The Children’s Museum of Cleveland closed almost two years ago after providing many childhood memories for 35 years. The original Children’s Museum, in the old Howard Johnson’s restaurant in University Circle, was where I took my now-grown kids to wear them out so I could rest. We spent happy hours at the water table, sorting plastic food at the market and using the digger in the sand. I learned a lot about Cleveland’s bridges there, too.
The happy news is, now that I’m a Bubbe, I can take my grandkids to the unbelievably awesome new Children’s Museum of Cleveland. The grand opening is set for November 6th and I can not wait.
Located in one of the last standing homes of Millionaires’ Row, the Stager-Beckwith mansion at 3813 Euclid Avenue, the new space is 40,000 square-feet of fun, four times the size of the original space in University Circle. Millions of dollars in donations were needed to restore the mansion which had been purchased in 2014 for $50,000 from the Cuyahoga County Land Bank by museum benefactors, Dick and Doreen Cahoon. Cleveland made those all-important donations at a critical time for both The Children’s Museum and the historic property. The support proved that Cleveland considers the educational experiences of its youngest citizens to be essential to the well-being of the community. The museum has secured $9.5 million of its $10.3 million capital goal, according to a recent news release.
The four-story mansion houses four permanent exhibits designed by Director of Exhibits Karen Katz in collaboration with architect John Swidrak of Aodk Inc., architect Sharon Sanders of SKS Designs, and Tracy van der Kuil from Richardson Design. The quality of these exhibits is exceptional and each fully utilizes the terrific space, the high ceilings and historic decor, of their new home. More exhibits will be built as funding is available, but families can now enjoy: Adventure City, inspiring tomorrow’s designers, problem-solvers and collaborators to explore a market, a two-story climbing structure and a construction site in the Museum’s largest exhibit space; Wonder Lab, an industrial science laboratory, filled with moving water, bubbles, and a giant magnetic wall to build tracks to send balls traveling along; Making Miniatures, containing the Lincoln Collection, a fabulous collection of miniature homes, including a tiny Stager-Beckwith mansion; and Arts & Parts, a sun-filled art studio where children design, construct, and experiment with materials to create unique objects for home or to add to a communal art project.
It’s safe to say that the Museum will easily exceed the 100,000 annual visitors they hosted in the former space. Fortunately, the maximum capacity is 700 big and small people and they have three times the parking space than they once did. The Children’s Museum of Cleveland is conveniently located just off the I-90 Inner Belt, east of downtown Cleveland in the trendy Midtown neighborhood. Tickets for adults and children will be $12, free for the 11 month and younger set. Annual memberships are available for $80 for up to 3 household members or $120 for families of 4-6 household members. Any additional family members or a caregiver is $20 extra to be added to the membership. I’ll be asking about plans for a special Bubbe membership level.
Visit their website at CMCleveland.org to plan your visit. Online memberships and birthday party rentals will be available mid-October. School group and adult tours will begin in 2018. I’m sure I’ll see you there.
The Children’s Museum of Cleveland
3813 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland
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