My parents and I were looking for a quick over night trip that would be driving distance from Detroit, and fun for my 2 year old son. We decided to do a night in Cleveland and on the way there, stop by Port Clinton to do the drive through African Safari Wildlife Park.
Cleveland in the Spring, Summer and Fall, is a very walkable city. They have great restaurants and fun spots for kids, including the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center, and Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Here’s a review of our trip from Detroit to Cleveland in a day…
If you haven’t been to the African Safari drive through, you’re missing out. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Detroit, and totally do-able in a day (or an afternoon!). You pay person in the car, and for a cup full of food, and drive through the zoo. The animals are so use to this routine, they come right up to your window for food, and it’s about the funniest thing you will ever experience.
I would post a video but most of them have me gasping for breath since I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. The drive through safari contained llamas, different types of deer, elk, buffalo, camels, zebras and more. Usually there is a giraffe but he was put indoor for the season.
There’s a walk through zoo as well, with small animals, and a cute playground so your little one can stretch out. The gift shop has a stuffed animal in every size and species.
After the safari we headed to Cleveland, which was only a 1.5 hours away. We went directly to our hotel to check in before dinner. We stayed at the Westin Cleveland Hotel and they took great care of us there. They were able to accommodate our 2 adjoining rooms request, which makes a fun space for Max to run and explore between the two rooms.
The hotel was walking distance to East 4th Street, which is a fun part of Cleveland, lined with cobblestone roads and bars and restaurants. We ended up eating dinner at the Butcher & the Brewer and it was delicious. They had a huge beer selection, and they keep the wine on tap so it doesn’t go bad – makes total sense! It was mostly shareable small plates. I recommend the bacon wrapped dates and fried chicken. It’s a little bit of a louder spot, which didn’t bother us since we had a 2 year old with us.
|“This way momma…sharks!”|
In the AM we had the most amazing breakfast at the Urban Farmer, located in the Westin (highly recommend the French Toast!), then walked it off on the way to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. The aquarium was a little over a mile from our hotel. It was 60 degrees and sunny that morning, so it was great strolling weather. If it would have been really cold or super hot, it would have seemed like a much longer walk.
The aquarium was small, but really nice. It has a really cool ambiance. It’s on a lower level of the building and it feels like you are walking underground as you walk through. The highlights for us was the stingray tank where we got to pet them (Max was too afraid, so Papa and I showed him there was nothing to be scared of) and the shark tank. Similar to Toronto, they have a tank with a walkway through it, so as you walk through the sharks are swimming overhead and around you. Great picture opportunities!
This post is a little delayed, but figured I get it out there to help plan Spring weekend trips! It’s going to get warm soon in the Midwest, right? (As I look out my window and see snow falling…).
Have you been to Cleveland lately? If so, any spots you’d recommend?