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.
A Cleveland institution since 1968, the Museum of Contemporary Art is a major producer of original exhibitions of national and international artists, as well as a supporter of nascent area artists through its PULSE and Wendy L. Moore Emerging Artist Series. Current exhibitions include Seth Rosenberg: The Cleveland Years, a collection of abstract paintings that incorporates old scientific illustrations and references to Social Realism in the 1930s, much like early drafts of the script for According to Jim: The Movie.
Founded in 1920, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History offers interactive exhibits including a planetarium, discovery center, observatory, live animal shows, and a wildlife center and woods garden highlighting Ohio flora and fauna. A family membership provides admission for two adults and all children under age 18 to all exhibits and permanent features. See how skin was filled millions of years ago with Lucy, a partial skeleton of a 3.2-million-year-old human ancestor; check out a demonstration of the Earth's rotation with the Foucault Pendulum; or visit the Perkins Wildlife Center and Woods Garden to closely study Ohio's native plants and animals, preparing for the day when they turn on mankind. Upcoming exhibits include Disease Detectives, which lets visitors examine faux patients for disease, and Let's Get Active, a crash course on the bodily effects of exercise, diet, and reading a book written by Alan Alda.
As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational institution, WRHS preserves and uses its collections, historic sites and museums to inspire people to explore the history and culture of Northeast Ohio and place that regional experience within the larger context of state, national and global history.
For more than 25 years, the International Women’s Air & Space Museum has tickled intellects with exhibits dedicated to the women who defied societal conventions to explore the sky and outersky. Current exhibits showcase the life and times of the infamous Amelia Earhart, the paper-helicopter-building abilities of Katharine Wright (sister to the Wright brothers), and the tremendous courage shown by the 39 female Air Force service pilots that gave their lives in WWII. Hurry in to catch the IWASM’s exhibit 100 Ohio Women in Air & Space, on display until January 2.