10 Free Things to Do in Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland gets dumped on a lot, teased and put down, but that’s okay. This city is full of free activities for families, let’s keep it our little secret. The following ten destination points offer something for families of all ages. I know with my own large family even a minimal admission fee can add up. Keep this list handy for those times when you need to get out.

1. The Cleveland Metroparks
This park system stretches throughout the Cleveland area with 16 unique reservations. It is one of the oldest park systems in the United States. Take the family on a bike ride through their scenic and well-maintained paths. Go on a hike through the woods. Visit a nature observatory, waterfall, marina. Swim at the Hinckley Reservation, then relax on the sandy beach.

2. Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is an enormous facility to explore. While the free admission does not include special exhibits, the pieces on permanent display offer plenty to enjoy. My children love the Medieval room, while the Egyptian mummies come in a close second.

Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106

3. Huntington Beach Park
The North Coast offers a lot of lake front beaches. Huntington in Bay Village just so happens to be my favorite. It is quiet, clean and located under a large bluff. Families can swim under the watchful eye of life guards during the season. Bring a kite, build sandcastles or have a picnic.

Huntington Beach Park
Lake Rd.
Bay Village, OH 44140

4. NASA Glenn Research Center
This is one cool destination point for families in Cleveland. Free admission to all US citizens. Check out the 6,000 square feet visitor center full of interactive exhibits, history and memorabilia on NASA. Located near Cleveland Hopkins Airport on Brookpark Road, NASA is great for anyone fascinated by aerospace travel.

NASA Glenn Research Center
21000 Brookpark Rd.
Cleveland, OH 44135-3191

5. Sims Park Disc Golf
All you need is a good Frisbee. Let your kids experience the fun of a disc golf course while you enjoy a phenomenal view. The first four holes are located along the lake. A decent course with 21 holes.

Sims Park Disc Golf
22131 Lakeshore Blvd
Euclid, OH 44123

6. Rockefeller Gardens
Gorgeous secret gardens in Cleveland, free to public. Regardless of the weather outside, the greenhouse is blooming. Walk through the theme gardens breathe in the beauty. The Japanese Garden features a Dawn Redwood tree grown from a seed direct from Japan. Another interesting specialty garden is the Betty Ott Talking Garden full of plants that appeal to the senses. The garden also uses tape-recorded descriptions to guide sight-impaired visitors.

Rockefeller Gardens
750 E 88th St.
Cleveland, OH 44108

7. Lake Erie Nature & Science Center
Open Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the indoor and outdoor displays are full of wildlife. Both exotic and domestic animals are included in the educational exhibits.

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.
28728 Wolf Road
Bay Village, Ohio 44140

8. Ohio Bird Sanctuary
72 acres of forest and marsh designed to nurture Ohio’s birds of prey and songbirds. Walk through any one of the eight scenic trails through groves and meadows, pine and marshland. The center takes care of injured eagles, hawks, and owls that cannot be released back into nature. Songbirds fill a large aviary.

Ohio Bird Sanctuary
3774 Orweiler Rd.
Mansfield, OH 44903

9. Wade Oval
Check the schedule for one of the many wonderful free annual events on the circle such as the one of a kind parade put on by the Cleveland Museum of Art. Parade the Circle includes larger than life puppets, floats, stilt walkers and musicians. Wade Oval is also home to a free skating outdoor skating rink and host of the Holiday Circlefest in December.

Wade Oval
10701 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106

10. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Free to residents of Cuyahoga County every Monday throughout the year. Parking is also free at the zoo. Visit Australian Adventure complete with kangaroos, koalas and a playground. Ride the train, visit the wolves, lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The zoo is opening an impressive redesigned elephant habitat in May of 2011.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
3900 Wildlife Way
Cleveland, Ohio 44109