Ah, spring break. The kids are off school for a week and you had grand ideas of lining up fun, educational activities to keep everyone entertained. Then the weather takes a turn, screen time gets old and the kids start bouncing off the walls. Fear not — there’s tons of family-friendly events and activities happening in Cleveland throughout March and April. Check the list below to plan a spring fling for all ages.
More than 20 acres of rides, games, food and entertainment await at this annual, family-friendly event. Hit the midway, play some carnival games, catch a show and enjoy the rides until your head spins. The best part is it’s all indoors, so you’re guaranteed a day of fun even if Mother Nature doesn’t feel like cooperating.
The oldest maple festival in the U.S. celebrates the production of pure maple syrup in Geauga County and Northeast Ohio. Head to Chardon during these four days of sticky-sweet fun to enjoy arts and crafts, bathtub races, concessions, entertainment, a lumberjack competition, parades and pancakes (of course).
Explore all the zoo has to offer, from the African Savanna to the Asian Highlands. Add even more animal adventure to your day by registering for an Inside Tracks tour or one of two Spring Break Camp programs (taking place Mar. 23 - 27 and Apr. 13 - 17).
Image © Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
Family Fun Loop train rides are shorter, more interactive programs recommended for kids ages 3 – 12, but tiny tots are welcome, too. The 90-minute journey departs from and returns to Peninsula Station, with programs that include princess and superhero trains, Rail Roving, cupcake and cookie decorating, build your own stuffed animal, board games, seasonal crafts and bingo.
This spring, in addition to touring the desert of Madagascar and Costa Rican Rainforest in the glasshouse, or the outdoor Hershey Children’s Garden, you can check out Rainforest Adventure – an interactive, engaging exhibit that explores the diversity, fragility and adaptability of the rainforest’s flora and fauna.
Take in some kid-focused theater at Talespinner Children’s Theater with “The King of the Animals.” When Anansi the spider comes to town and announces that he is going to be the new ruler, the rightful King of the Animals must be clever in showing him the error of his ways and retaining his own crown. The theater also provides inclusive programs for children with disabilities, along with an available sensory-friendly experience for every mainstage show.
The museum consistently ranks as one of the best comprehensive art museums in the U.S. and is one of the most-visited in the world — and its wide-ranging permanent collection can be seen at no cost. Free, family-focused programming options include Saturday Art Stories, Sunday Open Studios for Families, and Play Days. Did we mention it’s free? clevelandart.org
Take a Hike
You don’t have to travel far from downtown to experience breathtaking views and get your heart pumping. Check out picturesque options like Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Brandywine Falls in Sagamore Hills, the deep gorge carved out by Tinker’s Creek in Cleveland Metroparks’ Bedford Reservation, or head south to Furnace Run Metro Park in Richfield, home to Daffodil Trail, which turns a dazzling yellow in mid-spring when an estimated 40,000 daffodils bloom.
Visit a Nature Center
Image © Nature Center at Shaker Lakes
Go exploring at an area nature center. Check out the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, a 20-acre green space that includes gardens and natural habitats. Or head to Lake Erie Science & Nature Center in Bay Village, where families can enjoy hands-on science discovery via live wildlife exhibits, star shows in the planetarium, family-friendly programs and natural history displays.
Image © Downie Photography
See what’s in bloom at the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse, a city-owned botanical garden and greenhouse that is free and open to the public seven days a week. Head outdoors and take a stroll among the neighboring Cleveland Cultural Gardens — 33 dedicated gardens, designed and cultivated by distinct cultural or nationality groups, that adorn Rockefeller Park.