Activities & Resources
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Rainforest453in Cleveland, OH 44109
about Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Rainforest:
Three thousand animals of (almost) every kind occupy 168 rolling, wooded acres. The RainForest houses 600 animals and 10,000 plants from the jungles of Africa, Asia and the Americas.
Just inside the main gate, veering slightly to the right, visitors enter the Savannah, where we think the giraffes really steal the show.
Of course, there's much more to see. Just down the path a bit, make sure to go inside Wolf Wilderness, where, once your eyes adjust, you can spot wolves and, from inside your nice, dry perch, you can also see beaver swim. Don't rush the experience here as this is one of the best-designed exhibits around, allowing visitors to get a good look into these animals' lives and habits, and also an insider's view of their well-constructed homes.
One of our favorite seasonal exhibits is Butterfly Magic, inside the greenhouse, where a special, large hatching case allows visitors to watch the amazing transformation from chrysalis (cocoon) to butterfly.
Also plan to allow ample time at the RainForest, as its collection of animals include some of the most unusual and interesting (anteaters, fruit bats, and the flashlight fish, just to name a few).
As educational as it is, this zoo is fun, too - as visitors quickly "learn" in Australian Adventure (open from early spring through the end of October). Kids love the (plastic) Yagga tree they can climb up, then after meeting the animatronic croc at the top (don't ask why the croc's up the tree, just enjoy) and slide out. Young visitors can also feed nectar to the parrots at Lorikeet Aviary, and ride the Boomerang Train ($1.50) in Australian Adventure.
Several options for feeding time at the zoo (for human visitors) are available, including "Crocodile Cafe" and the "Roaring Lion," or, for the less-adventurous, a Pizza Hut concession; and yes, you can pack your own picnic and enjoy it on one of the ground's picnic tables (just don't feed the animals!).
Hint: It's a big zoo, so if you (or the kids) aren't up to walking the nearly three miles you'll cover to see all the exhibits, take the shuttle. It's free with zoo admission, and operates every day, weather permitting; it's also heated in the winter.
Two birthday party packages are available: One option includes la reserved party area for 90 minutes, lunch of pizza or hot dogs, customized cake, ice cream, punch or lemonade for all guests, plus all-day zoo and RainForest admission, a birthday surprise and a ride on the Boomerang Train (weather permitting) for each child; plus a T-shirt and ZooKey for the Guest of Honor. This package costs Cleveland Zoo members $145 for up to 10 guests (children and adults); additional guests cost $14 each ($5 additional for children under 2). Non-members pay $185; additional guests cost $18 each.
A cake-only party option includes the party space and other amenities as above, minus lunch, for members, $125 for up to 10 guests (additional Guests, $12 each; children under 2, $4 per guest) and non-members, $165 for up to 10 guests (additional guests: $16 each; children under 2, $4)
Parties are held Tues-Sundays in The RainForest year round, and in various outdoor locations based on season. Parties are scheduled at 11am, 1pm, or 3pm and maximum group size is 25 (adults and children). Call group sales (216.635.3306) to book a party, at least 3 weeks in advance - also ask group sales about booking the zoo for other events (it's a popular spot for after-work social events and fund-raisers).
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo offers summer day camp options for children ages five through 12. Registration for weekly sessions generally begins early in March.
Cuyahoga County residents get free zoo admission on Mondays (if Monday is a holiday, discount applies on Tuesday). January's "Polar Bear Days" mean half-price admission applies when the high temperature is expected to be 32 degrees or below.