Spring break ideas 2021: Cleveland-area suggestions for a much-needed day(s) off

CLEVELAND, Ohio —You don’t have to be a student – or even a parent – to warrant a spring break this year.

Every single one of us is entitled to a respite from the daily grind after the year we’ve had. Consider this your permission slip to take a hike, visit the zoo, tour a museum, jump in a pool.

While many colleges have canceled spring break this year, most primary and secondary schools are still giving students a week off. Even so, the U.S. Travel Association reports that just 12% of Americans are planning a spring break trip in 2021.

A relaxing spring break, of course, doesn’t require travel. You just need to break out of your routine – do something different, get outside, explore someplace new.

Need some ideas? We’ve got plenty.

(But remember: Many destinations still have restricted hours, require reservations or are limiting capacity – so check before you go.)

Our guide to spring break 2021:

Spring break 2021

Adventure Cove at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Spring break 2021

Robert Keener and his daughter Bridget get a glimpse of Clawdia, a rare blue American lobster, making her debut, February 13, 2021, at the Akron Zoo. Clawdia was discovered by employees at a Red Lobster restaurant in Cuyahoga Falls who contacted Monterey Bay Aquarium in California who then connected with the Akron Zoo to find a new home for Clawdia. John Kuntz, cleveland.com

Spring break 2021

Forrest, a black rhino in the new Daniel Maltz Rhino Reserve at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. John Kuntz, cleveland.com

Animal encounters

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, recently reopened its popular RainForest, the steamy, indoor space that’s home to more than 600 animals and 10,000 plants. Or stay outside and tour the zoo’s 183 acres, open daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets are $16.95 ages 12-61, $12.95 ages 2-11, and free on Mondays for residents of Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township. Face masks are required, reservations are not. Information: clevelandmetroparkszoo.org

The Akron Zoo, 500 Edgewood Ave., recently welcomed new resident Clawdia, a rare blue American lobster, rescued from the Cuyahoga Falls Red Lobster restaurant. And debuting later this spring: Wild Asia, a new area featuring white-cheeked gibbons, Sumatran tigers and red pandas. The zoo is open daily 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $8 and must be purchased in advance. Information: akronzoo.org

Or take a day trip south to the Columbus Zoo, 4850 W. Powell Road, which last summer debuted its new Adventure Cove area, with a centerpiece 60-foot-long underwater tunnel for up-close views of the park’s dozen sea lions. Also part of Adventure Cove: harbor seals, Stingray Bay and Jack Hanna’s Animal Encounters Village. The zoo is open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Timed tickets are required before 2 p.m. Admission is $16.99 for ages 10-59, $11.99 ages 2-9 and 60 and up. Information: columbuszoo.org

For animals in a totally different environment, check out Lake Metroparks Farmpark, 8800 Euclid Chardon Road, a working farm on 235 acres in Kirtland, which reopened earlier this month. Among the animals you’ll see here: dairy cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, rabbits, horses, alpacas and goats, including numerous babies. The park is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Admission is $8 ages 12-59; $6 ages 2-11; and $7 ages 60 and up. Information: lakemetroparks.com/parks-trails/farmpark

Museum fun

The Children’s Museum of Cleveland remains closed due to the pandemic, but numerous other family-friendly museums are open, with safety protocols in place.

Among the options:

* The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Drive, with exhibits on dinosaurs, human origins, gems and jewels, plus the outdoor Perkins Wildlife Center, is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Advanced-purchase tickets are required; admission is $17 for ages 19 and up; and $14 for ages 3-18, college students, and 60 plus. Information: cmnh.org

* Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Ave., is a curious kid’s dream come true, with racing Legos, make-your-own rockets, the Bridge of Fire and more. Also here: the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, the Cleveland Clinic Dome Theater, plus Body Worlds Rx through April 3. Through March 28, hours are 4-8 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Starting March 29, the museum will be open daily. Admission is $16.95 for adults, $13.95 ages 2-21. For information: greatscience.com

* Cleveland Aquarium, 2000 Sycamore St., is an underwater wonderland, with 55 exhibits offering up-close views of hundreds of aquatic species, from Lake Erie perch to Sandtiger sharks. The aquarium is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $19.95 for ages 13 and up; $13.95 ages 2-12. Reservations are required. Information: greaterclevelandaquarium.com

Spring break 2021

Lucy, with a skeleton replica behind her, is on exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Lucy, with her combination of long arms, short legs, and relatively human like pelvis but with small brain, proved that upright walking preceded an increase in brain size in human evolution. (Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)

Spring break 2021

Walking under the sharks at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.

Spring break 2021

Ziplining near the Vermilion River on Common Ground Canopy Tours in Oberlin.

Outdoor adventures

Prefer to keep the fun outside? It’s March in Ohio, so outdoor swimming probably isn’t an option. But there are plenty of possibilities:

* Brush off those bikes and take them for a spin. The 101-mile Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail, which travels from Cleveland to Tuscarawas County, is one terrific option, but there are numerous others. For ideas: cleveland.com/entertainment/2021/03/21-bike-trails-to-explore-in-northeast-ohio.html. Don’t have a bike? Grab a rental at Century Cycles in Peninsula or Medina, the Broadway Cyclery in Bedford, Fridrich Bicycle or Ohio City Bicycle Co-op in Cleveland.

* You could spend weeks and not explore all of Northeast Ohio’s terrific hiking paths. Consider starting with a stroll along a stretch of Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s 125 miles of trails, including Brandywine Gorge, Ledges or Pine Grove (see nps.gov/cuva). Cleveland Metroparks is offering a series of guided spring transition hikes this month (see clevelandmetroparks.com/parks/calendar); and Summit Metro Parks, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2021, recently kicked off its Centennial Tour, a do-it-yourself guide to visiting the system’s 20 terrific parks (see summitmetroparks.org).

* Zipline courses in Ohio are starting to reopen for the season. Common Ground Zipline Canopy Tour near Oberlin has a targeted March 26 opening date, ZipZone Outdoor Adventures in Columbus opens March 27, and Hocking Hills Canopy Tours near Logan opens March 20.

Indoor recreation

If the weather’s lousy and you’re desperate for physical fun, consider an afternoon at a trampoline park. Sky Zone has locations in Westlake, Highland Heights and Boston Heights; Get Air is in Middleburg Heights and Akron; and Altitude in Elyria is in Lorain County.

Or give rock climbing a try, at Shaker Rocks in Shaker Heights, Nosotros in downtown Cleveland and Lakewood, Kendall Cliffs in Peninsula, all offering day passes and equipment rentals.

Go-kart racing and other outdoor activities at Swings-N-Things in Olmsted Falls and Fun ‘n’ Stuff in Macedonia should be starting up again soon, as early as later this month.

Spring break 2021

Climber scales up a wall inside Shaker Rocks. (Marvin Fong / The Plain Dealer)

Spring break 2021

World War II bomber Memphis Belle at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton. (Marvin Fong / The Plain Dealer)

Overnight options

Maybe you need a complete change of scenery? It’s not too late to plan a last-minute overnight.

Some suggestions:

* Book a cabin or lodge room at one of Ohio’s 75 state parks, located in every region of the state. Closest to Cleveland: Punderson, Geneva and Mohican state parks, all with cabin rentals and terrific lodges with indoor pools, restaurants and other activities. See: pundersonmanor.com, thelodgeatgeneva.com, mohicanlodge.com

* Speaking of pools – Cedar Point announced this month that it wouldn’t open Castaway Bay, its indoor waterpark resort, in 2021 because of ongoing renovations. But there are other waterpark options in Sandusky, including Great Wolf Lodge and Kalahari Resorts. Great Wolf is hosting its annual Spring Breakout celebration through May 2, with spring-themed crafts, activities and décor, plus a resort-wide scavenger hunt to support One Tree Planted’s reforestation efforts. See greatwolf.com/sandusky, kalahariresorts.com/ohio

* Have a flight fanatic in the family? Make the three-hour drive to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, a massive facility filled with artifacts that tell the story of flight in the context of U.S. history. You could spend days here and not see everything. Information: www.nationalmuseum.af.mil

Spring break 2021

The lodge at Mohican State Park in Ashland County.