12 things to do with kids during winter vacation in Cleveland


Awesome light shows, Santa Claus in a wet suit, historic mansions and snowshoe adventures all have one thing in common: a family winter vacation for the Clevelanders.

Wild winter lights at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Bundle up for the evening and enjoy hundreds of lights in a variety of vacation-themed areas, including a vibrant light show featuring a massive 15-meter tree. Driving and walking nights are available. The event features dazzling exhibits, rides, costumed characters, model train exhibits, ice sculptors and live music from festive choirs. Guests can also take photos with Santa in his workshop during the drop-in event until December 23. $ 18 to $ 60, November 16 to January 2, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., check website for available dates and times and move forward. ticket purchase, 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, 216-661-6500, clevelandmetroparks.com

Visit a house and museum of Christmas stories

Relive this holiday movie classic at Ralphie’s original home, which includes props, costumes and memorabilia from the movie, plus hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes photos. Some of the things you’ll see are Higbee’s window toys, Randy’s snowsuit, Miss Shields’ classroom board, and the family car. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop across the street to purchase your own Major Award Leg Lamp and other movie memorabilia. The Christmas Story House offers public tours and overnight stays. $ 11 to $ 15, visit website for overnight information, Sun – E. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Fri & Sat 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., December 24 and 31 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., closed on December 25 and January 1, 3159 W. 11th St., Cleveland, 216-298-4919, achristmasstoryhouse.com

Ice skating

Nothing says winter vacation more than skating on an outdoor rink. And the Clevelanders have quite a few options. There’s the Cleveland Foundation Ice Rink in Public Square, the Wade Oval Ice Rink at University Circle, and a new Ice Rink at Merwin’s Wharf. Crocker Park in Westlake and Halloran Park just west of downtown also have seasonal outdoor rinks. Prices range from $ 5 to $ 15, check websites for dates, times and locations, clevelandpublicsquare.com, universitycircle.org, clevelandmetroparks.com, crockerpark.com, clevelandohio.gov

Deck the Hall at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

This 70-acre estate, comprising five buildings and 10 fully restored gardens, offers the perfect outing for a family vacation. First, visit the Mansion, which features 25 decorated trees as well as 21 staged scenes from classic and favorite Christmas movies located in the historic Mansion. Outside, the gardens and grounds are surprisingly covered with a million Christmas lights, the perfect setting for a brisk winter stroll. You’ll know you are nearing the end of your walk when you start to smell the freshly baked gingerbread of the Gingerbread Hut. Other post-tour snack options include a hot cookie, hot chocolate, or hot pretzel from the Salty Reindeer. Dress for the weather and plan a 60-minute outdoor walking experience. $ 7 to $ 22 (tickets are on presale only), select nights through December 30, 714 N. Portage Path, Akron, 330-836-5533, stanhywet.org

Stroll through downtown Chagrin Falls

You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a Hallmark movie as you stroll through the Main Street area of ​​this charming little town. Lights, festive decorations and window displays from local businesses add to the ambiance during the holiday season. Riverside Park, centrally located just beside the falls, is home to more than a dozen imported trees decorated on the theme by local businesses. When it’s time to warm up, head to Heartwood Coffee Roasters for hot chocolate made with fresh, local ingredients, complemented with a treat of your choice from their selection of freshly baked cookies, pastries and baked goods. Bonus: You can admire the city’s giant and prized Christmas tree that they ceremoniously light each year the day after Thanksgiving from the Heartwood window. Mon – Sat 6 am-5pm, Sun 8 am-5pm, 20 N. Main St., Chagrin Falls, 440-337-0089, heartwoodroastery.com

A Garden Vacation at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens

Surround yourself with all the beauty of this popular tradition, including dozens of trees decorated by affiliated Northeast Ohio garden clubs, incredible candy-coated gingerbread houses assembled by local bakers, a gorgeous 16ft Christmas tree with decorations handmade by a local artisan and countless holiday plants, from evergreen conifers to poinsettias in shades of white, pink and red. Children (and younger) will enjoy special indoor and outdoor play areas, with light shows, a slide, seasonal crafts, hot chocolate story time, marshmallow roasting, games and more. $ 12 to $ 16, free for members, November 20 to January 2, Tue – Sat 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun noon to 5 p.m., closed Mondays except December 20 and 27 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Christmas and New Years Day, 11030 E. Blvd., Cleveland, 216-721-1600, holdenfg.org

Snowshoes in the Cleveland Metroparks

When the flakes start to fall, snowshoeing is a great way to get out and explore the Cleveland Metroparks. But don’t worry, you don’t have to own snowshoes. There are a lot of places to rent them and even more places to use them. However, you will need at least a four inch snow base. Call for prices, locations and availability, clevelandmetroparks.com

See the lights

Whether you’ve had a busy day or just looking for a way to get the crazy kids out of the house, going to see the holiday lights is a fun and entertaining way to end the day. The exhibitions in the public square, the arcade and the NELA park are all free to walk around and enjoy. Some good drive-thru options cost per vehicle, including the Magic of Lights at Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds and Country Lights at Lake Metroparks Farmpark. $ 21- $ 35 per vehicle for drive-thru, Now – January, clevelandpublicsquare.com, theclevelandarcade.com, magicoflights.com, lakemetroparks.com

Scuba Claus Meet & Greet Days at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium

It will certainly be your most memorable visit with Santa Claus. Guests can explore the Aquarium and complete an animal finder activity before spending a few minutes chatting with ‘Scuba Claus’ as he is submerged in 230,000 gallons of salt water with sharks, eels, angelfish and soufflés. You can discuss your holiday cookie preferences, ask questions about diving, or just wish her a happy “fish-mas”. Guests receive a free digital photo with Scuba Claus, an “I Saw Scuba Claus” commemorative sticker, coloring sheet and temporary tattoo. Advance tickets are required. $ 5 to $ 24.95, December 18-19, December 20-22, multiple times, 2000 Sycamore St., Cleveland, 216-862-8803, Greaterclevelandaquarium.com

Winter RiverFest

Rivergate Park and Merwin’s Wharf have once again transformed for the holiday season into a winter wonderland full of festive decor, an ice skating rink, Santa appearances (Friday-Sunday), retail stores and an igloo-restaurant village along from the Cuyahoga River to the Apartments. Igloo and skate reservations are suggested and available online. Free entry; ice skating $ 8 to $ 15; Igloo rental $ 50 for 2 hours plus food and drink minimum, Nov 26 to Jan 2, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., 1785 Merwin Ave., Cleveland, (216) 664-5696, clevelandmetroparks.com

Explore the iconic Westside Market

Give your kids a culturally diverse shopping experience in Cleveland’s oldest public market, still in operation. Home to over 100 vendors, it offers everything from sweet treats, ready-to-eat foods, artisanal coffees, meats, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, fresh flowers, spices. and more. Don’t forget to try something new and bring some goodies home to enjoy with your holiday meals! Free admission, Mon, Wed, Fri 8 am-5pm, Sat 7 am-5pm, Sun 10 am-4pm, special hours for public holidays: December 23, 30 and 31, 8 am-5pm a.m., Dec. 24, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., 1979 West 25th St., Cleveland, 216-664-3390, westsidemarket. organization

Elf the Musical at the Beck Center for the Arts

This hilarious and beloved holiday comedy about Buddy the Elf and his quest to find his true identity in New York City during the holiday season promises an afternoon or evening of fun and laughter for the whole family. ‘maple not included). $ 12 to $ 34, Dec. Jan 3, 2, various days and times, 17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, (216) 521-2540, beckcenter.org


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