Great Lakes Science Center. Things to do in Cleveland.

Great Lakes Science Center. Things to do in Cleveland.

If I could choose things to do in Cleveland, I would spend every weekend at the Great Lakes Science Center. It is so beneficial for the little souls and so relaxing for parents because kids are occupied, and they are right there in front of you. It offers interactive activities from sea bottom to mountains, from the ice age past to the future of space technology and you even can look inside a human body and learn a lot about yourself. This place is for kids from crawling age to adulthood.

Plan to spend the whole day here, but there will be things left to do and learn even if you do. It is no wonder it got awarded with the 2021 Finalist National Medal for Museums and Libraries. It is a must to visit with kids in Cleveland.

Thank you, Great Lakes Science Center, for sponsored admission. We had a total blast at the place, and all opinions reflected in this blog post are my own.

Where is Great Lakes Science Center located?

You can find it right at the North Coast Harbour Walkway on 601 Erieside Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114.

Great Lakes Science Center Parking.

You can park at a 500-car parking facility through the Science Center’s west side facing FirstEnergy Stadium. When you drive in, you will get a parking ticket and pay for parking at the front desk; (Attention! ) you will need both tickets to leave.

Great Lakes Science Center. Highlights.

Cleveland Science Center hallway
Great Lakes Science Center. Things to do in Cleveland. 3rd-floor view.

Once we got in through the garage to the ground floor, we were stung by this fantastic view of the North Coast Harbor.

And right in the hallway, there was a rocket launching station. Our kids are stuck here for an hour! They were making those rockets, trying them, then improving and trying again, making new ones. It was on and on, and every time it would get better, whether fit better or fly higher.

We were not in a rush, so one hour here was a gift to us, parents, to sit and relax.

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Great Lakes Science Center. Things to do in Cleveland. Rocket creating process.

When they started decorating the rockets and experimenting with the shapes of wings, we decided to move to the next activity.

Cleveland Science Center DOME movies

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Great Lakes Science Center. Things to do in Cleveland. In the DOME theater.

To spice your experience, try Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater. If you didn’t know, the screen with the ceiling forms a shape of a Dome and creates an impression that you are inside the movie. Actions happen around you instead of in front of you, and the sound wraps you around too.

We watched two movies there. They both were fantastic! High quality and educational. The first one, “The titans of the age,” was about mammoths and their possible lifestyle and reasons for extinction. The assumptions were based on Lyuba, the second best-preserved woolly mammoth.

The second movie, “Ancient Caves,” was about the researches of caves and how they can tell you what was happening on the Earth each year. In my opinion, such work involves lots of diving and climbing and is pretty risky, but check yourself.


It seems like the best seats would be right in the middle of the theater, but we found out that the very last row gives you the best experience.

My older kids loved both movies and watched them till the end. My three-year-old doesn’t like loud sounds but still watched half of the second movie; after that, he asked to go, and we took him to the Youth Exhibits. He spent most of the time “swimming” in the ball pool and building with giant blue blocks.

There is a Port Polimer, an outdoor water area attached to Polymer Funhouse.

It was closed in November but looks so appealing that we promised to return.

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Great Lakes Science Center. Things to do in Cleveland. Port Polimer

But most of the time, my son spent fixing a car. What a brilliant idea to set up a wood-made vehicle with removable tires, a trunk, and a hood that opens up and lets kids change tires, “fill” the car with gas and oil, and even get underneath and fix it there. I was watching and watching and then joined myself. Yeah. I love fixing things.

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Great Lakes Science Center. Things to do in Cleveland. The car is fixed!

I personally liked the Great Lakes Science Center too. There was so much I didn’t know.

Above and Beyond

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Great Lakes Science Center. Things to do in Cleveland. Hummingbird and a dragonfly flying objects.

I was surprised to find man-made flying objects as big as a dragonfly and another one that looked like a hummingbird. Hummingbird was a size of two AA batteries and would use the same principle of flying as an actual bird.

Hurry up! This exhibit will be here only till January 2nd of 2022.

NASA Glenn Visitor Center

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Great Lakes Science Center. Things to do in Cleveland. A spaceship launch escape system.

For sure, the most revolutionary was visiting NASA Glenn Visitor Center. You can look inside the spaceship and research the launch escape system. The system is used in the event of an early-flight emergency. Wow!

Even if you are not into medicine and biology, visit the Biomedtech gallery and discover what role these technologies play in our life. For example, I learned the importance of STEM cells and that all kinds of cells in our body started as STEM cells. If you are curious, look inside the stomach using an endoscopic camera.

This place is enormous, and at every corner, discoveries, and fun await you. Just check this video.

I could go on and on listing the activities, but it would take me millions of words to describe all the fun and knowledge the Great Lakes Science Center offers. You just must come here yourself. I promise you will be happier and smarter after leaving this place.

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Lake Metroparks Farmpark. What to do in Cleveland with kids.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. North Pole Adventure.

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Come to Lake Metroparks Farmpark, and Milk the Cow.

Come to Lake Metroparks Farmpark, and Milk the Cow.

I think kids should be raised on farms. It is spacious, and they can run around freely without fear of breaking or running into anything. It’s also the best way to teach them to treat animals kindly, how to care for them and what they can give you in response. Lake Metroparks Farmpark is such a place. Endless, full of interactive activities, friendly workers to answer all your questions, and good food.

Lake Metroparks Farmpark. When to go?

We got here in mid-November and were very glad that the crowd was low. Usually, this place is filled with families, and no wonder why. You can celebrate a birthday party here, milk a cow, groom a horse, pick up and buy fresh vegetables, get honey, take horse and tractor trolley, play on a playground, pet animals, and have a picnic or eat at their cafe if you get hungry. 

I think it’s a perfect place for a half or the entire day’s visit. Our kids ran around, read all the posts, did all the activities, and didn’t want to leave. 

The Lake Metroparks Farmpark is an award-winning park and one of the top 10 educational sites to learn about farming. It is located at 8800 Euclid Chardon Rd, Kirtland, OH 44094.

Importance of Lake Metroparks Farmpark.

Going to the farm reminded me of another trip to Dubai, Arabian Emirates. We were on an excursion, and a tour guide told us that there were no farms in their city for several years. Since it’s a desert, it is cheaper to import rather than grow. So they delivered everything from other towns, but they found out that school-age kids didn’t know where such products as milk, eggs, veggies, and raisins came from in a few years.

When the teacher asked them when these products come from, kids said that milk and eggs come from a fridge or a store and raisins come from buns; some kids even could not recognize a potato. So immediately, the head of the country made an order to create a farm specifically for educational purposes, and since then, farm tours have been one of the school field trips. 

Back then, I thought, OMG, how strange! But it is not odd at all; kids will not know what we don’t teach them. 

So we headed to Lake Metroparks Farmpark to learn about farming and gardening, and we had a memorable experience. 

At the front desk, a lovely girl asked us if we were here before (and we didn’t), then she gave us a map and pointed directions where to go to find activities. 

Milking a Cow by hand.

How does that sound to you? We visited many farms before, but none of them ever offered such an activity. I must confess that although I saw hundreds of cows in my life, I never milked one. I was pretty excited. 

Milk the cow. Lake Metroparks Farmpark
Lake Metroparks Farmpark. What to do in Cleveland with kids? Milking a cow by hand.

We walked into a red barn. It is warmer than outside, and cows are lying in stalls. We come and pet their furry ears that feel warm and soft. A guide comes over and brings one cow to a stage where tubes and canisters hang. She tells us some facts about cows. Did you know that one cow eats about 24 pounds of food a day and drinks a bathtub amount of water to give 6-7 gallons of milk?! Kids learned that cows have to have a baby before starting producing milk. 

The worker shows us how what to do and it is my turn to milk a cow! I come over, stretch my hand and grab a teat. It feels warm and soft; it is unique but comparable with touching an earlobe. My hands are cold, so the cow moves and stares at me with the “What’s up” look.

I find the situation comic and smile but keep holding the teat like I grab a mug by the handle. Eventually, I did what the worker taught us. Squeeze thumb and pointer first, then squeeze the teat with the rest of the fingers in the following order – middle finger, ring finger, pinkie—the milk squirts on the floor. Easy peasy! I did it one more time and let my daughter take a turn. 

She had a turn before me but was too scared even to touch the udder. It was apparent she wanted to do it, but the novelty of the experience would hold her back. Eventually, Kevin asked: “Let’s do it with Daddy!” And Maria said: “yes!” And she did it!

I love to see how my family bonds while we experience new things while traveling. Today, I felt like we were in the right place and at an important time. Together. 

We head to the next activity with one new thing off our bucket list and a victory in our hearts.

Grooming and petting horses is so calming.

I patted horses before but never had a chance to groom them, so I am curious and anticipating the activity. So, first, we got two beautiful horses to pet. Oh! I don’t know how but I never realized how soft is horse’s fur is. I heard an expression, hard as a horse’s hair, so I presumed it’s more like a bristle on a cleaning brush, but no, it is as soft as plush, and only mane hair is stiff, and you can use them as strings on musical instruments or brushes. 

For grooming, they surprised us with a BIG horse. His name was King, and I wonder, was he born big? Because, if you get a name like this being a foal, you have got to be extraordinary. King appeared to be still 230 pounds horse. I am 5,5, and this is how tall King is at his back level.

The worker had to use a stool to groom his back and head. I am glad that the horse is meek. I took a brush and slightly passed it over King’s side. He didn’t move. I did it repeatedly, but once I stopped, he turned his head, asking me to continue. 

Honestly, we didn’t know what to expect when we were heading to the farm, but I got a boost of adrenaline and excitement from just these two activities. 

We spent some time at a petting area too.

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Lake Metroparks Farmpark. What to do in Cleveland with kids. I am just cute.

I liked one goat especially. It didn’t let anyone pet her; she just wanted to stand there being cute.

We drove to the Plant Science Center with another family chatting on the way.

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Lake Metroparks Farmpark. What to do in Cleveland with kids. Catching snowflakes.

It snowed that day, and it was cold, but it felt much warmer in the horse pulled wagon covered with plastic.

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Lake Metroparks Farmpark. What to do in Cleveland with kids. Horse-pulled wagon.

They told us they have a membership and come here often and that every season is beautiful and fun on its own. In spring, the farm has baby animals and chicks and blooming flowers all over. They have Festivals and birthday parties throughout the year. Fresh veggies and fruits in fall, and during the warm season, they have beehives. And I believe you can buy honey.

They have Christmas lights drive-through and workshops and lunches/with Santa in winter. The farm is crowded most of the days, especially sunny days, but there were a couple of birthday parties and many families with kids even today. The farm is open all year round and hosts activities both indoors and outdoors. 

The Plant Science museum is indoors, but they keep flowers and other plants outside during the warm season. The building is spacious and clean, with visual displays and a play area in the middle room, and two greenhouses attached to it on each side. One had veggies, and another was warm and humid with tropical flowers.

We found fresh veggies and fruits here, and my youngest wanted a tomato and an apple. The apple was an attractive purple color. I’ve seen nothing like this before. It is hard by texture and sweet with a hint of sour. My son didn’t like it, but I did. I wish we had bought more. 

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Lake Metroparks Farmpark. What to do in Cleveland with kids. Purple apples.

Once we searched the place, we asked a worker how we could get back, and she used a radiophone to call a wagon, so we hopped on and said bye to the Center.

There is a hilltop courtyard&machinery building where we found antique tractors collection.

Kids asked lots of questions. Sure! They never saw machines like this before, and honestly, neither did I. Good things we can read!

When we were leaving, my kids asked if we could come back. Of course! We will be back, and I am sure there will be new things to try, see, and learn. 

So if you are looking for something unique for your kids to learn about reality, bring them to Lake Metroparks Farmpark at any season and then bring them again because they will want to come back.

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Fun Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, North Pole Adventure.

Fun Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, North Pole Adventure.

That’s what my older son would say about North Pole Adventure at Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. “It was the best day trip ever! Our family was going to visit Santa’s the North Pole, so Dad drove us up to Cleveland. We had a blast on Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad! The train rode through some beautiful scenery while getting lots of holiday cheer at every turn. We got hot chocolate and cookies, wrote letters to Santa and sent them with the help of elves, sang Christmas Carols, visited the North Pole where we met Santa himself, and each of us got candy. It was the best day ever!”

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad North Pole Adventure

North Pole Adventure train is a great place for families to spend time together. The Railroad brings life to Christmas with the North Pole Adventure that all family members can enjoy every year. People dress up warmly, gather their loved ones, and go on an adventure throughout the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to the North Pole, where Santa awaits them all.

Thank you, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, for sponsoring this unforgettable Christmas Fairytale. We had a great time and experience with your crew, and all opinions written here are honest and all mine.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. North Pole Adventure. Beginning.

Upon arrival, they asked us to park our car facing out so when it’s over, we can leave quickly. We got passes, security personnel checked everything, examined our immunization cards, and we passed! The employees really put effort into ensuring everything is safe, even if they are wearing elf costumes.

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Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. North Pole Adventure. Pass.

The train cars are cozy, decorated with excellent props. It’s not boiling, but it’s warm enough inside, and we take off our coats and off to go to the Cafe Car.

Despite it’s more than half an hour till the train departure the car is full. People buy snacks and souvenirs. We got popcorn with water and headed back. I am glad kids didn’t beg us for souvenirs because we got some great mugs later.

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Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. North Pole Adventure. Seating options.

Even though it is early November, we found out that the train is booked on most Saturdays, so we had to get our tickets on Friday to sit together. There are five different price options which vary between 45 to 92 dollars per person. As far as I understand, all the programs and gifts are the same, but the comfort and spacing between seats are different.

We had Deluxe seats with a table and four soft chairs. Since it was five of us, we got four seats together and one across the aisle, which is within arm’s reach. We were blessed with a father and daughter sitting at that second table, and I was pleased to see our kids made friends. Another priceless and unexpected gift.

I took a picture of Coach seats. They are nice and soft but have no tables, and it seems tight, so tall people had to sit diagonally in their chairs.

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Our Fun Day in Cleveland: A North Pole Adventure. Coach seats.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. North Pole Adventure. Letters to Santa.

Once the train took off, our elf entertained us with jokes and riddles. And my ten and seven years old kids can give some correct answers that make them excited and proud. They raise their hands and shout out answers loud.

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The next activity is writing a letter to Santa. I think my kids did it last time in kindergarten. That was the time of magic! I miss it when my children were naif and pure and believed in miracles. I miss it the most myself. And I still believe in miracles, and this trip to the North Pole reminded me about it. My kids asked for a phone and toys, and their desires were heard by their “Santa.”

“It can be a miracle when you believe. When you believe!”

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. North Pole Adventure. Hot chocolate and cookies.

While some kids are still writing, others are done and expect another activity. The elves are distributing hot chocolate with cookies. Those blue mugs are for us to take home as a dearest reminder about this magical adventure.

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Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. North Pole Adventure. Light side and Dark side.

Kids are writing, drinking, eating, and on top of it, Christmas trivia goes on. And elf announce exciting news! We are approaching the North Pole. The worker told us that there is a “light side” and a “dark side” at the North Pole, and she wants all kids to be on the “light side.” Later on, it all makes sense when we see all the lights, decorations, and Northpole residents are on the left.

My three-year-old son has never seen Santa before. It is so pleasing to see him excited and surprised. The older kids were the same, happy. We saw Santa riding one way on deers and then on the other way, the sleighs, for some reason, were empty. When we saw one elf putting our letters into a mailbox, we knew Santa got them.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. North Pole Adventure. Santa is here!

The train stopped. I thought we would come out, but no, it just switched direction, and we returned. But what a surprise! It wouldn’t be complete without Santa showing up! And here he is! In his red outfit and fuzzy hat, he approached every kid and gave her a sweet candy.

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Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. North Pole Adventure. Santa.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. North Pole Adventure. The show must go on.

After he is gone, the fun continues. We got Christmas Carol’s booklet and sang songs the entire way back home. It is a holiday atmosphere in the car. Suddenly, I felt like I was at home at a Christmas Party when guests ate and socialized, and we even sang a few songs or played games. I like that North Pole Adventure had this Christmas Spirit on the train. We came here as strangers but left as friends.

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If you are looking for a Christmas adventure, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is your place. The Railroad runs through Ohio’s scenic countryside and has an old-time North Pole Adventure with holiday specials, starting November 5th through December 19th!

Who wants to take this trip? Save the post for future references!

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Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Fun things to do in Cleveland.

Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Fun things to do in Cleveland.

If you have a couple of spare hours and are looking for educational yet fun things to do in Cleveland with kids, consider visiting Greater Cleveland Aquarium. It is cozy and beautifully decorated; it makes you feel like you are actually at the places you are researching. It is also very well designed and definitely a great place to learn about the life of aquatic animals from all over the world.

A big thank you to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium for sponsoring our visit and letting us see and learn about your incredible residents!

It is nestled in the historic brick First Energy Powerhouse on 2000 Sycamore Street Cleveland, OH 44113.

We had a tiny adventure trying to find it. When GPS said: “You have arrived,” we found ourselves on parking in front of the brick-made building. We drove around the building looking for the Aquarium, but it was right in front of us. So here is a picture for you, so you have no doubts about where it is.

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Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Entrance

We get in, and a lovely girl at the guest services explains what’s new and unique for this place, so we know what to look for.

That’s how the adventure begins!

They split the space into eight sections, and each one displays inhabitants that live in that area. We look at the residents and read facts about them. It makes kids curious and helps them to memorize better what they learn.

The first section of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium is Ohio Lakes&Rivers.

Kids are excited to recognize some of the creatures. Since we live next to a lake we are familiar with catfishes and turtles very well, but sturgeon is something my children have never seen before. So they named it a “platypus fish,” which makes sense. 

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Things to do in Cleveland with kids. Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Spotted turtles.

The Giant white Gourami drew most of our attention at the “Asia and Indonesian” section.

I’ve seen lots of gouramis before, but this one surprised me with huge lips. It looked like after plastic surgery, but indeed most gouramis have big lips. It is because they use their mouth to build nests by blowing bubbles. However, this one looks unique by appearance, and it even has the name, Toby. He is the only resident of the Aquarium that has a name.

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Things to do in Cleveland with kids. Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Giant White Gourami

In the tropical hall, we saw Piranhas they were standing out of other fishes at Greater Cleveland Aquarium.

What a beautiful creature! Just look at those sparkles of gold! I am standing in awe at the tank, trying to apprehend how such a gorgeous creation can be so dangerous?!

While we navigate from room to room, we meet interesting people.

One guy would approach an exhibit and start talking about everything he sees, asking questions. At first, I thought he was talking to himself, but then I saw headphones and a camera in his hands. It was an Aquarium worker, and he was doing a virtual tour. I observed and listened to him for a little. He was great! Now I want to take virtual time too! You can book them here!

The worker knew a lot of facts about every creature he showed. One of the comments he made was about the Giant Pacific octopus. The guy drew spectators’ attention to the suction cups and beak and then asked them what the octopuses are famous for. Kids said that it has eight legs, can change colors, and has nobody. Did you know octopuses can solve puzzles? It was pretty exciting and educational to listen to the tour guide.

I must confess that every worker at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium is friendly and knowledgeable. Feel free to ask them any Aquarium-related questions, and they will gladly answer them all.

The best part of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium is the Saltwater section.

Those tropical fishes are just so colorful; I can not take my eyes off of them. This giant Lion Fish is the king of the room. 

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Things to do in Cleveland with kids. Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Lion Fish.

Industry & Habitat Residents are all amazing!

It is interesting to see how marine animals adjust to the industrialization of the ocean/sea. Moss growing on the pipes. Fishes building houses in engine spare parts or hiding behind metal constructions.

My kids’ favorite part was petting stingrays at the Coastal Boardwalk.

They were standing and waiting for a moment when the shark swims close enough to the surface but as soon as they put their hand down, those fishes would dive and swim away. The trick is to keep two fingers in the water, and they appear to float right at you! Kids would play here the whole day, but we had to move to the next resident.

Did you know that seahorse male carries the eggs and give birth to the babies? Just wondering what does a female does.

We walk along with our heads up and mouths open. I think it was the first time in my life when I looked in the shark’s eye. It is black and reflects no emotion, teeth are outward, and mouth is open. I am scared, but I heard that sharks could be grateful and friendly if you care for them. Hard to believe, but it appears like any other creature on the Eart; if you treat them well, they pay you back.

Did you know that sharks do not have bones? Instead, they have cartilaginous tissues.

I always thought that all sea creatures are slippery, but sharks’ skin is more like sandpaper. Aren’t they amazing?!


Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Video tour.

We walked around and learned so much at the small but mighty Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Although unfortunately, I cannot put all the information and observations in one blog post, I put only highlights of our adventure, so please, visit it when you get to Cleveland and see, read and touch everything yourself. It is worth every penny and every minute spent there.

Our kids rated this place like 9.5 out of 10, and they’ve been to lots of Aquariums before. I liked it because of its cuteness and size. It took us less than 2 hours to research this place and to see and try everything. After we were done, I felt light and happy instead of tired and overwhelmed.

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