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Free Things to Do with Kids in Cleveland


Cleveland and Northeast Ohio are filled with free activities for kids and adults to enjoy together. There's no excuse not to get out and explore Cleveland museums, parks and other wonders.

Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
altrendo travel/Altrendo/Getty Images

Cleveland's best free attraction is not just for adults. The Cleveland Museum of Art, located at University Circle, is filled with more than 43,000 works of art from virtually all periods and genres. Of particular interest to kids is the armor court, a light-filled interior courtyard filled with medieval suits of armor, weapons and tapestry.

The museum's permanent collection is free every day.

Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Blvd
Cleveland, OH 44106
216 421-7350

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (free on Mondays to Cuyahoga County Residents)

(© Morguefile)

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo rewards Cuyahoga County residents each (non-holiday) Monday with free admission to the zoo (not including the Rainforest). Located on 83 acres just four miles south of downtown Cleveland, the zoo exhibits include African elephants, the "Wolf Wilderness" exhibit, and the one of the newer additions, the "Australian Adventure." Parking is also free.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
3900 Wildlife Way
Cleveland, OH 44109
216 661-6500

Shaker Lakes Nature Center

(courtesy of the Shaker Lakes Nature Center)

The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, founded in 1966, is a peaceful green space nestled among the gracious houses of Shaker Heights, just each of Cleveland. The facility features a variety of trails that illustrate six natural habitats, as well as a nature center with exhibits about the Northeast Ohio landscape.

Nature Center at Shaker Lakes
2600 South Park Blvd.
Shaker Heights, OH 44122
216 321-5935

Federal Reserve Money Museum

Money Museum, Federal Reserve, Cleveland Ohio
(© Stu Spivack/cc license)

The Federal Reserve Bank Museum of Money, opened in 2005, features 30 exhibits about the history and the power of money. The most striking feature is a 23 foot tall money tree located across from the museum's entrance (pictured at left). This interesting museuem is located in the Federal Reserve Building on E. Sixth St. in downtown Cleveland and open Monday through Thursday from 10am to 2pm.

Federal Reserve Bank Museum of Money
1455 East 6th Street
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 579-2000

Rockefeller Park Greenhouse

Cleveland Greenhouse - Cleveland Ohio
(© 2006 S. Mitchell; licensed to About, Inc.)

Cleveland's Rockefeller Park Greenhouse, located just off of Martin Luther King Blvd near University Circle, houses a wonderful collection of exotic and native plants. This peaceful and fascinating place is rarely crowded and exhibits include the extensive orchid and tropical plant exhibits as well as the spring bulb and December holiday plants displays. Of particular interest to kids is the room full of cacti and other southwestern plants.

Rockefeller Park Greenhouse
750 E 88th St.
Cleveland, OH 44108
(216) 664-3103

Ohio Free Fishing Days

(courtesy of Discover Ohio)

Each spring the state of Ohio residents are treated to two days of "free" fishing (no license required) on Lake Erie and in the state's numerous lakes and streams.

International Womens' Air and Space Museum

International Womens Aerospace Museum - Cleveland Ohio
(© 2006 S. Mitchell; licensed to About.com)

Located inside the lobby and west wing of downtown Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport, the International Womens' Air and Space Museum celebrates the contribution of women in air and space flight with a rotating schedule of temporary exhibits, including airplanes, flight suits, and memorabilia from the likes of Amelia Earhart and others. The museum is open seven days a week during airport hours.

International Women's Air and Space Museum
Burke Lakefront Airport
1501 N. Marginal Rd.
216 623-1111

Cleveland Browns Training Camp

Cleveland Browns Training Camp, Berea Ohio
(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

For about six weeks, from late July to the beginning of football season, Cleveland Browns fans have the opportunity to view the team up close for free during the training camp workouts in Berea. The events are free and there are bleachers and concessions available. The team also hosts a family night once a year where kids can get autographs from their favorite players.

The Covered Bridges of Ashtabula County

(Courtesy of Coastal Ohio)

Ashtabula County, in extreme Northeast Ohio, is home to 17 authentic and reconstructed covered bridges, including the longest covered bridge in the United States. Under construction is the shortest covered bridge in the country. These reminders of the past are all slightly different and are situated in beautiful settings. Take a self-guided tour (maps are available online or at the Ashtabula County Courthouse in Jefferson). The gas isn't free, but you can view the bridges and perhaps have a picnic lunch without charge.

Cleveland Festivals

Geneva Grape Jamboree
(courtesy of the Geneva Grape Jamboree)

Cleveland and Northeast Ohio love festivals -- and many of them are free. From April through October, the region celebrates the seasons, its diverse ethnic heritage, the arts, and the summer and fall harvest with a number of special events. Among the best free festivals are University Circle's Hessler Street Fair, Little Italy's Feast of the Assumption, and Geneva's Grape Jamboree (pictured at left).

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