My family took a road trip this past Fall and ended up in Cleveland, Ohio for a couple days. We were pleasantly surprised by how easy it was for us to navigate around the city. We stayed in a Hyatt Place hotel near the Cleveland Clinic. It had an indoor pool and was nice and clean. This was a good neighborhood, it was convenient to the attractions that we wanted to see, and there were quite a few dining options available near by. We had Chinese, Indian, and classic American food here. I noticed there were also several restaurants specializing in healthy fare like salads, smoothies, etc.
Our first stop on the itinerary was the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. This zoo is somewhat sprawling and hilly. Take advantage of the trams that are available. I would NOT want to push a stroller up some of those paths. There is a nice rain forest area, lions, apes, elephants, and other animals you would expect at a quality zoo. Adults admission is $14.95, kids are $10.25, under 2 yrs old are free. There are discounts for seniors and AAA members. You can also purchase tickets ahead of time at area Giant Eagle grocery stores.For an extra fee, there is a 4D theater and there is a carousel.
Let me tell you about this carousel. It. Is. Gorgeous. It’s called the Circle of Wildlife carousel. Instead of just horses, there are sixty-four different carved animals. Everything from snow owls to black bear. There’s a seahorse, an emperor penguin, a cheetah, even a crab. It’s so unique and beautiful. Rides are $3.
The highlight of our day was feeding the giraffes. For a small fee, we could buy a small bunch of lettuce leaves. Then, we walked out on a wooden deck overlooking the giraffe habitat. The giraffes meandered over and ate lettuce from our outstretched hands. It was a really neat experience.
The food in this zoo was typical amusement park grub. The menus consisted of things like soft pretzels, hotdogs, nachos and slushies. If you are looking for healthy options, you might want to pack snacks.
Besides seeing the animals, there was a nice playground area. (It was crowded, even in October.) There’s a trainride in the Australian Outback area. Also, there are hands-on exhibits in the elephant habitat. The gift shops have good quality but, somewhat expensive toys.
Overall, it’s a nice zoo with plenty to see. But, there is A LOT of walking involved. So much, in fact, that my kids (seven year olds) opted out of seeing a whole section of animals because they just didn’t want to walk anymore. If you are on the fence about whether or not to bring a stroller-bring it. As I said, take advantage of the trams. Unfortunately, we were there during off season so, not all of them were running. This left us with a substantial amount of ground to cover by foot, something to keep in mind if grandma and grandpa are tagging along. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes!
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