Exploring the Cleveland Botanical Gardens

Ants, Butterflies & Flowers Oh My!

Cleveland Botanical Gardens

While we were in Cleveland exploring the  educational options that the city has to offer. Our first stop was the Aquarium which I told you about last week. Our plan had been to go to the Botanical Gardens on Wednesday however, we experienced one of those Cleveland winter weather events you are always hearing about on the news. So instead of going off on a field trip we stayed in our hotel and spent a day relaxing. 

Thursday however the streets had been cleared and off we went with about 6 inches of snow on the ground. The Botanical Gardens have both an indoor glasshouse and outdoor gardens. With it being winter, the gardens were not accessible so we focused our time indoors. The indoor glasshouse has a desert area and a rainforest area. Both areas offer a variety of small wildlife to observe. The desert has birds, turtles and a hedgehog while the rainforest has ducks, other small birds, butterflies and ants. 

Now I realize, generally speaking, ants may seem a bit, dull. But these ants were amazing. They had their ant farm inside a hollow log, the ants would travel through the log, across a vine, down a tree to gather leaves from a plant, then turn around and make the trek back. There were millions of ants making the same trek. I thought they were gathering the leaves to take to their farm to, well, eat. But after speaking with one of the workers, we learned that they lined the farm with the leaves and then, mushrooms would begin to form where the leaves were and the ants eat the mushrooms. I also learned that these amazing rainforest creatures gather 1/5th of the rainforest each year!

Ok, so that’s all of the ant lesson for today.

Butterflies in the Cleveland Botanical Gardens

The rainforest also has butterflies. They breed the butterflies and release young, just emerged butterflies every day. This was a fun experience for Little Man and myself. Because we were there in the middle of the week and the middle of winter there were very few visitors to the gardens. So we were right there as the worker was releasing the lovely creatures and he literally put them right on our hands. One butterfly stayed on my hand for about 15 minutes and I ended up moving it to a flower. 

Cleveland Botanical Gardens Glasshouse

It was a good day, but I think it would be a better experience had we gone in a warmer month when the outdoor gardens are available. I would like to go back so we can experience those gardens as well. 

If You Go

  • Admission to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens $12 adults and $8 children. 
  • Parking available in an attached garage and your parking fee is $6.
  • They release butterflies daily year round.

Have you been to Cleveland? What are your favorite places to visit while there?

Ohio has a wide variety of educational opportunities in every part of the state. You will find 100’s of ideas in my eBook Ohio Homeschooling Guide & Directory. Get your copy today!

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