Lake County Captains
The Class-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians offers kid-friendly promotions galore throughout the summer. When they're not setting off fireworks, they're giving away yo-yos, bobbleheads, fielder's gloves, batting helmets, and growth charts. And kids get a chance to run the bases on Family Day (May 30; June 20 and 27; July 4, 18, and 25; and August 8, 22, and 29). Ticket prices are $8 for box seats; bleacher or lawn seat tickets are $5 and sold only on the day of the game, if box seat tickets have sold out. The Lake County Captains play ball at the Eastlake Ballpark, which is located at the corner of Vine Street and Route 91 in Eastlake.
Lots of city and suburban kids have never heard the moo of a real cow, fed a chicken, or touched the soft wool of a sheep. Lake Farmpark houses cows, horses, pigs, turkeys, goats, sheep, llamas, chickens, and other animals that little ones can see up close. Not only that, they can watch a cow being milked, learn how cheese and butter are made, see how sheep are sheared, and get the real scoop on how grain is processed. Flower and vegetable gardens demonstrate how plants grow, and a playground provides a break from all that farm-related action. Lake Farmpark is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $4 for kids ages 2 to 11, and free for kids younger than 2.
8800 Chardon Road, Kirtland; 1-800-366-FARM, lakemetroparks.com
Lorain County Speedway
The NASCAR-sanctioned track may be short, but the noise of the cars speeding by is plenty loud. Every weekend until the end of September, local drivers face off in four divisions: NASCAR Dodge Racing Series Late Models, Modifieds, Grand Nationals, and Spectator Stocks. This family-friendly venue holds special events just for kids, including a chance to take their Big Wheels for a spin around the track. Lorain County Speedway is located off Route 113 in Amherst. Admission is $12; it's always free for kids 12 and younger. Most races begin at 7 p.m.; gates open and qualifying start at 4 p.m.
Memphis Kiddie Park
No need to drive for hours and spend hundreds of dollars when your young'uns crave the thrill of a roller coaster or Ferris wheel. Cleveland's own Memphis Kiddie Park shows kids eight and younger a wild time on 11 pint-sized rides. Admission to the 52-year-old park is free, and each ride requires one ticket that costs a mere buck (although $18 will get you a book of 25 tickets that never expire). Most of the rides simply go round and round, but there is a mini-roller coaster and cars that kids can "drive" themselves. There's also an 18-hole miniature-golf course. Memphis Kiddie Park is open from 10 a.m. until dark every day throughout the summer.
10340 Memphis Avenue, Brooklyn; 216-941-5995, www.memphiskiddiepark.com
Big Machines, June 19-27
Kids loves messes, and few things can tear up the landscape like bulldozers, backhoes, and other construction behemoths. Fortunately, they can safely get their fill of big rigs that dig at this Great Lakes Science Center exhibit. Kids will also learn more about how they work from the engineers who operate them. It sure beats playing on that rockpile down the street. This special exhibit is free with admission to the Great Lakes Science Center, which is located at 601 Erieside Avenue in Cleveland.
Summer Institute of Theater, Art, and Dance, June 21- July 16
This program is designed for 12- to 18-year-olds who prefer the arts to sports. Actors and teachers from the Great Lakes Theater Festival and artists associated with the Cleveland Museum of Art teach classes in acting, music, movement, art, and photography. The program culminates with a performance that showcases what the budding young artists have accomplished. The Summer Institute of Theater, Art, and Dance is held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 21 to July 16 at the Hawken Upper School campus, 12465 County Line Road, Gates Mills. The $995 cost includes supplies, trips to the art museum, and lunch.
440-423-2125, wwwhawken.edu/summer/ summerinstitute.html
Discover Our Great Lake Erie, August 3-5
This summer-camp session at the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center will teach five- and six-year-olds everything they need to know about Ohio's Great Lake. But unlike instruction in the classroom, here the learning is hands-on; they'll hike through Huntington Reservation and play games to learn about the fish, birds, and other creatures that live at the lake.
28728 Wolf Road,Bay Village, 440-871-2900, www.lenscs.org