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Planks on the Dock: A Visit to the Children's Museum of Cleveland

With so many fun things to do in Northeast Ohio, how does a parent fit in all that adventure into one summer? “The end of the dock” will be here before we know it, so we’d better get busy!

When does a 2-year-old get to answer the phone at the doctor's office, do the grocery shopping, then serve dinner in the dining room? Lillian Anderson did all of those things in one afternoon at The Children's Museum of Cleveland.

Recently, Lillian's mommy, Rachel Anderson (a Patch reader from Canal Fulton, Ohio) planned a family fun day to the interactive "museum" with her husband, their two young daughters and some friends.

The Children’s Museum, established in 1981 by a coalition of parents, educators and civic leaders, provides interactive, educational activities and programming. Over the years, it geared its focus to early childhood (its emphasis is birth to 5 years old). 

Located on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland’s University Circle cultural center, it is a place where the very youngest members of the Patch family can explore, touch and learn about the world around them. Its mission is, in part, “to bring children and families together in a new kind of ‘town square’ where play inspires lifelong learning.”

What was Rachel’s favorite aspect of her family’s visit there?

“I really enjoy when my children have fun, so my favorite part of the day was their favorite part!” Rachel said.

“Lillian loved the water table. They had all sorts of toys to experiment with, for a range of ages.” (Rachel's group of friends included children ages 1 to 4.)

The museum provides raincoats for the kids, which Rachel said were in good shape and looked new, and the toys included pipes, connectors, and water wheels, so the children could see what would happen with the water when they put various components together. She recommends that parents and kids wear non-skid shoes, as the floor around the table can get slippery.

“I also enjoyed watching Lillian and her friend Wyatt interact with the ‘everyday’ life activities the way adults do: washing babies, grocery shopping, doctor visits, driving a car with their seatbelts on, etc.,” she said.

She discovered the children’s museum when she googled “children’s activities in Ohio,” and decided to make the trek to Cleveland from Stark County.

Was it worth the trip?

Because of the age of her children, and the fact that it took “every bit of an hour” to get there from her home, Rachel says it’s a place that’s best for locals or parents who want to fit in a visit when they’re already in the area. They stayed about two hours, which was a full enough day for children under 3. She also mentioned that while they had fun, she felt that the museum does not have the space to captivate a family for the whole day, but it was good for a few hours.

Rachel felt that the facility could use an “update” and that it would be “incredible” if it were larger.  

She also warned, with a laugh: “If you are a mom who frets about germs or non-organic cleaners, you may want to skip this place, but it really is a fun place for the kids, if you can get past the germ potential.”

“The place is as good as you let it be,” Rachel said. “Try to remember what it would look like through a child's eyes and be prepared to play with your child in order to get what it's about … it’s not a place where you sit and watch; your kids will have a blast.”

Consider it another plank on the dock!

Next week, “The Growth Chart” will accompany the Whitt children of North Canton on their visit to the Interactive Fountain at Falls River Square for some water fun! We may even take a walk by the river and spot some carp!  

Upcoming events at The Children’s Museum of Cleveland:

Olympic-themed Craft Corner

Sundays at noon and Tuesdays at 3 p.m. starting July 8

Flags, Medals and the Olympic Torch

My Favorite Character: Hulk

Wednesday, July 18 and Saturday, July 21

Meet & Greet with Photo Op at 1 p.m.

My Favorite Character: Jack Sparrow

Wednesday, July 25 and Saturday, July 28

Meet & Greet with Photo Op at 1 p.m.

Teddy Bear Clinic and FREE Car Seat Safety Check

Friday, July 27 and Saturday, July 28 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Children’s Museum Of Cleveland is located at 10730 Euclid
Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106-2200 Phone: 216-791-7114

Jim H. July 19, 2012 at 07:26 PM
As a teacher during the school year, it's sad to hear when school resumes that some kids spent their summer inside. Thank you for showing how important it is to share time with your children. The children can learn as well as improve the social skills they will need in their lives, but more importantly, share valuable bonding experiences which will be with them as as grow.

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