The annual Northeast Ohio Parent Choice Awards seeks to gather the opinions of local parents on everything family-friendly in the region. Our readers and online followers voted for their favorite businesses, attractions, family services and more.
Here are the winner and finalists in the “Best park or place to explore nature” category.
Click here to view winners and finalists in all 26 categories.
Winner: Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Though it’s only a short distance from the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems worlds away. The park is a refuge for native plants and wildlife, and provides endless routes of discovery for visitors. The winding Cuyahoga River gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. Walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.
Located in Kirtland and with more than 20 miles of hiking trails, the Holden Arboretum is a haven for bird watchers as well as hikers, gardeners and nature enthusiasts. Become one with the trees by trekking the Murch Canopy Walk, and take in breathtaking views of the surrounding area — all the way to Lake Erie — atop the Kalberer Emergent Tower.
Lake Erie Nature & Science Center
Providing free admission seven days a week and performing wildlife rehabilitation at no charge to the public, Bay Village’s LENSC offers nature, environmental and science experiences through special programs, its planetarium, nature hikes, a variety of wildlife exhibits, and domestic and wildlife close encounters.
Lake Metroparks Farmpark
Experience a real, interactive farm by touring the dairy parlor and processing room; meeting goats, pigs and sheep in the Well Bred Shed; and seeing different breeds and sizes of horses in the stables. Horse- or tractor-drawn wagons offer visitors a lift to all destinations throughout the park, located in Kirtland.
Nature Center at Shaker Lakes
Founded in 1966 to prevent a highway from destroying treasured green space, the Nature Center today welcomes more than 40,000 annual visitors to its 20 acres. See native species in their natural habitats, participate in family-focused events, hike serene trails and enjoy the ADA-accessible All People’s Trail.