Something that always surprises people about visiting Cleveland for the first time is how much amazing stuff there is to do here! There are a ton of amazing breweries, spacious parks, really cool museums, and delicious restaurants.
However, if you’re traveling as a family, you may be more interested in finding things to do in Cleveland with kids. While some of those breweries and fancier restaurants may be off the table, there are SO many incredible kid-friendly activities in Cleveland.
Whether you want to explore the outdoors or enjoy some quality time spent at a museum, you’ll definitely want to try out these fun things to do in Cleveland with kids!
Top Things to do in Cleveland with Kids
1. The Children’s Museum of Cleveland
3813 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland
Kids can let their imaginations go wild at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland – but it’s a fun place for both children and those young at heart!
You can explore exhibits like Adventure City where kids can pretend to shop for groceries at the farmer’s market, go to the auto shop, and use materials to build whatever they’d like. The Wonder Lab exhibit is great for little scientists, and future artists will enjoy the Arts & Parts exhibit. This museum has plenty to keep your child entertained while also learning something new.
If you live in the area, you can also come to classes and workshops that they offer. For those who want to learn at home, the museum also offers Let’s Learn Activity Boxes sent to your door!
This museum is especially suited for younger kids, and its exhibits are designed for 0-8 years of age.
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 am-4 pm. Saturday from 10 am-5 pm. Sunday from 12-5 pm. Closed on Thursday.
Admission: $12 per person, children under 11 months old are free.
Parking: The museum has a free, private lot that can accommodate up to 100 cars.
Food: The museum does have a dedicated eating area, and you’re encouraged to bring your own food/snacks (only vending machines are available).
Accessibility note: The museum has autism resources available online, and has a Sensory Friendly Room on-site. Strollers are allowed, but stroller parking is limited; they recommend a small umbrella-style stroller if you have one.
COVID-19 update: This museum is currently closed. However, they have been offering reservations for rentals and sessions, and plan to re-open to the public on May 1, 2021.
2. Great Lakes Science Center
601 Erieside Ave, Cleveland
Located downtown along Lake Erie near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this museum is here to spark curiosity and learning for your child.
The Great Lakes Science Center offers something for kids of all ages, including places to learn about scientific phenomena, outer space, and the science of recycling, and also has exhibits featuring biomedical technology and engineering, and plenty of fun interactive exhibits for little ones.
The museum also has the Cleveland Clinic Dome Theater to immerse yourselves in featured films such as their current offerings of Tornado Alley and Titans of the Ice Age. For those looking for kid-friendly activities in Cleveland during school breaks, they also offer camps and other special events.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 am-5 pm. Sunday 12-5 pm.
Admission: Adult tickets are $16.95, children tickets are $13.95, and children under 2 are free.
Parking: Parking is available in the Science Center’s attached 500-car parking facility. You can pay for parking when purchasing your ticket, or pay when you leave. Parking is $8 when validated with museum entry.
Food: Spark Kitchen is open Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and from noon-3 p.m. on Sundays. There are also outdoor picnic areas if you want to bring your own food.
Accessibility note: Elevators are available and offer access to every floor. Limited wheelchair rentals are available each day, and you can bring your stroller inside.
COVID-19 update: Tickets must be purchased in advance to visit now. They can be purchased online here.
3. Cleveland Museum of Natural History
1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History never disappoints. This museum is packed with fun things for kids including the dinosaurs exhibit, the earthquake simulator, and the Perkins Wildlife Center where you can see live animals native to the area including coyotes, raccoons, otters, bobcats, and more!
There is also the interactive Smead Discovery Center, where children 10 and under can dig for fossils, check out specimens under a microscope, and inspect bones close up.
The CMNH also features summer camps, family nature hikes, and learning events for people of all ages. For adults, they even have Think & Drink with the Extinct happy hours on select evenings.
PS- This museum also has hidden “Easter eggs” to find! From the Volkswagen bug in the bug collection to the hidden hamburgers around the museum, you could spend a lot of time here just trying to find all of them!
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 10 am-5 pm. Closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Admission: Adults are $17; youth ages 3-18, seniors aged 60+, and college students (with ID) are $14; and children 2 and under are free.
Parking: CMNH has its own 300-space parking garage attached to the museum (entrance is located on Wade Oval Drive near the corner of East Boulevard). General parking is $10 for the first two and a half hours, then +$1 for each additional half hour (up to $16). There are also other garages nearby around Wade Oval.
Food: Exploration: A Zack Bruell Restaurant is open to visitors Wednesday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-5. p.m.
Accessibility note: All exhibit galleries and public spaces are fully wheelchair accessible, and the museum does have some wheelchairs visitors can use for free. For kiddos, strollers and wagons are welcome throughout CMNH, unless a special exhibit says otherwise.
COVID-19 update: You must purchase tickets in advance right now. They can be purchased here.
4. Cleveland History Center Merry-Go-Round
10825 East Blvd, Cleveland
Discover the history of the city at this family-friendly museum in Cleveland. Check out vintage cars, textiles, and fine arts at the Cleveland History Center, which is managed by the Western Reserve Historical Society.
While some kids will enjoy the old cars in the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum Exhibit and learning about Cleveland’s history, the real kid-friendly draw here is to take a spin on the carousel from 1910! The historic merry-go-round used to be located at Euclid Beach Park on Cleveland’s lakefront, but has been restored and is now a major fixture at the History Center.
Hours: Friday-Sunday 10 am-4 pm.
Admission: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors aged 62+ and college students with ID, $9 for veterans, $6 children ages 3-12, and children 2 and under as well as active military are free.
Parking: Parking is available in the museum’s adjacent parking lot located off Magnolia Drive. There is a fee to park ($8 for the first 2 hours, and then +$1 for each additional 30 minutes), which can be paid upon exit using a credit card.
Food: The museum does have a small cafe with light meals.
Accessibility note: The museum is accessible, has elevators, and has wheelchairs available for guest use. Strollers are also allowed inside.
COVID-19 update: Timed tickets must be reserved in advance for admission. These can be purchased here.
5. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland
The Cleveland Zoo is always a great place for family fun in Cleveland!
With ample amounts of birds, mammals, marine life, and more, you could spend a full day just exploring the zoo. Kids always enjoy exploring the many areas of the zoo including Australian Adventure, African Elephant Crossing, and the Wilderness Trek.
Feed the giraffes at the Ben Gogolick Giraffe Encounter, enjoy the 4-D theater, ride the train through the Australian Adventure part of the park, and definitely go for a ride on the Circle of Wildlife Carousel.
For animal lovers of all ages, there are plenty of educational opportunities and great programs for kids like summer camps. The zoo also offers behind the scenes and golf cart tours.
While the zoo is a ton of fun year-round, visiting for the Asian Lantern Festival in late summer is extra fun for the whole family.
Hours: 10 am-5 pm daily.
Admission: $16.95 for adults, $14.95 for seniors aged 62+, $12.95 for children 2-12, and children under 2 are free.
Tip: Residents of Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township can visit the zoo for free on Mondays in the summer! Price is free for admission and $5.50 for the RainForest. Just bring proof of residency to enter. This does not apply on Mondays that fall on a holiday.
Parking: The Zoo has its own (very large) parking lot, and parking is free.
Food: There are several dining options available at the Cleveland Zoo, including a small food court. But you can bring your own food, too – coolers and picnic baskets are allowed.
Accessibility note: All areas of the Cleveland Zoo and The RainForest are wheelchair accessible. Strollers and wagons are welcomed and encouraged. Strollers and wheelchairs are available to rent from Guest Services for a fee. To be inclusive to visitors with sensory needs, the Zoo has six designated “quiet zones,” as well as an accessibility map that shows where particularly loud noises are present. Guest Services also has sensory bags available.
6. Akron Zoo
500 Edgewood Ave, Akron
For a smaller and less crowded zoo, the Akron Zoo is also a lot of fun to visit! Kids can see lions and gazelles at the Pride of Africa part of the zoo, ride the Conservation Carousel, and learn about wildlife at the Wild World Animal Show.
During the summer, kids can also enjoy ZooCamp, and they also offer plenty of virtual experiences at home like the virtual ZooCamp!
There are also events throughout the year held at the zoo including Boo at the Zoo, Summer Safari, Wild Lights, and even adult adventures like Wild for Wine and Brew at the Akron Zoo.
Hours: January 2-April 3 11 am-4 pm. April 4-October 31 10 am-5 pm.
Admission: Winter admission (same dates as above) is $8 per person and children under 2 are free. Summer admission is $13 per adult, $11 for seniors aged 62+, $10 for children 2-14, and children under 2 are free. Parking is $3 per vehicle.
Parking: The zoo has its own lot, and parking is $3 per vehicle.
Food: The Akron Zoo has a couple concession areas, as well as several dedicated picnic areas. You can also bring your own food.
Accessibility note: Some pathways at the Akron Zoo are currently closed due to construction, but the Zoo does have an ADA accessible golf cart to assist guests. Strollers are encouraged, or can be rented (for a fee) from the Barnhardt Family Welcome Center. Like at the Cleveland Zoo, the Akron Zoo has dedicated “quiet zones,” and “headphone zones” to help those with sensory needs. There’s also a Guest Comfort Station that can be used as a quiet room, and the Welcome Center can provide sensory bags and weighted lap pads for use by visitors.
COVID-19 update: Timed tickets must be purchased online at the moment. Guests who are vulnerable may go to the zoo an hour before it opens to the public on Tuesdays.
Zoo fun fact: Both the Cleveland and Akron zoos participate in a zoo reciprocity program. If you are a member at one zoo, you can visit the other (along with many other zoos throughout the United States) and get 50% off admission. Learn more here.
7. Greater Cleveland Aquarium
2000 Sycamore St, Cleveland
Be immersed in the ocean and local waterways at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Walk through a glass seatube where you can spot sharks swimming overhead, learn what lives in Ohio lakes and rivers, and gently touch a “smiling” stingray in the 11,000-gallon touch pool at the Coastal Boardwalk exhibit.
The aquarium also puts on several events throughout the year for future aquatic scientists to enjoy, and for the adventurous family with teens 15+, you can even go on a shark dive (if you’re SCUBA certified).
The Greater Cleveland Aquarium is especially great on a rainy day, and is perfect if you’re looking for a shorter outing since you can see everything in about an hour.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 am-5 pm. Friday-Sunday 10 am-6 pm.
Admission: $19.95 for adults, $13.95 for children, and children under 2 are free.
Parking: Visitors can park right outside the aquarium in an open surface lot. This lot is usually cash-only, but currently is free during the pandemic.
Food: The aquarium does have a small cafe inside, but it’s currently closed.
Accessibility note: The aquarium is fully accessible with the help of two elevators and a relatively flat floor plan. Strollers and wagons are encouraged.
COVID-19 update: Timed tickets must be purchased online in advance now. You can purchase tickets here.
8. Cleveland Botanical Garden
11030 East Blvd, Cleveland
The Cleveland Botanical Garden is such a fun place to visit for the whole family. There are several gardens to explore, beautiful butterflies to watch, and glasshouses to learn more about rainforest plants.
Specifically designed for kids is the Hershey Children’s Garden, where kids can run around, search for turtles in the pond, learn about how veggies and herbs grow, learn how to take care of plants and water them, and even watch honey bees around their hive.
There are also family-friendly Cleveland activities and events here throughout the year, including scavenger hunts, summer camps, and live virtual classes.
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 10 am-5 pm. Friday-Saturday 11 am-8:30 pm. Sunday 12-5 pm. Closed on Monday.
Admission: $15 for adults, $10 for children 3-10, Children under 3 are free.
Parking: The Botanical Garden has its own indoor parking garage, with elevator and stair access to the main entrance of the garden (though note that the parking garage is on Wade Oval). Parking is free for 30 minutes, $10 for up to 2 hours, then +$1 for each additional half hour (up to $16).
Food: There is a Garden Cafe, and an outdoor dining area on Geis Terrace. The cafe is not currently open due to the pandemic.
Accessibility note: Most of the garden’s indoor and outdoor spaces are wheelchair accessible, with the exception of a few raised garden areas. Strollers are welcome.
COVID-19 update: Timed tickets must be purchased online in advance now. You can purchase tickets here.
9. Cuyahoga Valley National Scenic Railroad
One of the more unique things to do in Cleveland with kids has to be exploring Cuyahoga Valley National Park via the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. It’s one of just a few railroads operating within a national park!
Spot wildlife, enjoy the surrounding nature, and relax as you take in the scenery together on a ride with the CVSR. Scenic rides are available all season, and the they also offer themed rides and events. While there are some events that cater to adults such as Ales on Rails and Trivia on the Train, they offer kid-friendly rides, too, with the most popular being the Polar Express Train Ride during the holidays.
Pricing: Prices range from $15-28 for adults and $10-23 for children.
Parking: Boarding for CVSR ticketed rides happens either at Rockside Station or Akron Northside Station. Both stations have large parking lots, and parking is free.
Accessibility note: The CVSR does have one handicap accessible car with a lift, but you’ll need to call to make sure it’s available/being used on your desired trip.
COVID-19 update: The train is back up and running but at 50% capacity now. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Read more here.
10. Hiking with Kids in Cleveland
Did you know that Cleveland Metroparks alone has 18 reservations (parks) and over 100 miles of hiking trails? That doesn’t even include Cuyahoga Valley National Park or other MetroParks nearby!
Cleveland is spoiled for choice when it comes to exploring the outdoors, so you better believe there are plenty of kid-friendly hikes.
The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail that starts in Cleveland and winds its way through Cuyahoga Valley National Park is pretty flat, easy to navigate, and has a lot of attractions to see along the way. This is perfect for both hiking and taking a bike ride!
The Virginia Kendall Ledges Trail is one of the best hikes in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and is suitable for older kids – as is spotting Brandywine Falls via the Brandywine Gorge Trail. Don’t forget the stunning Kendal Lake Loop Trail too!
Other Metroparks in Cleveland that have great trails to enjoy with the kids include Rocky River Reservation and North and South Chagrin Reservations.
11. Hinckley Reservation Outdoor Activities For Kids
432 Bellus Rd, Hinckley
While Hinckley Reservation is part of the Cleveland Metroparks system, there is a lot to do here aside from hiking. So, I decided to include it as a separate item.
Aside from exploring Whipp’s Ledges together, you can also go boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, etc. on Hinckley Lake, go horseback riding, try your hand at fishing, go cycling, and enjoy the beautiful nature in the area.
There is also the Buzzard Roost where you can celebrate the return of spring and buzzards on March 15 each year, a sledding hill for the winter, plenty of areas to bring a picnic lunch, and a pool to go swimming in during the summer.
12. Lake Metroparks Farm Park
8800 Euclid Chardon Rd, Kirtland
This working farm and education center is such a fun place to take the kids near Cleveland! Children can see dairy cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, horses, alpaca, goats, and more! They also offer horse or tractor drawn wagon rides, as well as various demonstrations and educational programs.
Enjoy fun things like watching a border collie keep the sheep together throughout the warmer months, discover the art of sugaring and making maple syrup in the spring, and see cool farm equipment year-round.
They also have events throughout the year for the family including Maple Sugaring Weekends, Sheep Sheering Weekend, Fall Harvest Weekends, and more!
Hours: Friday-Sundays 9 am- 5 pm (closed Mondays)
Admission: $8 for adults, $7 for seniors aged 60+, $6 for children ages 2-11, and free for children under 2 as well as active military and their family.
Tip: Lake County residents get free admission on the first Sunday of the month. You just have to show proof of residency.
Accessibility note: All facilities are accessible – even the horse- and tractor-drawn wagons are wheelchair accessible. Strollers and wagons are encouraged.
13. Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary
5623 New Milford Rd, Ravenna
Enjoy a day at the farm where kids can rub pot bellied pig tummies, pet mini horses, and learn about these animals getting a second chance in life.
Tours of Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary last about 1.5 hours and are so much fun. Kids get to pet and hang out with goats, pigs, roosters, horses, and more!
Hours: Open May 1-October 31. Friday and Saturday tours start at 11 am, 1:15 pm, and 3:30 pm. Sunday tours start at 12:45 pm and 3 pm.
Admission: $20 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6-17, and free for children under 6.
COVID-19 update: Only 6 people maximum per group.
14. Memphis Kiddie Park
10340 Memphis Ave, Cleveland (Brooklyn)
The Memphis Kiddie Park is a hidden gem when it comes to family activities in Cleveland! This place is a fun fair where kids can enjoy various rides like the Ferris wheel, Merry-Go-Round, mini roller coaster, Electric Roadway, and more.
Plus, there is miniature golf, an arcade, and concessions serving your favorite amusement park treats.
This kid-centric mini amusement park is historic, having first opened in Cleveland’s Brooklyn neighborhood in 1952. It’s geared toward younger kids; some of the rides can only be ridden by kids under 50 inches tall.
Hours: The hours vary based on time of year.
Admission: There is no admission fee. You pay ticket prices per ride; single tickets are $2.50, a pack of 10 tickets is $24, and a pack of 25 tickets is $37.75 – and the ride tickets don’t expire. Putt-putt golf if $5.50 per person, with children 5 and under costing $1 for every full-price ticket you purchase.
Parking: The park has its own parking lot, and parking is free.
Food: The park has all the kid-friendly amusement park treats you’d expect to find. You are NOT allowed to bring in your own food.
COVID-19 update: Memphis Kiddie Park did not open during 2020, but does plan to reopen for the 2021 season.
15. Sweeties Golfland Park
6770 Brookpark Rd, Cleveland
Associated with the b.a. Sweeties candy company, Sweeties Golfland Park is fun for any family with older kids. They have two 18-hole mini golf courses here, along with a candy store and soda/ice cream shoppe.
(There’s a second Sweeties Golfland in North Ridgeville, too.)
Hours: Closed in the winter. Sunday 11 am-5 pm. Monday-Saturday 10 am-8 pm.
Admission: $8 per person for 18 holes on the golf course, and $14 for 36 holes. Children 3 and under are free.
Tip: They have early bird prices on Monday-Friday between 10 am-2 pm. $6.50 per person for 18 holes and $13 for 36 holes.
16. Play at Various Parks with Playgrounds
There are several parks throughout the city of Cleveland and the surrounding area that have great playgrounds. And we all know that sometimes all kids need is to run around on a playground for a while.
Some parks with good playgrounds in/around Cleveland include:
- Fairview Park – This park in Ohio City has a baseball field, playground, and a mini water park. It’s also right next to Kentucky Gardens, which is a beautiful community garden space.
- Lakewood Park – It has a playground with play structures, as well as a skatepark, tennis and volleyball courts, and even a pool.
- Liberty Playground – Located in Independence, this large playground has many play structures, climbing walls, slides, and a new area designed specifically for kids aged 2-5.
- Broadview Heights Playground & Splash Pad – The fully enclosed playground has fun play structures, and the splash pad operates during the summer months.
- Preston’s H.O.P.E. Playground Park – This park in Beachwood is unique in that it’s a fully-accessible playground for kids of all ages and abilities.
- Every Child’s Playground – Located in Avon, this park has all sorts of fun things to play on, including a zip line, a rock wall, and some nature trails.
These are only a few of the several parks around the city that include a play area for children. If they just need to run around and wear themselves out, any park is always a good idea!
17. Explore Cleveland’s Beaches
There are several amazing beaches around Cleveland to explore!
Edgewater is the closest to downtown, and has plenty of space for kids to enjoy. They also have a lifeguard on duty during the summer months, which is great if you plan to swim in Lake Erie. Edgewater Park also has walking paths, as well as a large playground.
Other great Cleveland beaches to splash around in with kids include Huntington Beach in Bay Village, Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park in Mentor, and Euclid Beach Park.
18. Hunt for the Best Ice Cream
Going out for ice cream is always one of the best kid-friendly things to do in Cleveland! Try a few different places and decide which is the best. Is it Mitchell’s? Mason’s Creamery? Honey Hut? All of the above?
Cleveland has some amazing ice cream, so whether they want an old fashioned ice cream sundae at Sweet Moses, or to create their own concotion at Remixx, this summertime activity is always a family favorite.
19. Head to an Indoor Park
If you’re looking for an indoor place where the kiddos can work off some energy, there are a few indoor play parks to consider.
Play: CLE, for example, is a great spot to enjoy with the whole family. The 25,000-squre-foot indoor entertainment center in Avon has everything from ropes courses to climbing walls to ninja courses. They also have a bar and restaurant, and if you just want to go to spectate you won’t have to pay a fee.
There is no age requirement at Play: CLE, but most of their activities are geared towards kids 6 and up. Prices are $24.95 for anyone 6+, and $14.95 for kids under 6.
Another place to consider is a trampoline park like a Skyzone. Skyzone has several locations around Cleveland (in Highland Heights, Westlake, and Boston Heights) that are perfect for kids of all ages. Get out some energy in the foam pit, bounce on several trampolines, play dodgeball, and more! Some locations also offer Toddler Jump and even promos for Little Leapers.
20. African Safari Wildlife Park
267 S Lightner Rd, Port Clinton
Did you know you can feel like you’re on safari right here in Ohio? The African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton has both a drive-thru and walk-thru safari where you can see all sorts of interesting animals up close.
Slowly drive in your own vehicle past wildlife including alpaca, American bison, giraffes, zebra, deer, and more! Then you can walk around and spot wallabies, pigs, kangaroo, scarlet macaws, birds, etc.
They also have animal encounters like the chance to feed animals both in the drive thru and walk thru experiences, go on camel rides, and learn how to train a pig. There are also education programs for children.
Hours: 10 am-5 pm in the spring and fall and 9 am-7 pm in the summer. Some weekends are 9 am-6 pm.
Admission: Spring/fall is $20.95 for adults, $14.95 for children ages 3-6, and children under 3 are free. Summer and extended rates are $29.95 for adults, $20.95 for children 3-6, and free for children under 3. Seniors 55+, military, and first responders get $3 off adult admission.
This is not a completely exhaustive list, but hopefully it will give you some new ideas of kid-friendly things you can do in Cleveland!
Which of the top things to do in Cleveland with kids would you most like to do with your family?
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Kat is a Cleveland transplant and has lived here for over 5 years. She loves to eat, drink, and explore all across the city, and has made it her personal mission to find the best breweries and pizza in Northeast Ohio. She also runs a couples travel blog and podcast called World Wide Honeymoon.