Happy Tuesday friends! Today I’m sharing our Cleveland adventure with you! This was our last summer hurrah over Labor Day weekend. So glad we took advantage of it: beautiful weather and so much we could see and do. Cleveland is about 4 hours north of us, so we did stay overnight. It’s interesting visiting places you’ve never been. We have no idea where is the best area to stay, what’s close by our hotel, or even what we can do in the amount of time we have. Of course there’s the internet, which is super helpful, but I can’t visualize it, you know? Like in Washington, when we wanted to go to Seattle or Portland, we knew what areas of town to stay in, what we could do close by, and relatively what way to go. So going to Cleveland really was an adventure!
We love to stop at interesting places along the way. So when we saw Grandpa’s Cheese Barn, we had to stop!
Lots of goodies, gift shop & candy shop. I think all
we my husband bought was popcorn…but it was a good place to stretch our legs 🙂 Do you like to stop at little places like that along your road trips?
Further on down the road we came upon an outlet mall, Lodi Station. It was centered around a train station theme…it even had a train you could ride! It was a great outlet mall and we found a lot of the kids school clothes there…I was a fan!
We arrived in Cleveland around 2pm and headed straight for the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. We had never been to one before, but both kids love butterflies and lil miss likes plants and flowers, so we thought we’d give it a try! So glad we did! What a neat place! Lots of room for kids to walk/run/climb, so much to look at, and so many varieties of plants and flowers! It wasn’t the cheapest place, around $40 some for the 4 of us, but I’d say it was worth it. We could have spent a long time there, unfortunately, we only had about 2 hours. This would also be a great place to come without kids. It would be very relaxing to walk around on a date in a place like this. Nathan & I went to the zoo before kids a couple times…it always felt kind of, awkward. This would be my choice instead of the zoo 🙂
We went to the butterfly house first.
The kids thought this was very cool. There were butterflies everywhere and very close. A waterfall to walk under. Turtles. Exotic flowers. Then we moved on to the outdoor gardens.
All kinds of gardens: water gardens, Chinese gardens, vegetable gardens, rock gardens…even a kids garden area with a tree house and splash pad!
We really enjoyed the botanical gardens and would love to go back. I personally would love to see it during Christmas time. If you ever find yourself in Cleveland, please visit the botanical gardens! 4 thumbs up from this crew!
After our garden visit, took it easy the rest of the evening with a trip to a mall close to our hotel and then we were ready for bed so we would be ready for the next day of adventure!
Our first stop in the morning was the Christmas Story house! We love that movie and just had to be touristy and stop there.
“You’ll shoot your eye out!” There, I said it 😉 We got there before the store opened, so we couldn’t go inside the house, but being outside was enough for us! Besides, the kids had no clue why we cared to be there…one day we will teach them the importance of this awesome Christmas movie. Pretty sure one of my first memories of my dad is watching A Christmas Story with him. 🙂
We had never seen Lake Erie, so we headed to a park with a beach and a pier.
Great views from this park. The beach was nice and the park had a lot of grassy areas, but no playground. Further up the road there is an awesome looking park with a playground and a walking path. Next time we come, we plan on walking the path a ways along the lake.
We found a neat little shopping area, Crocker Park. They had a farmers market going on at the time, live music, wood fired pizza…good stuff. There’s also a splash pad, giant chess set, and other little things around for kids to do. And a lot of delicious food options. We were happy at Crocker Park for a long time 🙂
While we were at Crocker Park we saw a sign for a Lego exhibit at the Cleveland Children’s Museum, so we decided to try and find that. Well, I’m not sure where our phones took us, but we ended up at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center. No Lego exhibit in sight, but it was free to get in and there were a few animals and fish to look at. It’s located in a huge park. It was a cool find, but I think going once was enough 🙂 I did get these cute pictures though…
Sweetest little astronauts I’ve ever seen!
We decided to head for home, but we had to swing through Twinsburg, Ohio. We hope to make it to the annual Twins Days Festival someday! Until then, we at least have proof our twinkies have been there!
Our last stop on our Northern Ohio adventure was the Aurora Farms Premium Outlets. Best outlet mall I’ve ever been to..great deals and lots of ways to keep kids busy. A duck pond, play ground, and those little rides you can put quarters in…and most only cost 50 cents. We all enjoyed ourselves at the outlet malls on this trip 🙂
We really enjoyed our Cleveland adventure, and there is so much more to enjoy next time we go!
Cleveland Children’s Museum…the one we were trying to find 🙂
Memphis Kiddie Park…we almost went here, wish we would have!
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway…we drove through Cuyhoga Falls, such a beautiful little town! We would love to spend some time there!
And may other ideas and places can be found here!
Overall, Cleveland gets 4 thumbs up from this family! Did you check out any fun places in your home state this past summer?