summer_family_fun_preschoolerFinally! It’s outdoors season in Northern Ohio – and there are plenty of fun and inexpensive activities for your children that help them to be active while having a great time. Many are even free! Here are just a few of them. 

Spray Parks

As the weather heats up, nothing is as refreshing as a dip in cool water – but maybe your preschooler isn’t yet comfortable with swimming – or maybe he or she is overly confident, pushing the boundaries of safe play. In that case, a wonderful option is spray parks, where water is safely sprayed out of fountains and your child can put on a bathing suit and frolic as the water squirts out. Because there is seldom any standing water, this is an ideal warm-weather option for young children who don’t know how to swim – and even for those that do!

Northeast Ohio Family Fun offers a listing of spraygrounds in the following counties: Ashland, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Stark, Summit and Wayne. You can click on a link for the county you prefer to see available options – and, better yet, some are free!

Children’s Gardens

Here are two gardens in Northern Ohio with activities especially for children:

  • Secrest Arboretum & Garden: Located at 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster in Wayne County (330-263-3761), admission is free and children’s programs are offered. Here are fun ones for July:
    • Whiz Bang! Science Show on Thursday, July 9. Dr. Dave Lohnes – the Whiz-Bang Scientist! – will encourage children to learn more about science while having fun outdoors.
    • Family Bug Night and Insect Walk on Saturday, July 18. Share in the excitement of seeing insects active at night. 
    • Plus, children can check out the “new Fortress at the Hogs-back, embankment slide and pavilion complete with giant frogs, tortoises and more...for kids of ALL ages!”
  • Schoepfle Garden & Children’s Garden: Part of the Lorain County Metroparks, this part is located at 11106 Market Street, Birmingham in Lorain County (440-965-7237). Adults will appreciate the beautiful gardens – free! – and children’s eyes will light up when they see the carousel in the Children’s Garden. The entire garden is based on a musical theme, so children can “climb the Rocky ‘G’ Clef, crawl through the Flute-A-Pillar, and ride the restored carousel.” 

Cleveland Zoo

The Cleveland Zoo is a 183-acre adventure land for families with one of the largest collections of primates in North America, located at 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland in Cuyahoga County (216-661-6500). Part of the Cleveland Metroparks System, there are multiple areas to explore, including Australian Adventure, African Savanna, Northern Trek, The Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building, The RainForest and Waterfowl Lake. A limited-time exhibit is Penguin Shores, located in Northern Trek. 

Although prices are subject to change, at the time of writing, they are:

  • Adults: $13.25 ($12.25 for those aged 62 and older)
  • Juniors (2-11): $9.25
  • Under 2: Free

You can save $1 per ticket by purchasing in advance online and you can add the following upgrades:

  • Carousel rides: $3.00 per ride
  • Camel rides: $5 per ride and $5 per photo
  • Train ride: $2 per person
  • Lorikeet nectar feeding: $2 per cup

Or pay $5.75 per person for unlimited train rides, carousel rides and lorikeet feedings. On Mondays, the zoo – not counting the RainForest – is free for residents of Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township from Memorial Day through Labor Day. 

It’s also crucial to choose the right summer program for your child and we’d love to talk to you about your needs. 

Horizon Summer Camp