Fair   87.0F  |  Forecast »

Take a Family Trip to Dayton or Cleveland, Ohio

Whether you're looking for the big city or small town charm, these cities boast awesome museums that are great trips for southeast Michigan families

Ohio touts itself as the state that's "too much fun for just one day." But even if you've only got one or two to spare, there's something for local parents and kids to discover at Michigan's next-door neighbor – especially at its amazing museums.

So pack up those weekend getaway bags, hop in the car – and explore the kid-friendly hubbub of Cleveland or small-town allure of Dayton in attractions sure to please, rain or shine.

Cleveland

With the feel of a big city like Chicago, mixed with the charm of a much smaller town, Cleveland offers plenty of unique spots for families. And since the city's population is just under half a million, you won't have to battle too many crowds – but you should expect to take extra time finding a parking place at any of the destinations you visit.

The University Circle area near the Case Western Reserve University campus includes several museums. Among the university area's offerings is one standout you shouldn't miss:

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

  • Phone: 216-231-4600
  • Admission: $10/adults, $8/ages 7-18 and $7/ages 3-6. Planetarium shows are extra.
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Wednesday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday

Plan an afternoon strolling the museum's Gallery of Gems and interactive astronomy displays. After walking among dinosaur bones and stuffed sharks, watch live animal shows or go to the hands-on learning center.

The university area is home to several other museums you should consider visiting too, like the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum and others. Outside, you'll find plenty of room for running and even a dinosaur for kids to climb on.

Great Lakes Science Center

  • Phone: 216-694-2000
  • Admission: General (includes NASA Glenn Visitor Center and special exhibit): $14/adults, $12/ages 2-18. Plus OMNIMAX: $19/adults, $17/kids. Plus steamship (seasonal): $23/adults, $21/kids. Note: Other rates also available; check website for full details.
  • Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily

Would you like your youngsters to understand more about the Great Lakes? This museum teaches them the works about Lake Erie, Lake Huron and the other three through 400 interactive exhibits.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

  • Phone: 216-781-ROCK (7625)
  • Admission: $22/adults, $13/ages 9-12, free/kids 8 with paying adult. Parking fees apply.
  • Hours: 10 a.m. -5:30 p.m. daily, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesdays (has extended summer hours; check website)

No trip to Cleveland would be complete without a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Educate your kids on legendary musicians from throughout rock's history. Within the museum's 150,000-square-foot area, you'll see the rockers that shaped the music that you and your kids are listening to today. If you're traveling with teens, make sure you check out the skateboarding park outside the museum.

Dayton

With a population of just over 150,000, this city feels more like a small town. Dayton's Oregon Historic District, with 12 blocks of original 1800s buildings, begs visitors to take a step back in time when the Wright brothers still walked the streets and flying was a seemingly impossible idea.

Several Dayton museums offer children a variety of experiences – from getting their hands dirty building things to getting their hands busy flying things.

Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

  • Phone: 937-275-7431
  • Admission: $8.50/adults, $7.50/ages 2-16, free/under age 2. Laser and planetarium shows are extra.
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday

From a three-story climbing tower to multiple science stations, your children can enjoy the day going through all of the museum's offerings within its 90,000 square feet of space. Don't forget to catch a planetarium or laser light show, too!

National Museum of the United States Air Force

  • Phone: 937-255-3286
  • Admission: Free
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Visit one of the oldest and largest military aviation museums in the world. With 17 acres of indoor exhibit space, you could spend days going through the museum's 300 aircraft and missiles. You'll find the Memphis Belle here, plus planes that have flown presidents including John F. Kennedy, Harry S. Truman and others.

The Wright Cycle Company Complex

  • Phone: 937-225-7705
  • Admission: Free
  • Hours: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

After you've looked at amazing aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, see where the idea of flight first began at the Wright brothers' original bicycle shop. The shop is part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park. Find several different exhibits within the Wright-Dunbar interpretive center. And if the temperatures are mild, play airplane outside with your kids.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

From picking out ingredients to concocting their own culinary creations, here are a few ways to encourage your children to help out in the kitchen.

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Family Picnic Recipes and Ideas

Head to the park or on a hike and make the great outdoors your dinner spot. Here are six ideas to help you plan your meal – from drink to dessert.

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Book Review: Three Fun Summer Craft Reads for the Family

Want a few simple, fun sewing ideas for the kids, projects to brighten up their rooms or maybe just tips for DIY tinkering? These authors have you covered.

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

Dad Claims African Land, Declares Daughter is a Princess

A father from Virginia claims a patch of desert in Egypt, calls it the Kingdom of North Sudan – just so his daughter can be the princess of this region.

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Spray-on Sunscreen Warnings for Kids: FDA Investigates Safety

Parents might want to think twice before using this alternative to lotion sunscreen as the Food and Drug Administration investigates its potential risks.

DIY Accessories: Puppets, Sandals, Ninja Turtles and Hoodie

DIY Accessories: Puppets, Sandals, Ninja Turtles and Hoodie

If you're looking for a fun decorative summer vacation family project or two, these four blog picks will get you and your kids off to a great start.

The Importance of Raising Risk-Taking Children

The Importance of Raising Risk-Taking Children

Parents want to protect their kids from failing or getting hurt, but that's impossible. In fact, it's critical to let them take risks. Here's why – and how to raise a risk taker.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement