For more than a generation — since 1930, in fact — the Cleveland Botanical Garden has existed as a lush, beautiful and peaceful urban sanctuary in University Circle. It's filled to the brim — the outside, too — with plants and flowers from around the globe. It's the perfect spot for a little zen.
Carved into 10 acres of what was once the original Cleveland Zoo, CBG was originally called the Cleveland Garden Center and was the first organization of its kind in the U.S. Today, it’s a stalwart of the University Circle neighborhood.
What You'll See
- The sprawling, 18,000 Eleanor Armstrong Smith glasshouse gives visitors a glimpse of two worlds under one roof: one half is dedicated to the desert of Madagascar — look for the alien-esque Baobab trees and spiny succulents – the other replicates a Costa Rican Rainforest with lush greenery, including a colossal strangler fig and avocado, coffee, papaya and chocolate trees. Stand still for a bit, and one of the many butterflies floating around might rest on your head or sleeve.
- Outside, walk the grounds and take in the CBG’s Japanese, herb, rose, and topiary gardens. Kids helped design the outdoor Hershey Children’s Garden, perhaps explaining its popularity. There’s a treehouse, hidden paths winding through tall grasses, and a misting splash pad fountain. Many of the plants in this area attract native caterpillars, butterflies and birds, so there’s a good chance for close encounters.
What Else to Do?
- Regardless of the time of year, CBG typically has special installations or programs. From January to March is the annual orchid show, OrchidMania. You can kick off the winter doldrums with their annual Spring Blooms show, which runs from April into May, and each fall and winter, the garden hosts its annual holiday event, Twinkle in the 216.