With a curious two-year-old, we are always on the lookout for places and museums where my toddler can learn through interactive play. When we heard that the Great Lakes Science Center offered more than 400 hands-on activities, we couldn't wait to get our hands on them.
Nitty gritty: We visited the Great Lakes Science Center on a Saturday afternoon. The center is ideally located on the North Coast Harbor in downtown between the Browns stadium and the Rock Hall. You can’t miss it with their single wind turbine in front of the building. Normally, you could park at the attached parking garage, but since there was a concert happening close by, we found that the Science Center’s attached garage was full and so were other nearby parking lots. We resorted to parking at a further lot, and paying a $10 fee instead of $5. General admission is $14 for adults and $12 for kids 2 to12. If you want to save money, come here on a Tuesday when kids 18 and under get in for free. Admission to the Steamship Mather is extra.
There are family restrooms on the second floor. It is stroller friendly, but you will need to park your stroller at the Port Polymer playhouse.
The Fun: There is fun all around at this museum! The Science Phenoma on the second floor is where you can unleash your inner scientist with interactive activities that range from touching a tornado to freezing your shadow. One thing’s for sure - this area will keep both kids and adults preoccupied for hours, and the best part - your kids won’t even know they are learning at the same time. It was a busy Saturday at the Center, so we didn’t get to “play” with all the activities, but the buzz of children and adults alike was evident that they were having a great time.
Don’t worry if you have toddlers- the Great Lakes Science Center also caters to the younger set. Weave your way through all the hands-on activities on the second floor to the corner and you'll find the gated play area, Port Polymer, dedicated to those kiddos 7 and under. Sure, my 2-year-old had lots of fun with all the other interactive activities, but this is where he was able to unleash all his extra energy by going down the slides and playing in the structure. Other kids were having a blast playing in the ball pit as well. Right outside on the deck was the splash station, Port Polymer. While the kids were busy splashing away, parents could take a minute to look out and enjoy the beautiful view of the Steamship Mather and the harbor.
Since the first man to orbit Earth, John Glenn, was born and raised in Ohio, it makes perfect sense that Ohio have a center dedicated to space exploration. Kids who dream of one day going into space will love the NASA Glenn Center on the first floor where we were able to see the actual command module used in the Apollo 3 mission and also a moon rock!
On the lower level, we really enjoyed their travelling exhibit on frogs. We loved going through each station and trying to find the frogs. Not necessarily an easy task, since the frogs blended well in their habitat. We were also surprised to find frogs in every color of the rainbow. The coolest ones by far were the purple, blue, and yellow frogs, but beware, these beauties are poisonous!
Bottom line: Without a doubt, I would highly recommend this museum since there is truly something for everyone at this museum. Future astronauts will have a blast at the NASA Glenn center, parents and older children will love all the hands-on activities offered, and tots will enjoy running around Port Polymer.
Tip: Check out the famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next door.
Fun fact: If you look out front of the building, you’ll see a single wind turbine that currently supplies 7% of the Center’s energy needs.
Disclosure: This review is based on a complimentary visit to The Great Lakes Science Center. I received no other compensation and the business owner did not state any requirements that I express a particular point of view. The opinions I express are entirely my own.
We stopped in Cleveland on our way to New York and planned an hour for the GLSC. Boy, did we underestimate the amount of fun we could ALL have there-- mom and dad included! We went for the NASA stuff but were pleased beyond our imagination with all of the hands-on science activities we could participate in! Plan AT LEAST 3 hours for this museum, depending on how much time your kids (or husband) wants to spend playing with science! Don't miss it!
I took my three kids, ages 9, 7 and 3 to the Great Lakes Science Center yesterday. They all had a blast which was impressive given their age range. My 3 year old LOVED the polymer exhibit which is for ages 7 and under. He spent lots of time in the ball pit and gear wall. My older children loved the hands on exhibits, and all three kids had a blast in their Mars exhibit. Definitely a must see for families visiting the Cleveland/NE Ohio area!
We have been going to the GLSC for many years. When the kids are little, they really enjoy the Polymer Room that has a slide, moonbounce, ball pit, dress up corner, and more. School-age kids will love the rest of the place with exhibits on space and many on how things work that are very hands-on. There is a very small cafeteria with limited offerings-probably better to bring your own lunch. The gift shop is really cool - although we usually just browse. We have only seen one movie in the IMAX theater because it is an additional cost.