You may not know it, but Cleveland is a lively science city built for family getaways—and located in a prime location to experience the Total Solar Eclipse happening Monday, April 8, 2024. When the moon completely blocks out the sun, the city will experience several minutes of darkness since it’s in the oh-so-elite path of totality. So, stop by and stay a while as you explore all the city has to offer through its fun assortment of educational family-friendly attractions, museums and parks.
If you're looking for an experiential cool spot to explore that’s chock-full of hands-on exhibits, with a focus on the Great Lakes, the Great Lakes Science Center is where it’s at. In the heart of downtown Cleveland, right on the edge of Lake Erie, there’s something for folks of all ages. Get ready for your hair to stand on end when you climb onto the Bridge of Fire. Then head over to the Biomedtech section to explore how cutting-edge technology affects us every day, and discover the inside scoop on stem cells, medical imaging and beyond. You can even control a prosthetic arm! Or bring out your inner science geek and explore electricity and magnetism, light and optics, and other seemingly puzzling marvels with Science Phenomena. The entire family will love viewing a movie under a giant six-stories high domed screen. If you’re local, look into Camp Curiosity for the kids.
Pro tip: Celebrate the total eclipse a year out with the Eclipse Countdown Kickoff event April 7 and 8, 2023. Just a few things you’ll enjoy: a NASA demo, Math in Space Science Show, Shadow Imagery and Camera Obscura Activity.
This fascinating attraction is one of only ten centers of its kind. Step inside to learn all about America’s space agency through interactive exhibits, authentic artifacts, invigorating media and galleries. Admission is included as part of admission to Great Lakes Science Center. Families of all ages will be blown away when they see the showstopping Apollo Command Module up close, a curiosity that traveled 26.5 miles in space and was used in the Skylab 3 mission.
Discover the world of the pioneering women who changed air travel and space exploration as we know it: Amelia Earhart, Ruth Nichols, Bessie Coleman, Harriet Quimby, Katharine Wright, Jackie Cochran and others, at this museum located at Burke Airport in downtown Cleveland. The spot excels at showcasing women’s historical contributions to the process of aviation and aerospace through a detailed collection of educational artifacts, photographs, articles, textiles, art and paper. You’ll walk away with a deeper insight into the technologies we often take for granted. Admission is free.
Home to its own 54-seat planetarium, this approachable lower-key science center is home to adorable wildlife in both indoor and outdoor spaces, located inside Huntington Reservation park, a short walk from Lake Erie. The engaging Twinkle Tots show will keep the small kiddos entertained while learning a little something about the skies above. The littles will also love the walk-in log exhibit in the lobby. Primed for hands-on learning, the center excels at interactive experiences, animal education and the wonders of the sky. The friendly staff also works to rehabilitate animals. If you're a local, check out the wide array of programs and camps for kids.
University Circle is home to a handful of engaging world-class museums, and the Natural History Museum stands out for its diverse exhibits and massive planetarium. Bring the fam and enjoy an invigorating presentation on the constellations and learn about the space program during a show at the Shafran auditorium. You won’t want to miss the full-body virtual reality immersive adventure, the showstopping Jurassic Flight Birdly experience, that utilizes flight simulator technology to let you soar alongside creatures from pterosaurs to butterflies. For those who dig the outdoors, step outside for an otter show at the Perkins Wildlife Center. Soon there will be even more to discover when the updates on certain attractions and galleries are complete. There’s even a hands-on kids area, along with hundreds of insects from around the world in the Amazing Insects section.
If night sky and outdoor science is more your jam, hop in the car for less than an hour and experience the Observatory Park in Montville, part of the Geauga Park District. The whole family can experience amazing planetarium shows and see the stars up close through telescopes. Explore almost four miles of walking trails at Ohio’s only Dark Sky Park. Encompassing a whopping 1,100-acres, the space is home to interactive stations that help guests study weather, visit life-sized cornerstones of the Great Pyramid of Giza and henge stones, and access the Nassau Astronomical Station.