11030 East Blvd.
Cleveland, OH 44106
Science & Nature Museum
Botanical Gardens Description
Kids younger than 7 will beeline for the Hershey Children's Garden at this city landmark, with its giant treehouse and splash pond. They'll go crazy for the kid-sized shed with pails and tools they can use in the various gardens (including composting and critter ones), native wildflower meadows, and around the "farmhouse" water pumps. Free drop-in activities are offered daily, from Mud Pie Mondays to Planter Sundays. If you can tear them away from the children's area, there's plenty more to appreciate in the 10 acres of gardens, including a rose garden, topiary garden, and reflecting pool.
Babies: Stroller access throughout the gardens mean plenty of room to roll them to sleep, and you'll also find quiet spots for you to take a breather when they do.
Pre-Teens & Teens: Head immediately to the mesmerizing Madagascar and Costa Rica glass houses. A collection of unusual critters, amazing plants, and free-flying butterflies will enthrall even garden-phobic kids.
- Park here. On-site parking is available on a first-come basis in the attached parking garage. Take your ticket up to the admission desk for validation and a discounted rate of $5. It's the best full-day parking rate in the area and will allow you to explore University Circle without moving the car or dashing out to pay a meter.
- Meet some locals. Strollers line up early to get into the garden. They know that the early bird avoids the midday sun and gets a bench in the prime spot near the splash pad. Do as the locals do and your kids will likely make a new friend or two.
- Brown bag it. There's a café on-site offering a good selection, but it's a bit pricey ($5-$6.50 for a sandwich). Instead, pack your lunch or grab a hot dog from a local vendor and sit outside the gardens in the surrounding park, where there's plenty of green space perfect for throwing a Frisbee or kicking a ball.
- Bring a camera. With acres of gorgeous flowers, shrubs, and whimsical art sculptures throughout, the gardens are a great spot to get some fun photos of the family.
- Winter closing. The Children's Garden closes for the winter between Nov. 1 and March 31; all other gardens remain open through the winter.
Just the Facts
Hours: April 1 to Oct. 31: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (until 9 p.m. on Wednesday, but the Hershey Children's Garden closes at dusk); Sun. noon-5 p.m. Nov. 1 to March 31: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (until 9 p.m. on Wednesday); Sun. noon-5 p.m.
Fees: Less than $10
Recommended Time: 2 - 4 hours