Kids + Holidays = Magic
Holiday Activities for the Family
We'd all be fooling ourselves if we didn't agree that kids make the holidays about ten times more special.
Call us cheesy, but yes, there is something magical about watching a little tot light up at the sight of a large, jolly man in a red suit. And, you'd be heartless to not feel some tenderness when experiencing a child gazing at a glimmering light show for the very first time.
Cleveland offers a wide variety of holiday happenings that are great for kiddos of all ages. There are the biggies like The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's Polar Express, Winterfest, GLOW and Holiday CircleFest, which are absolutely spot-on perfect for your minis. But there are tons more.
So, during this holiday season, consider spending less time trying to find that must-have-toy-of-the-season and travel to Cleveland to create lasting holiday memories with your little ones. Besides, they'll remember their time with you long after that overpriced toy has lost its luster.
We know you parents can rattle off a few holiday children's books off the top of your heads, because we know you've read them about 10,675 times (and, that was just in the last week). But there's one holiday classic that's just that much more special - The Polar Express. This adorable book comes to life at the Great Lakes Science Center Dec. 13 and 20. Kids - decked out in their PJs - can watch the movie version in the OMNIMAX Theater and then chow down on a breakfast buffet. NOTE: This event is wildly popular and sells out quickly. Reserve tickets by calling 216.621.2400.
Not many people associate wintertime with the wonders of nature - or at least choose to explore them amid frosty temps. But take a jaunt through Lake Metroparks' Wild Days of Winter and that notion will quickly be jettisoned. From Nov. 22 - Dec. 4, kids can immerse themselves in a life-size board game that moves them along spaces where they'll interact with the many things nature gives us in the winter.
Strap on your stretchy jeggings and keep your football-watching-armchair at bay, The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo offers free admission on Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy special holiday treats while participating in interesting enrichment presentations (like watching a tiger awesomely destroy a pumpkin).
Go to any mall during the holidays and you'll be inundated with a rather overstimulating version of holiday decor. But if you're looking for an event that is absolutely stunning, without making a mockery of the season, check out Lake Metroparks' Country Lights. Families can snuggle together on a horse-drawn wagon ride in the country where they can take in the splendor of approximately a quarter of a million twinkling holiday lights Nov. 28-30 and Dec. 3-23. NOTE: This event is wildly popular and sells out quickly. Get tickets now!
Yes, you and the fam can enjoy tropical 84-degree temps during the holidays right here in Northeast Ohio. No, we're definitely not suggesting sending your kids to a hot yoga class. Instead, splash on over to Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky, an indoor waterpark that, from Nov. 29 - Jan. 4, transforms into Great Wolf Lodge Snowland. Kids can attend North Pole University, explore Santa's workshop and enjoy the daily snow shows in the Grand Lobby (they actually make it snow indoors).
Now's the time to remind your kids that the 1980s were definitely not "the olden days," despite their (slightly adorable) misconceptions of your age. Immerse them in a true old-fashioned Christmas at Historic Roscoe Village, a small village that comes to life in the 19th century. The brood and you can take horse-drawn carriage rides, roast chestnuts, stroll with carolers and devour complimentary hot-mulled cider and Christmas cookies. Christmas Candlelighting tours, luminaries and visits with Santa happen Dec. 6, 13 and 20.
This dude Santa can fly a magical sleigh around the entire world stopping at the homes of children to deliver gifts. All. In. One. Night. So, it should come as no surprise that the guy can also SCUBA dive. Meet SCUBA Claus as he swims throughout the tanks at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium with more than 5,000 underwater sea creatures Nov. 29 - Dec. 24.
It's common knowledge here in C-town that the Cleveland Orchestra is truly the bee's knees. And, this holiday season, it's the kids' turn to get in on the orchestral action with two holiday presentation designed for children ages 3-6. Kids can learn all about different instruments and music during 30-minute events. On Dec. 12 and 13, experience the Christmas Brass Quintet. And, on Dec. 12, the series covers the Music of Chanukah.
A little December chill in the air won't stop the excitement offered at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Board the complimentary heated shuttle to the Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building, visit the bears and tigers in the Northern Trek area or take a break inside the heated Rainforest to check out the orangutans and otters. These activities along with holiday crafts and live music are just a few of the many things happening during December Days at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Dec. 26 - 30.
What ever happened to the awesomeness that was Shop Class? It doesn't matter this holiday season because Lake Metroparks Farmpark presents the free (with regular admission) Farmpark Toy Workshop Dec. 26 - 31. Kids ages 2 - 11 can select from a wall full of wooden toys; sit town with a worker elf to assemble the toy using drills, power screwdrivers, hammers and nails; and then paint and glitter their new toy. Take that, liberal arts education.
They're always doing all sorts of crazy stuff at the Great Lakes Science Center. And, this holiday season is no exception. During Winter Weekends at the Great Lakes Science Center running Dec. 27-28 and Jan. 3-4, the family can get a fun dose of science class, design snowflakes, make fake snow and even go "carpet skating" on an indoor rink. It's free with paid admission to the science center.
After Halloween, the spirits are put to rest at Ghostly Manor Thrill Center and the Sandusky haunted house decks its halls with a rather spectacular Christmas light show. Choreographed to seven songs over FM radio, the 25-minute light show is synchronized with more than 75,000 lights that can be enjoyed from the warmth of your vehicle.
If you've got a kid who goes absolutely bananas over holiday films, then gas-up the mini van and get him over to Castle Noel in Medina. Here, you'll find a rather mind-blowing collection of Hollywood memorabilia like the original Buddy the Elf costume and the Grinch's sleigh from the 2000 film How the Grinch Stole Christmas. While there, you can train to be Santa by trying to squeeeeeze down a chimney and even slide down Santa Klaus Mountain just like Ralphie in the A Christmas Story.