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Free Family Summer Activities

5/12/2017 (Permalink)

Because if Anyone Needs a Time Out, it’s Your Wallet

Listen, we’ve been there. Family vacations can be an exercise in personal sanity for many parents. There’s the mini-van that took hours to pack, the endless Elmo videos playing on the DVD player, the fear of the impending temper tantrum and the desire to just have a vacation everyone will love.

But the need to spend an arm and a leg shouldn’t be on that list.

Thankfully, a visit to Cleveland ensures that you’ll get a fun (for kids AND parents) vacation that won’t require you to refinance your home. The city offers a series of free – yes we said “FREE” – family-friendly summertime events, attractions and activities that strike the perfect balance of cool and no-cost experiences.

Browns Training Camp
So, who is this Johnny Manziel anyway? And, why is my kid so obsessed with seeing him play? Head on over to the Cleveland Browns Training Facility in Berea, Ohio to watch Cleveland’s NFL team prep for the season. Watch the team gear up for the season on the outdoor training field at no cost.

Observatory Park
The Observatory Park, located in Geauga County, just 45 miles southeast of Cleveland, is a certified Dark Sky Park (it’s only one of nine in the entire world). This 1,100-acre park inhibits light pollution to create an unbelievably starry sky. This means that kids and adults can learn about how galaxies and the natural world connect in a completely one-of-a-kind outdoor setting. Observatory Park has a variety of fascinating educational programming, an on-site planetarium, outdoor exhibits and telescopes.

University Circle

Parade the Circle
Don’t be alarmed when elaborate puppets standing two-stories high cross paths with a steel drum band being mobilized by only human feet. You’re at Parade the Circle, an uncanny mix of art and music coming alive right before your eyes. This completely family-friendly parade is void of anything you’d expect with a typical parade, but filled with a fantastic array of whimsy and one-of-a-kind art.

Rockefeller Greenhouse
An afternoon walk through the Rockefeller Greenhouse offers the right escape from the rigamarole of the typical vacation sights and sounds. The greenhouse features a wide variety of exotic gardens, flowers and other plants indigenous to Cleveland.


Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland – Learning Center & Money Museum
Ever wondered how we bought things before money existed? And, who makes our money anyway? All these answer and more answered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Learning Center and Money Museum. Kids can get a look at the Money Tree where they can track counterfeit money and follow the history of money through the ages.

Cleveland Police Museum
Got a kid who loves to play cops and robbers? Delve into the history of Cleveland law enforcement at the Cleveland Police Museum—free of charge. See confiscated firearms, uniforms, artifacts and more from Cleveland’s past including things from the legendary crime fighter, Eliot Ness.

International Women’s Air and Space Museum
The International Women’s Air and Space Museum at Burke Lakefront Airport documents women’s past and present accomplishments and contributions to the fields of aviation and space. A collection of memorabilia and historical artifacts preserve the memory of women aviation pioneers.

Exploring History – Outdoors

Take a Hike Tours
Ever wanted to meet John D. Rockefeller? Well, here’s your chance. Take a Hike Tours are unique walking tours of downtown Cleveland that come “alive” with costumed characters from Cleveland’s past. Enjoy the beautiful Cleveland summer, walk off some of those vacation calories and get schooled on the history of this destination.

Stearns Homestead
Turn off the electronics and start learning about life before YouTube. Get up-close with farm animals and learn about agricultural life from the early 1900s. Stearns Homestead is a working farm complete with animals, museums, gardens and a display of historical farm and household items.

Lake View Cemetery
Taking your family to a cemetery may not initially seem like a great idea. But Lake View Cemetery is different. This incredible place is filled with sculpture, architecture and tributes to those who made great contributions to the area’s industrial and civic development. Lake View Cemetery counts J.D. Rockefeller and African American inventor Garrett Morgan among its famous residents. And here’s a tip: on a clear day stand atop the memorial for President James A. Garfield for a fantastic view of the city. While there, be sure to take a tour of Wade Oval Chapel and the Garfield Monument (where you can take the stairwell down to the basement to see Garfield’s tomb).

Amish Country?
Perhaps what our children need is an understanding of life without technology. Enter: Amish Country. Geauga County, located just a 40-minute drive from downtown Cleveland, offers families the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in this unique culture. Think: horse-drawn buggies, homemade pies, handmade goods and exceptional craftsmanship.


Lakewood Front Porch Series?
Do the kids need to burn off some of that post-dinner energy? Head on over to the urban neighborhood of Lakewood to enjoy music on the front steps of the Lakewood Public Library. Entertainers range from jazz and indie music to early 60s Americana and folk music.

Blossom Music Festival
Each summer, the internationally renowned Cleveland Orchestra takes its talents south – to the Akron area that is. The orchestra performs outdoor summer concerts at Blossom Music Center, situated in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. While there’s a small admission fee for adults, kids under 18 years old are admitted free for lawn access. Pack the picnic basket, grab a blanket and enjoy a really cool repertoire of family-friendly music (The Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid, Sci-Fi, The Beatles).

Wade Oval Wednesdays
Every Wednesday this summer, enjoy live music in the heart of University Circle. Reggae, jazz, rock – Wade Oval Wednesdays (WOW) has it all. Bring a picnic basket or relax in the beer and wine garden with a great view of the stage. Great for little ones who need to let loose.

Convene With Nature

Many new visitors to Cleveland are often amazed by the impressive amount of natural greenspace the region has to offer. Take advantage! The Cleveland area has a number of nature centers that are FREE and perfect for kids. Why not learn a thing or two on summer vacation?

Cleveland Area Beaches?

While surfing in Ohio might sound crazy, the truth is that Cleveland offers a variety of accessible (and FREE) beaches along its Lake Erie coast with swimming, sailing, surfing and some of the best walleye, perch and bass fishing in the world. Check out some of these notable beaches:


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Rivers Still Rising in North Carolina

10/14/2016 (Permalink)

Rivers Still Rising in North Carolina

Rivers are still rising in North Carolina where river flooding has inundated much of the state. 


Story Highlights

Matthew's heavy ended over the weekend, but flooding will last for days in North Carolina.

Records have been broken and some locations will not crest until late this week.

Record-breaking flooding has occurred in North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew dumped extreme amounts of rain on eastern parts of the state. 


Though the rain ended on Sunday, and it should remain dry for many days ahead, rivers are still rising in some locations or will at least remain high for many days.


In some cases, the flooding rivals that of Hurricane Floyd's in 1999.

This flooding is the result of 6 to 18 inches of rain that fell in eastern North Carolina from Matthew. The top total was 18.38 inches near Elizabethtown, followed by 15.65 inches at William O Huske Lock 3 and 14.82 inches in Fayetteville.


At least five river gauge locations have seen record flooding in North Carolina, including:

  • Lumber River @ Lumberton West 5th Street: Crushed previous record crest by roughly three-and-a-half feet, as of Monday.
  • Lumber River @ Lumberton: Exceeded record crest by nearly four feet on Sunday. This topped the previous record from the remnants of Hurricane Frances in 2004. The river is forecast to remain in record-flood stage into the weekend.
  • Lower Little River @ Manchester: Topped old record set Sept. 19, 1945, by more than two-and-a-half feet. Dropped below flood stage early Thursday.
  • Neuse River @ Smithfield: Exceeded record crest by over a foot-and-a-half on Monday. Dropped below flood stage Thursday.
  • Neuse River @ Goldsboro: Crested Wednesday at over 29.5 feet, topping the previous record set after Hurricane Floyd (28.9 feet).

One location in South Carolina has set a new record crest:

  • Little Pee Dee River @ Galivants Ferry: Crested Wednesday just above 17 feet. The old record was 16 feet.

Another record was set in North Carolina Thursday and the river continues to rise:

  • Neuse River @ Kinston: The record of 27.71 feet, set during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, was broken late Thursday. The river is forecast to crest near 29 feet on Friday. The National Weather Service says "disastrous flooding" occurs at 27 feet.

Also notable is that the Tar River in Greenville, North Carolina, could reach its second highest crest on record.

The forecast calls for the river to reach about 25 feet Friday into Saturday.

According to the National Weather Service, here are some possible impacts when water reaches the following levels on the Tar River in Greenville.

  • 24 feet: Devastating flooding for all areas adjacent to the river and tributaries. Water will begin to flood the Pitt-Greenville Airport. Water will overflow into the city of Greenville. Nearly all major roads countywide will become flooded and impassable.
  • 22 feet: Water will overflow into the city of Greenville. Several secondary roads will also flood. Some homes along the river will flood. Evacuations will be needed. Water will begin to flood the Tar River Estates and Beech Street villas next to the river. On the north side of the river, water will flood up to the intersection of Mumford Road and Highway 33. Numerous tributaries will flood roads and homes countywide.
  • 20 feet: Water will flood several homes near the river. Water will begin to flood town commons and adjacent areas in Greenville. Many acres of farmland flooded.

The flooding caused by Matthew will still be a major concern for many days ahead. Please take action if you are in an area that is being affected and follow what local authorities instruct you to do.



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