Travel Treasures: Cleveland Botanical Garden

by Tom Reed
Reed's Read Complete Index
Story filed May 28, 2009

It had been years since I last visited the Cleveland Botanical Garden, so when I saw it was offering free admission during the Memorial Day weekend I joined the crowd that turned out for the occasion. What could I lose?

Actually, the regular admission – about the price of a movie – is a bargain for one of the gems of Cleveland’s cultural attractions in the University Circle area. And early summer is a delightful time to go.

The two main features of the Botanical Garden are the imposing Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse, which opened a few years ago, and the outdoor gardens. The glasshouse puts you into two totally different climates: the spiny desert of Madagascar, and the rainforest of Costa Rica. You’ll marvel at some of the unusual plants in the Madagascar section, and at the lush greenery, the butterflies, and the birds in the rainforest.

Outdoors, stroll through the well-tended gardens – a rose garden, an herb garden, a Japanese garden, a children’s garden, and more. Visit the website at

The Botanical Garden is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. During summer months, it is also open until 9 p.m. on Wednesday evenings.

Admission is $7.50 for adults, $3 for children (3-12), free for kids under 3.

The Botanical Garden and the other institutions of University Circle – the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Western Reserve Historical Society – are widely touted as some of the city’s top attractions to visiting tourists. All are great places to take the family this summer, and you don’t have to go very far or spend a lot of money.

Reed's Read: Complete Index

RETURN TO Cleveland, The New American City

Copyright 2009 Tom Reed