Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Cleveland, OH

Another great post from iCate!! She is an adorable girl who gives me awesome pointers on running.  Cate is currently a SAHM who was laid off from corporate America two years ago. She used to work project plans – and now spends her days building forts, managing play-doh and legos, and reading countless books with her kids. She never watches TV and dreams of ways she can reorganize and streamline to create more open space in her world. Her husband fears that one day she will sell him on craigslist. If her knees cooperate, she is hoping to run the Cbus half marathon this spring, her first since her pre-kid days. Cate resides in Worthington with her two children and fab husband. She also blogs over at iCate.

**Please also see Cate’s post about Great Lakes Science Center and get more ideas for a weekday trip or make a family weekend out of visiting both!**

As I mentioned in my previous post Great Lakes Science Center, we checked out two museums in Cleveland for my mom’s birthday. I told you all about our first stop, and now without further ado…our second stop: Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Located in University Circle, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is a 10 minute drive east of Great Lakes Science Center. There is a gated parking lot directly in front of the facility for $2 per hour, or free with member admission. I chose this next museum, mainly because it was free with a COSI membership, plus it also has dinosaur bones! My 4y loves dinosaurs and I really thought he would enjoy the dinosaur exhibit.

I grew up going to this museum, and I knew it was not terribly interactive for younger children. Beyond the dinosaur bones, I honestly did not know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised that there were several exhibits that resonated with my 4y including interactive areas on space, the planets, earthquakes, mines, and volcanoes. However, by far, his favorite thing was the dinosaur bones! There was a t-rex, a brachiosaurus, a triceratops, and even some additional large mammal bone structures including an elephant. Even his 2y sister was in awe!

We stayed about an hour and could have stayed longer if we just had the 4y that day. There was enough for him to see and touch, and he had lots of questions! However, the majority of the exhibits and artifacts are behind glass. Honestly, my 2y was not actively engaged here. Although, if your children are older (perhaps 6+), a visit could certainly be stretched out further. There are plenty of exhibits, a planetarium & observatory ($4 per visit or free with member admission), the blue planet café, which is open every day for lunch, and a museum store. In the warmer months, kids can even climb on the huge stegosaurus on the front lawn!

This museum resides on a single floor and the areas are wide and open for stroller use. Again, we did not opt to take one – perhaps I was trying to wear my children out? However, I did see plenty of families easily navigating the space with small and large strollers.

The kids really enjoyed our time at these museums. In fact, after we got back to Columbus that night, my 4y asked if we could go back the next day – yikes! I told him sometime soon for sure. It was a long day of driving for me, but it was worth it to actually see my 4y’s face when he encountered the enormous dinosaur bones!

If you attempt this adventure with your kids, here’s a few tips:

  • Take change and cash for parking/meters, as well as credit cards for any other needs.
  • Remember your COSI membership card and driver’s license for free reciprocal admission privileges.
  • If you attempt this in one day, make sure to have plenty of car snacks & drinks, as well as a plan for meals. The museum cafes have lunch hours only, and are not open for dinner. However, there are plenty of stops along i-71 heading back to Cbus where you could stop and grab a bite.

About cBus Mom

cBus Mom offers suggestions and reviews of kid-friendly activities in Central Ohio. I am a Columbus, Ohio mom and I like to get out and explore with my kids.

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3 Responses to Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Cleveland, OH

  1. Kimberley Gillan-Shafron January 31, 2011 at 11:53 AM #

    Thank you for coming to visit the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. I am really sorry that you missed our lower level, especially the Smead Discovery Center, a hands-on educational center fun for all ages complete with a birdsong organ, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches and a mock archeological dig. I hope you visited our outdoor Perkins Wildlife Center and met Lucy and Linus our entertaining River Otters, along with Bald Eagles, Raccons, Bobcats and more. We have live animals shows (check out our web-site for more information) I am so glad that you enjoyed your visit and hope that you will come back again soon.

    Kimberley Gillan-Shafron
    Marketing Sales Manager
    Cleveland Museum of Natural History


  1. Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, OH | cBus Mom - January 31, 2011

    [...] also see Cate’s post about The Cleveland Museum of Natural History and get more ideas for a weekday trip or make a family weekend out of visiting [...]

  2. sahm: dinosaur bones in cleveland « iCate - January 31, 2011

    [...] 4Y son is enamored with dinosaur bones, i thought it would be fun to check it out with him. click here to read part 2 of my museum day guest post on the cbusmom [...]