 13); “The Rat Pack Lounge” (2 p.m. July 30, 8:30 p.m. Aug. 10)

* Admission: $10 (children age 12 and younger) to $20 for all shows

* Seating capacity: 1,279

* Wheelchair access: yes

* Running time: 2 1/2 hours for “Trumpet” and “All Shook Up”; 2 hours for “The Odd Couple” and “The Rat Pack Lounge”

* Information: 330-339-1132,




* Description: The summertime home of the Cleveland Orchestra also hosts dozens of rock, pop and country music concerts throughout the season. A covered pavilion seats 5,700, and a large lawn area can seat up to 13,500. Pack a blanket and a picnic dinner and enjoy music under the stars.

* Location: 1145 W. Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls (Summit County)

* Upcoming shows include: Sam Hunt (June 1), Train (June 24), Lady Antebellum (July 21), Rod Stewart (July 28), James Taylor (Aug. 9), Green Day (Aug. 21) (check website for complete schedule)

* Parking: included with ticket; premium spots $15 to $35 in advance

*Tickets/information: prices vary; 330-920-8040 or; or



* Description: Two covered amphitheaters, Evans and Alma, draw music and arts lovers to a variety of programs all summer in this municipal park.

* Location: Between Lee and S. Taylor roads (bordered by Superior Road and Hyde Park Avenue), Cleveland Heights (Cuyahoga County)

* Performances include: David Sanborn (June 17), Stephen Stills, Judy Collins (July 28), and “The Music Man” (check website for complete schedule)

* Parking: area streets and lots

* Tickets/information: prices vary; 216-371-3000,



* Description: Sixteenth-annual blues fest features 18 performances on two stages and draws 12,000 to 15,000 people.

* Location: 301 Market Ave. N., downtown Canton (Market Avenue North between 3rd and 4th streets, Stark County)

* Dates: June 9-10

* Performers include: Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers (June 9), Robben Ford (June 10) (check website for complete schedule)

* Parking: area lots, on-street parking

* Tickets/information: event is free, with VIP passes available for $50 to $80 that includes food, beverage and close views of the stage; 1-800-533-4302,



* Description: Three-day country music festival also includes admission to the New Adventure water park and other Clay’s Park amenities.

* Location: Clay’s Park Resort, 13190 Patterson St. N.W., Canal Fulton (Stark County)

* Dates: June 22-24

* Performers include: Kane Brown, Cam (June 22), Justin Moore, Dylan Scott (June 23), Blake Shelton, Travis Tritt (June 24) (check website for complete schedule)

* Admission: $59 for a one-day pass to $220 for three days plus camping

* Parking: $10

* Tickets/information: 330-930-0398,



* Description: 5,000-seat covered, outdoor amphitheater is on the west bank of the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland

* Location: 2014 Sycamore St., the Flats, downtown Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

* Performances include: Paul Simon (June 13), Third Eye Blind (July 8), Idina Menzel (July 12), Goo Goo Dolls (Aug. 5), Yestival: Yes, Todd Rundgren and Carl Palmer (Aug. 20) (check website for complete schedule)

* Tickets: prices vary; check website for ticket information

* Parking: various lots

* Tickets/information: 440-247-2722,


Cleveland Museum of Natural History

* Description: The dinosaurs alone are enough to get most kids through the door. But there’s more: a planetarium, a moon rock, and Balto, the Siberian husky who helped contain a diphtheria outbreak by delivering medicine to Nome, Alaska, in 1925. (Balto, on loan to the Anchorage Museum in Alaska, returns in June.)

* Location: 1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

* New at the museum: The Perkins Wildlife Center, a lush outdoor space with live animal exhibits, plus interactive areas; “Amazing Species: Life at the Limits” explores the diverse strategies that animals and plants use to find food and fend off predators, reproduce and thrive in habitats many would find difficult to live in (through July 9)

* Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays

* Admission: $10 to $16, free for children 2 or younger

* Parking: parking garage

* Information: 216-231-4600,



* Description: This shrine to rock ‘n’ roll features interactive exhibits, costume displays and artifacts, plus lots and lots of music to listen to.

* Location: 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., corner of E. 9th Street and Erieside Avenue, Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

* Open: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, until 9 p.m. Wednesdays

* Admission: $13.75 to $23.50, free for children 5 or younger

* Parking: nearby lots, garages and on-street meters

* Special exhibits: Making its debut in June is “The Power of Rock Experience,” a 12-minute film that focuses on 32 years of the hall’s induction ceremonies.

* Information: 216-781-ROCK,





* Description: Can the Tribe make a repeat trip to the World Series? Cleveland baseball fans are counting on it.

* Location: Progressive Field, 2401 Ontario St., Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

* Upcoming home series include: June 9-11: vs. White Sox, June 23-25: vs. Twins, July 7-9: vs. Tigers, Aug. 3-6: vs. Yankees (check website for complete schedule)

* Admission: $12 for upper reserved to $85 for infield club

* Parking: nearby lots

* Tickets/information: through Ticketmaster (, 1-866-48-TRIBE, team-shop locations, at the park or online; 216-420-4200,



* Description: The Cleveland Indians’ class AA affiliate plays in lovely Canal Park, with seating for 7,600 in downtown Akron.

* Location: Canal Park, 300 S. Main St., Akron (Summit County)

* Upcoming home series include: June 2-4: vs. Reading, June 16-18: vs. Portland, June 26-29: vs. Erie (check website for complete schedule)

* Admission: $5 to $25

* Parking: nearby lots

* Tickets/information: 330-253-5153; 330-253-5151, 1-855-97-QUACK,



* Description: The minor-league team, a class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, plays in 6,157-seat Classic Park.

* Location: 35300 Vine St., Eastlake (Lake County)

* Upcoming home series include: June 2-4: vs. South Bend; June 9-12: vs. Bowling Green, June 13-15: vs. Fort Wayne (check website for complete schedule)

* Admission: $10 to $15; parking: $8

* Parking: advance fee $6, ($8 day of game) on gold lots at stadium, private lots off Curtis Boulevard

* Tickets/information: 440-954-9467; 440-975-8085,



* Description: The Crushers, members of the independent Frontier League, play their games at the newly renamed 5,000-seat Sprenger Stadium (formerly All Pro Freight Stadium).

* Location: 2009 Baseball Blvd., Avon (Lorain County)

* Upcoming home series include: June 6-8: vs. Southern Illinois, June 9-11: vs. Gateway, June 20-22: vs. Washington (check website for complete schedule)

* Admission: $6 to $15; children 3 or younger free

* Parking: $3 on-site

* Tickets/information: 440-934-3636 or at stadium ticket office;



* Description: The short-season class A team, affiliated with the Cleveland Indians, plays at Eastwood Field in Niles.

* Location: 111 Eastwood Mall Blvd., Niles (Trumbull County)

* Upcoming home series include: June 21-23: vs. Auburn, June 24-26: vs. State College; July 4-6: vs. West Virginia (check website for complete schedule)

* Admission: $8 to $30

* Parking: $3, on-site

* Tickets/information: 330-505-0000;




* Description: Akron’s Firestone Country Club again plays host to some of the best golfers in the world.

* Location: Firestone Country Club, 452 E. Warner Road, Akron (Summit County)

* Dates: Aug. 3-6

* Admission: daily grounds ticket, $25 to $45; reserved bleacher seats, $95 to $150; weekly grounds ticket, $145 to $425

* Parking: $5

* Tickets/information: 1-888-401-8000, 844-868-7465, or online; 330-644-2299,


Pro football


* Description: After a dismal 1-15 season in 2016, fans are hopeful that the first pick in the NFL draft — defensive end Myles Garrett from Texas A&M University — can help turn the team around.

* Location: FirstEnergy Stadium, 100 Alfred Lerner Way, Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

* Preseason home games: Aug. 10: vs. New Orleans Saints, Aug. 21 vs. New York Giants

* Admission: to be determined

* Parking: lots within walking distance of the stadium

* Tickets/information: 440-824-3434, through Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000, or online; 440-891-5000,


Harness racing


* Description: Live harness racing takes place four nights a week, plus the Hard Rock Rocksino has 2,000 slot machines.

* Location: 10705 Northfield Road, Northfield (Summit County)

* Season: live racing Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays (post times 6 p.m.)

* Admission: free

* Parking: free

* Information: 330-467-4101,


Horse racing


* Description: Home of the Ohio Derby, Thistledown offers live thoroughbred racing from May to October, plus simulcast racing.

* Location: 21501 Emery Road, North Randall (Cuyahoga County)

* Season: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (post time 1:40 p.m.) through late October; simulcasting daily

* Admission: free

* Parking: free

* Information: 216-662-8600,