Cleveland Museum of Natural History

#9 in Best Things To Do in Cleveland
Cleveland Museum of Natural History picture

Key Info

1 Wade Oval Dr


Museums, Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
  • 4.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Learn all about the natural world and millions of years of history at Cleveland's Museum of Natural History. With a variety of permanent exhibits, such as dinosaurs from different prehistoric eras, Balto the Alaskan sled dog and Ohio's first planetarium, museumgoers are bound to find something that suits their interests. Visitors can even experience what a 5.5 magnitude earthquake feels like or put their paleontology skills to the test and dig up faux dinosaur bones. After visiting the museum, head to the Smead Discovery Center, Perkins Wildlife Center and the Shafran Planetarium & Mueller Observatory, all on the same property. The museum has a ton of temporary exhibits and events, so be sure to check out the schedule before visiting.

The dinosaur exhibits and interactive dioramas and artifacts received heaps of praise from past visitors who also recommended bringing the entire family and taking a guided tour.  Although, some said that the live outdoor animal enclosures need some major sprucing up as the cages seemed too small and the animals looked unhappy. The high admission costs also made some second guess their visit. 

Located in University Circle, about 5 miles east of downtown, the museum is easily reachable by car, bike and public transportation. From the rail's Red Line, get off at the Cedar-University Station and hop on the free Circle Link shuttle to the museum entrance. The BRT's Healthline and a number of buses also stop nearby. The museum has a parking lot located off of Wade Oval Drive and parking fees vary depending on the amount of time spent at the museum. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesdays until 10 p.m.; Sunday hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tickets costs $14 for adults; $10 for children ages 3 to 18, college students with IDs and seniors ages 60 or older. And on Wednesdays after 5 p.m., all visitors can get in for a flat rate of $7. Check out the museum's website for information regarding temporary exhibits and announcements.  

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#1 Cleveland Metroparks

More than 21,000 acres of nature preserves make up Cleveland's extensive metropolitan park system. There are 18 parks and reservations throughout the Cleveland area that offer a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, fishing, boating, horseback riding and more. Visitors can learn about the reservations at any of the 10 nature visitors centers or partake in group programs like animal tracking and nature explorers. Bring lunch and rest your legs in the picnic areas located throughout the parks.

Although all the reservations provide endless amounts of outdoor fun and gorgeous scenery, the Rocky River Reservation and North Chagrin Reservation come highly recommended from past visitors who said the views were incredible and the nature sightings were aplenty. Many reported seeing a variety of ducks, frogs and birds. The thousands of trails are also great for walks, hikes and bike rides. The Lakefront, Brookside and Washington reservations are within the downtown Cleveland area, and are convenient alternatives if you don't feel like making the trek to the Rocky River and North Chagrin reservations.

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