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You’re all sitting around the living room, playing on your gaggle of electronic devices and not talking except to complain about the cold weather outside. You’ve heard “Baby Shark” on repeat for the 900,000 time and now your youngest just spilled hot chocolate on the rug.
Snap out of it! It’s time to get out of the house.
Pack the minivan, grab the winter gear and get to Cleveland to check out these 10 kid-friendly winter activities that will keep your family active, laughing, learning and bonding — even during the chilliest of months.
Chickadees are as cute as their names, and the Brecksville Nature Center (located in the Cleveland Metroparks) gives you and the kiddos a chance to hand-feed them. Birdfeed is provided, instructions are given and everyone has a whole lot of fun as the birds nibble and the kids quietly giggle.
Lace up the skates and glide out on the ice at Public Square’s Cleveland Foundation Skating Rink. Located right in the heart of Downtown, you’ll be surrounded by Cleveland’s beautiful architecture, including the iconic Terminal Tower and Old Stone Church.
Shake off the winter cabin fever and lethargy at Play: CLE in Avon. This facility offers a great way to be active even when all we want to do is sit on the couch, watch Netflix and eat leftovers (not speaking from experience). It’s the largest indoor adventure park in the nation with an indoor zipline, climbing wall, ropes course and even a ninja warrior course. Note: This one’s for kids aged seven and up.
For kids of all ages, Make Believe Family Fun Center in Parma has everything from a toddler area for tiny tots to mini bowling, a ropes course and laser tag for big kids. Spin Zone bumper cars are a fan favorite, and they even have buddy seats for parents with small children, including scaled seat belts and extra padding.
Why? Because, naturally, Christmas and alien-themed 3D mini-golf experiences go hand-in-hand, right? It all happens in the quaint town of Medina and, trust us, it’s a great way to spend the afternoon. Start with Alien Vacation, the black-light, interactive environment with animated features and resort-quality artwork. Don’t worry — it’s freaky, but still cool for the littlest of kids. Then, head over to the year-round holiday attraction Castle Noel, with the world’s largest private collection of Hollywood Christmas movie props and costumes (open year round).
There are several reasons why art museums in general are great for kids, but the Cleveland Museum of Art is particularly suited for — literally — all ages. Got a tiny baby? The wide-open atrium is stroller-friendly and quiet for a peaceful walk and lunch at the in-house café. Toddlers? Plenty of running space, crafting activities and special events. Older kids? All the culture, history and education you can handle, plus some cool technology not available at other museums. And the best part is that the permanent collection is one of the world’s best — and it’s absolutely free. So bring the whole family.
Theater is definitely not just for classy adults. Laugh and play along with your kids at family-friendly live performances at Playhouse Square, including the Children’s Theater Series. From recognizable TV characters, to sensory-friendly educational themes, to the old-school classics like, there are shows for all ages and interests.
Adrenaline junkies will appreciate hurling down the tallest, fastest ice chutes in Ohio at 50 mph at The Cleveland Metropark’s tobogganing adventure located at the Chalet in the Strongsville area. Surrounded by the beauty of Cleveland’s park system, you’ll have just enough time to catch a (blurred) glimpse of the gorgeous Mill Stream Reservation as you head down the chutes. Once on flat ground, you can go for a nice winter hike, or warm up by the outdoor fire pit.
For those who aren’t into (or need a break from) skiing or snowboarding, the Polar Blast Tubing Park at Boston Mills/Brandywine Ski Resort is a great alternative for kids of all ages. Snow tubing is what happens when water tubing and sledding combines to form the coolest winter hilarity imaginable. Trust us: no one gets out of this activity looking poised and sophisticated.
What better way to forget the cold than to trek through 10,000+ tropical plants and passed about 600 animals representing the jungles of Asia, Africa and the Americas? At The Rainforest, which is apart of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, you’ll be greeted by a 25-foot waterfall and a breath of warm air as you enter the two-acre, two-level habitat (the largest of its kind in the United States).
Check out Destination Cleveland’s “Top 10 Things to Do with Kids” — perfect any time of the year here.
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