Three days doesn’t seem nearly long enough to experience everything Cleveland has to offer, but teachers limited to a long weekend shouldn’t fret. That’s still plenty of time to expose students to some of the city’s famous sights, wonderful history and unique adventures.
Day 1: The Past Lives On
In the streets of Cleveland, whispers of the past blend with refined tastes of the present. An historic, Rust-Belt city, Cleveland has a lot of stories to tell, and many of those tales live on in monuments and museums around town.
Start your students’ first day in Cleveland with a visit to Lake View Cemetery. Founded in 1869, this historic garden burial ground is the final resting place of several famous Cleveland residents, including President James A. Garfield, Henry Sherwin (a founder of the Sherwin-Williams Company) and John D. Rockefeller. Then head over to the Cleveland Museum of Art, which offers free admission to many of its collections. The museum offers interactive displays and high-tech learning opportunities, perfect for any student group. Guided or self-guided tours are available, and activities can be tailored to each school group’s curriculum. Let students refuel with lunch at the museum’s restaurant, Provenance, serving up a sophisticated menu of soups, salads and entrees.
After lunch, students can head next door to explore the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Here, your class will connect with the natural sciences through a range of permanent and visiting exhibits. Teachers can sign up for education programs, which can be selected based on interest or grade level. Students should not Cleveland Botanic Gardens, which features 10 acres of stunning outdoor gardens and the 18,000-square-foot Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse. This urban escape doubles as a natural classroom, where students can learn about thousands of different plant species and the preservation of nature. The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum of the Western Reserve Historical Society, not far from the gardens, pays tribute to Cleveland and the surrounding region’s role in the development of the transportation industry. Getting a glimpse of the automobile at different stages of progress gives students a crash course in engineering, science and technology in the automotive industry.
In the evening, student groups can dine at a Cleveland classic, Nighttown. Opened in 1965, this restaurant and jazz club features live music every night. Students can dine on dishes like Chicken Primavera, Bloom’s Burger and Fish Tacos. End the night with a show at Playhouse Square, the famed theater district that houses nine performance venues.
Day 2: Feel the Beat
Music is a huge part of Cleveland’s past as well as its current cultural scene. Student groups in Cleveland can experience the city’s wonderful melodies and rhythms at various sites around town. Kick off your second day with a free concert preview at the Cleveland Orchestra, one of the top five orchestras in the world. Students will have the opportunity to hear this world-renowned orchestra perform in historic Severance Hall. The orchestra also offers student groups the chance to meet the musicians and learn their instruments.
Keep the beat going during lunch at the Music Box Supper Club, where students can tap their toes to a variety of jams, fill their bellies and take in views of the Cuyahoga River. After lunch, head over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where legends of the music world are honored through interactive exhibits and showcases. Students can take part in the Rockin’ the Schools program, which includes an interactive class, a tour of the Rock Hall exhibits, and educational instruction on the history of rock and roll. Next door at Great Lakes Science Center, technology, engineering, math and science come to life through hundreds of hands-on exhibits. Learn all about the slimy, oozy, smelly elements we experience every day in Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body; or tinker around with glowing rods, pulley systems and LEGOs at the Cleveland Creates Zone. There’s so much here to keep students entertained, they may never want to leave.
Finish off the day with a round or two of bowling at The Corner Alley, an all-new sports bar experience in downtown Cleveland. The venue features 16 colorful lanes with a state-of-the-art scoring system and an American-inspired menu of dishes that students can enjoy while they bowl. For those looking for a twist on a childhood favorite, head to Melt Bar and Grilled, which serves up gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches created by celebrity chef Matt Fish.
Day 3: Never-Ending Fun
Top off the student trip with some of the Cleveland area’s biggest thrills. Students can spend the day
running around Sandusky’s Cedar Point Amusement Park, which features more than 18 roller coasters, other thrill rides and a water park. It’s also home to many annual springtime student music festivals. If your group happens to be a band, dance group or choir, you can schedule a performance at the park to showcase their talents.
Continue the fun with dinner and games at Dave & Busters in Westlake. The restaurant and extra-large arcade provide students with a wide variety of classic and innovative dishes, and more than enough games to keep everyone entertained for hours.
Through its innovative museums, historic structures, vibrant atmosphere and thrilling entertainment, Cleveland becomes a living classroom for students and teachers. And while they may have had only three days in Cleveland, students will come home with stories and experiences they’ll remember for years.