To most, the garden featured in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is purely make-believe. But not to people who've smelled the chocolate-scented varietals blooming amongst hidden trails and a climbable tree house at the Hershey Children's Garden. This sweet-smelling garden is just one of the Cleveland Botanical Garden's 20 gardens, which encompass everything from 3,500 herb plants to lotuses and water lilies floating atop a 74-foot-long reflecting pool. Vibrant hydrangeas complement sculptures in an art garden, while the Guren Art Gallery's ever-changing exhibits spotlight new work inspired by botany and the power of pruning shears.
Shaded boardwalks and winding trails connect all these visual splendors, eventually leading visitors to the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse. Divided into a Madagascar desert and a Costa Rican rainforest, the glasshouse showcases 50 types of butterflies, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, plus 350 exotic plants, including a colossal strangler fig. Experts shine a light on such specimens during botanical lectures, which are one of many educational programs the garden offers, ranging from gardening symposia to kids science classes.
Since it's founding in 1913, the Cleveland Museum of Art has operated under a simple?yet lofty?mission statement: "For the benefit of all people, forever." In the spirit of that all-encompassing philosophy, the museum features works as disparate as ancient artifacts from the Classical world, lush landscapes from Dutch masters, and pieces from modern icons.
For the second year running, the Piston Power Show and Excalibur Auto Body fills 1,000,000 square feet with cars, motorcycles, trucks, and airplanes, as well as family-friendly activities and prizes, making it one of the largest indoor vehicle displays in the world. In the vehicle showcase, visitors stroll past more than 1,000 transportation contraptions, admiring the gleaming chrome of classic cars, a fully restored B-17, and a meet-and-greet with the tiny horses that pull the engine's piston. New this year, the Ohio Bike Week Pavilion and Fall Show will showcase live music from bands including The Earthquakes and Thunderstruck, hot dogs, beer, and herds of rowdy motorcycles (food and drink not included with this Groupon). Parents can instill a love of speedy locomotion with interactive displays, simulators, the All-American Soap Box Derby boasting a 250-foot long Indoor Rally track for side-by-side racing, and a fun kids’ zone featuring famous cars from Transformers and Starsky and Hutch. A live band croons nostalgic tunes from the '50s and '60s to offset the atmosphere of fierce competition in Thunder Row, a collection of 32 show cars from around the country wooing judges with powerful engines and svelte figures in the swimsuit competition.
Located in the FirstEnergy Powerhouse, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium houses 10 different galleries and 35 tanks with fresh- and saltwater creatures ranging from local trout to sand tiger sharks and piranhas. Regional exhibits demonstrate the native life of Ohio's lakes and rivers with catfish and bass, exotic freshwater landscapes with an interactive African tortoise exhibit, and coastal waterways with octopus and jellyfish.
In the Coastal gallery, visitors can engage another sense at the 11,000-gallon touch pool, where crustaceans and three species of stingrays line up for a kick line at the first sight of an audience. In the main Shark gallery, visitors can immerse themselves in the aquatic environment as they gaze through the transparent ceiling and walls of the 150-foot underwater SeaTube as stingrays, colorful fish, and more than 4 species of sharks swim overhead.
For 14 years, families and friends have created memories while enjoying bowling, video games, food, and beverages at Southgate Lanes. Inside the bowling and entertainment center, guests partake in friendly competition on one of 40 lanes while munching on hot snacks from the full-service bar. Southgate also boasts a game area, enticing guests to take a break from their strikes and spares to try their hand at a game of pool, sharpen their hand-eye coordination with pinball, or prepare for the coming alien invasion on a video game. Other bowling alley attractions include leagues, cosmic bowling, scheduled camps and clinics, and an on-site pro shop.
A 150-foot wind turbine heralds the entryway of Great Lakes Science Center. Combined with a 300-foot solar canopy, the turbine supplies 6% of the museum's power but also serves another purpose: to drive home the science center's commitment to research, education, and scientific discovery. Inside the Alternative Energy exhibit, visitors can touch their fingertips to a kiosk that displays real-time and historical data on energy consumption. Or, at the Steamship William G. Mather, visitors can explore a four-story engine room that once propelled the 618-foot flagship. After exploring the lunar lander models and flight simulators of the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, visitors can track moon dust to the Omnimax Theater and absorb scientific knowledge through 11,600 watts of digital sound.
In addition to presenting exhibits to more than 300,000 visitors annually, the science center leads the charge on science education. Onsite scientists organize space and curriculum for freshmen in the Cleveland metropolitan school district's inaugural STEM high school. The school teaches in a project-based learning environment where students are encouraged to delve into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.