Vehicles leisurely roll across African Safari Wildlife Park's landscape, yielding to a host of friendly creatures. Camels, giraffes, zebras, forest-dwelling bongos, Asian sika deer, and Scottish highland cows await you. Guests can hold cups filled with feed, which exotic muzzles devour, and a walking area provides an up-close look at enclosed species such as the rare white alligator. Warm-weather months bring out additional activities, including animal rides, pig races, and educational animal shows where guests can interact with small animals. Food and beverages from African Safari's ice-cream shop, snack bar, and grill help sate midday hungers caused by watching a guanaco sneeze.
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.
Paula Atwell wasn't born an artist. She didn't pursue any art form in college, instead achieving a degree in English and a minor in accounting. After logging years in standard 9–5 jobs, she had an epiphany—it was time to do something for herself. Taking this newfound motivation to action, Paula enrolled in a beading class and followed it with forays into metalsmithing, crafting, and soldering.
These experiments in creativity led her to join the Lake Erie Artists co-op in 2003, where she began to show her eclectic jewelry at their booth during local festivals. When the co-op became incorporated in 2005, Paula's business world experience made her an obvious choice to lead the diverse group of artists in forming their own gallery. Today, the co-op-turned-gallery now carries hundreds of art pieces that span a range of media.
Producing blown-glass sculptures and handcrafted metal jewelry and pottery, the artists each specialize in a few select media as decided during the gallery's annual game of spin-the-paintbrush. The staff at Lake Erie Artists Gallery is also a strong proponent of local business, encouraging their patrons to browse Shake Square after looking at their wares. In project-oriented classes taught by working artists, students explore jewelry and painting and leave with their handcrafted pieces.
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.
Glass Bubble Project's owners Mike Kaplan and Chris McGillicutty are business partners, friends, and working artists. Beginning in 1998, they repurposed their garage space into a working studio where professional artists and students create side by side, firing delicate one-of-a-kind masterpieces—and, according to Cleveland Magazine, the occasional grilled cheese sandwich—in the shop's 2,000-degree furnace. Their glass-blowing and welding classes teach adults and children to create one-of-a-kind artwork as nearby artists at work bolster creativity. Besides classes, the studio invites guests to watch their free public demonstrations and grants private studio time to artists in need and broken bottles looking for a fresh start.
The shop's resident artists craft and sell sconces, chandeliers, and vases from recycled glass and repurposed metal. Nicknamed “Clevetion Glass” to simultaneously lampoon delicate Venetian glass and celebrate Cleveland's heartiness, their blend of industrial parts and elegant glasswork toughens up the décor of private residences and commercial buildings, such as the Ritz Carlton, all across the country.
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.