6th Jul, 2010

Bay’s surprising Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

An acquaintance used to talk all the time about how she would take her grandkids to the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center in Bay Village. I can recall thinking, “So what?” and wondering why she took them over and over. It just sounded—I don’t know, kind of lowbrow or something.

But my first time there, probably 6 or 7 years ago, was a real eye-opener for me. I forget what even prompted me to try it out. I’m so glad I did—it’s now one of my favorite places in the Cleveland area, and both of my boys just love it.

And what’s not to love? It’s hardly ever crowded, it’s free (though donations are accepted and encouraged), there are animals inside and out, and it’s very educational. The animals are surprisingly varied. Inside, you’ll find an assortment of turtles (both land and water), tortoises, snakes, bees, coral reef fish, Lake Erie fish, iguanas, and more. Outside, there is another interesting menagerie: Ducks, foxes, a bald eagle, raccoons, several types of owls, a cooper’s hawk, rabbits, turkeys, white tailed deer, skunks, mink, and I’m sure I’m missing a few. Oh yes, and turkey vultures, Josh’s favorites. (He loves their red heads and seems fascinated by the random bones they always leave scattered at the bottom of their cage after a meal.)

One of the main thrusts of the center is rehabilitating wildlife. In fact, if you find an injured animal that you can safely transport to the center during normal business hours, they will take the animal and try to nurse it back to health. Many of the animals at the center—particularly the outside ones—are animals on the way to rehabilitation or animals that they have helped, but for some reason cannot safely re-release into the wild.

The center also has a very nice planetarium (albeit with limited hours, so please check the schedule at the center website) and a lovely Wild Birds Unlimited gift shop that has an educational bent. There is a nice play area near some of the (inside) aquatic exhibits, with plenty of space for parents or grandparents to sit and just take a load off. Kids can play with books, a Little Tykes-type playhouse, plastic dinosaurs and myriad other toys.

As an added benefit, the center lies at the southern end of the Cleveland Metroparks Huntington Reservation. So, about  two-minute drive north of the center puts you at Huntington Beach, one of the best Lake Erie beaches in the area. Which makes me think, that would make a great blog post one of these days …


What a great blog, Paul! Now you’ve got me all excited to start taking my boys out of the dungeon every once in a while! Let me know next time you plan to go to the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center…sounds like a great day!

Paul Heney is being a kid — still! — and BRAVO for him for giving us all the courage to do the same. All youngsters, of all agees, around this site and these places will gain in his example to never let go of what it is like to be fascinated with the world. A gift this is to everyone in your region, and worth showing others no matter how far away they may be.

John J. Heney
Ottawa, Canada

Thanks for the shout out, Paul. We’re really proud of what we do on a donations-driven budget and I think you’ve really captured the essence of the place. Say hi next time you’re in. -Shawn Salamone, Community Relations Manager

Leave a response

Your response: