June 3, 2013

Things to do with Little Kids in Cleveland.

So!  It's summer!  And there are so many fun things to do with little kids in the Cleveland area during the summer.  I thought I'd list my favorites....

Wait... in case you're wondering...Yes.  I am still pregnant.  And hot.  And .... I don't want to talk about that anymore.  Instead let's talk about something wild that happened to me that inspired this post.  I took my kids to the Rocky River Splash Park and was recognized from this blog.  That has never in many years of blogging happened to me before at a non-blogger event.  It was crazy!  But apparently this post from last year has been posted on some local parenting forums.  I had an nice chat with the ladies who knew me and they told me to keep posting.  Which I haven't done in awhile.  So here we are.


Things To Do with Little Kids in Cleveland in the Summer.

First of all my kids are 4 and 2.  So I've been solidly in the toddler / preschool age group.  I know there are a ton of other things for bigger kids (drive in's! pools! summer camps!) but this list is pretty skewed to the smaller age group.  Second of all I do show a bit of a westside bias here... Meh.  I live in West Park.  Can't be helped.

6.)  Splash Parks:  So there's the Rocky River Splash Park which is awesome:

But only open until they open up the pool next week.  So then as a backup plan there's the Morton Splash Park:
Splash Park
this picture is so incredibly old and yet still makes me so happy
It's supposed to be for Fairview Park Residents only but... yeah.  I've never had a problem.  I've also heard that the Fairview Splash Park in Ohio City is super awesome and open to the entire public but we haven't been there yet.  It's on my summer bucket list for this year, though!

For a bunch of other Spraygrounds in Northeast Ohio I found this post which has a full list.

5.)  Memphis Kiddie Park (here's their website):  Last summer was the first time I took my kids.  Here's my post on it - Memphis Kiddie Park.

Memphis Kiddie Park

They had so much fun!  My then 3.5 year old rode everything but the roller coaster.

Memphis Kiddie Park
My then 18 month old was big enough to go on enough rides to keep him happy all day:

Memphis Kiddie Park

This year I think I'll really be in a sweet spot age wise where both my older kids will be into all of the rides (the newborn probably not so much).  I think once you hit kindergarten it starts to lose it's shine, though.  As far as expense this isn't a once a week place - more like a once or twice a summer place.  But absolutely worth it.

4.)  Lake Erie Nature and Science Center (here's their website): This is a great beat the heat place to go.  They have a planetarium that is ridiculously air conditioned.   They even have star shows specifically tailored to the toddler age group (Twinkle Tots every Thurs at 11 and Sat at 12).  There's also a small area with some local animals that you can see.  It's small enough that even on a 100+ degree day you won't overheat - or can get back into the AC right quick.  Perfect for when your kids want to see animals but you aren't up for the entirety of the zoo.

She's almost the size of a walleye!
Another extremely old picture that makes me extremely happy.
Also they have a raccoon and for awhile my daughter was obsessed with raccoons (they wear cool masks).  So that's a huge plus!

3.)  Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (their website):  No list of anything kid related in Cleveland is complete with out the zoo.  I love the zoo.  My kids love the zoo.

Spontaneously went to the zoo.  Insane.
Animal watching at the Cleve Zoo! @clemetzoo #zoo #happyincle
Fish Hat!
And have loved the zoo since they were teeny tiny:

zoo with grandma
The zoo is also our go to for when we have out of town visitors here.  It's the perfect summer activity where all ages can spend a nice day together.  Pack a lunch and it's also an extremely economical one.  Pro tip:  The wolf lodge is air conditioned and has perfect chairs for nursing a baby.  Also a good nursing spot - behind the shark tank in the Primate Cat and Aquatics house.

2.)  Metro Parks the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (here's their website):  Pretty much wherever you live in the Cleveland Area there's a spot you can take your kids out and get into the woods.

I live very close to Hogsback lane and the Valley Parkway Trail down in the valley so it's my go towhen I just want to get the kids into nature for a bit.  There's even a few places (most notably by the boat ramp in Lakewood) where you can get right up to the river and throw rocks into the water (the Dude's favorite thing EVER)
It's hard to see but there's a huge blue heron in the background.  We watched it fly down river - I think it was more annoyed with us than scared!
But the most fun places are places where you can actuall play in the water.  Here's a post I did last summer about Big Creek Reservation where we found some awesome streams for toddlers to explore:

Recently we went to the Bedford Reservation Area of the CVNP which has some great trials for getting up close and personal with waterfalls:

bedford reservation in the cuyahoga valley national park

 And also as muddy as possible.  Funtimes.

bedford reservation in the cuyahoga valley national park

1.)  Rocky River Park / Beach (here's the location):  This is not the biggest beach in Cleveland.  It's not the best place for catching waves or enjoying all of fun of Lake Erie.  For that try Huntington or Edgewater.  But it is absolutely the best beach in the area for taking little kids.

Rocky River Beach

There's a breakwall so the waves never get too big:

Beach!  in March!
The breakwall also means you can't swim out too deep.  Essentially turning Lake Erie into a wading pool.

There's sand to play in, a playground nearby (in case you get done with the sand), dogs are allowed, and there's even a somewhat clean public restroom.  Perfect spot for taking little ones!

We went last night just to get some fresh air:

Belly at the beach. #pregnant #latergram #lakeerie #beach
belly at the beach

Rocky River Beach
overlooking the lake, watching the waves

So that's my list!  What have I missed?  What are your favorite places for kids in Cleveland?  What's on your summer bucket list?  I'd love to hear what else is out there!
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