Midwest Adventure 2018, Part 5: Cleveland, Ohio

This is my fifth post about our adventure traveling through Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana. You can find the first post from this trip here and links to all the other educational US travel our family has done here.

Because I blog about educational travel, I received free admission tickets, discounts, media rates, and other benefits for some of the hotels and attractions we visited throughout the trip. Many attractions we toured are free to everyone. I paid full price for the rest. This has no bearing on my reviews. Everything I'm sharing is something that I whole-heartedly recommend. If you notice any gaps in my narrative, it is because I didn't love a particular hotel, attraction, or restaurant enough to recommend it to you, regardless of how much I paid or didn't pay.


Cleveland, Ohio

After leaving Toledo and the downpour-out-of-nowhere, we arrived in Cleveland with blue skies, checked into our hotel (the outstanding Lakeside DoubleTree), and then two minutes later the heavens opened up. It was insane. We had dinner reservations at Michael Symon's restaurant, Lola. just under a mile from our hotel. We had tossed around the idea of walking, but abandoned that thought quickly! We called for the free hotel shuttle and were downtown in a jiffy.

It was puddly, but not actively raining when we got to Lola. We were a little early for our reservation, so we walked through the Cleveland Arcade. Nicknamed Cleveland's Crystal Palace, it was the first indoor shopping center in the US when it opened in 1890.

We headed back to Lola and enjoyed an outstanding meal. It was pricy, but so delicious and the service was impeccable. Steve had eaten there on a business trip a few years ago and wanted Trevor and me to experience it too. I'm very glad we did.

We woke up early the next morning to gorgeous blue skies. We walked two blocks from the DoubleTree to see the Free Stamp, because obviously there was no way I wouldn't be seeing the world's largest rubber stamp. The story behind it is fascinating.

A block away, we spotted bunnies finding breakfast... 

... and a cool piece of artwork at the North Point Tower.... 

... before arriving at the Great Lakes Science Center, on the shore of Lake Erie.

Our family loves science museums, and the Great Lakes Science Center is outstanding. It is home to the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, which is where we started. 


But there's so much more than space at the Science Center. Like bubbles...

... pulleys...

... and an addictive race wherein one person has a closer starting line but a screw with more ridges than the other person.

The BioMedTech area is really cool. I spent ten minutes trying to work the various muscles on this artificial arm to make the mannequin ring the chimes and was never successful. Steve got it on his first try. That is why he is the engineer and I am the blogger. 

The temporary exhibit is called Tapescape: Sticky Science. We saw the world's largest roll of duct tape....

... Post-it note art...

... Duct Tape fashion....


... and the most awesome play structure ever. 

So what if I was the only adult playing on it? Everyone else missed out!

There was so much to see and do at the Great Lakes Science Center and we loved it all. But that was only the start of our Cleveland adventure. Next up was a Cleveland tour on Lolly the Trolley!

Lolly the Trolley offers two different tours: 1 hour and 2.5 hours. We opted to take the 1 hour overview and it was a great choice. All three of us thoroughly enjoyed the tour. 

Our guide was excellent and we learned so much about Cleveland's history and geography. It's such an interesting city. I'd absolutely recommend Lolly the Trolley if you're ever in Cleveland.  

What would a trip to Cleveland be without visiting the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? It is a must-visit. Heck, I'd even say it's a must-plan-a-trip-specifically-to-go-there!

Not only is it packed with seven floors of fascinating exhibits, but the building itself is worth a visit. It's stunning.

There is so much on display, it is overwhelming. Costumes, records, instruments, posters, promotional material, books, ticket stubs, sound equipment, letters, photographs, props, pin ball machines, video... if it has anything to do with rock music, it's there.

Want to see a picture of Jon Bon Jovi (back when he was John Bongiovi) as a Cub Scout? Of course you do! 

These outfits were worn by the Supremes and the Jackson 5. It should be easy to tell which is which, but funny to imagine them accidentally switching wardrobes.


This year's inductees include Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues, Nina Simone, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, so the Rock Hall has special exhibits dedicated just to them. 

This is the actual Hall of Fame. You can see the six artists inducted in 2018 below. The larger plaques are for groups, with the name of each band member displayed with their signature. The smaller plaques are for solo artists. 

We went through the entire Hall of Fame looking for all our favorite bands. We discovered a fun surprise. It's doubly fun because my maiden name is in the photo too. I wish I'd thought to point to them both!

Another thing I loved about the Rock Hall? You could use your ticket to vote for a band you'd like to see in the Hall of Fame.

Curious about the induction process? Read about it here. (Go Def Leppard!)

Steve and I absolutely loved our time at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Trevor liked it, but not as much as we did. He didn't recognize many of the artists and doesn't have the same emotional connection to the music of bygone eras that we do. Even so, he found plenty to keep himself entertained. And there's no question we all learned a lot! 

All too soon, our time in Cleveland was up. I'll tell you about our adventures in Akron on Monday. 


  1. MAN!!! I soooooooooo wish I would have known you were going to the Rock and Roll HOF!!!! I would HAVE BEGGED you to take a pic of the Aerosmith section!! Joe Perry IS my husband (it's okay, Brian knows and is okay with it! LOL!!) I loveeeeeeee all the photos!!

    1. I'll look through the photos we and see if I spot any Aerosmith. You should go to the Rock Hall. It was awesome, even without being married to Joe Perry. ;)


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