A prodigy in his own right, Thomas Alva Edison's inventions changed the trajectory of technology before electronics were even a thing. The Edison Birthplace Museum celebrates Edison's life and his contributions to modern society with a collection of memorabilia. Opened by his wife and daughter, the home has been restored and refurnished to appear as it did in 1847, the year Thomas Edison was born.
The Building: Samuel O. Edison built the three-story brick house for his wife and family in 1842.
Eye Catcher: The room Edison was born in features intricate wallpaper, a white washbasin, and a period-accurate rope bed and handmade coverlet dating to the 1840s.
Don't Miss: The master bedroom's pine furniture set, one of the few original pieces, belonged to Edison's sister. The bedroom's closets hold clothing that used to grace the shoulders of Edison and his wife.
Hidden Gem: Behind the parlor, a trove of "Edisonia" includes family photos and a collection of his many inventions, such as a phonograph, a stock ticker, and a talking doll.
Bring Something Home: The gift shop stocks books about the inventor and his life, for both kids and grownups, as well as CDs of music recorded using Edison's electrical technique.
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 among 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 symposiums 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.
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.
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.
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.