Where we went, and who was coerced into going:
Over Memorial Day, we drove to Cleveland, and remarkably, only had to separate the kids once during the drive. The invisible line I painted down the middle of the back seat lasted nearly 8 hours before it was infiltrated. I consider that time frame a good ROI on the invisible paint.
We were pleasantly surprised by all there is to do in Cleveland. We visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, of course, and the delightfully quirky world’s largest rubber stamp. Another stop on our itinerary was the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, a new attraction and home to the World’s Longest Underwater “Sea Tube.”
Okay, what was so cool about it?
The Sea Tube is the main attraction in this aquarium, which itself is relatively small (the world’s largest aquarium is in Atlanta, GA). There is only one floor of exhibits, and it took us less than two hours to make our way through the themed galleries, including: Ohio Lakes & Rivers; Exotic Freshwater; Florida Keys; Tropical Reef, and Weird & Wonderful.
For young children, the manageable size is a definite advantage. Many of the tanks were positioned low to the ground, as well, so little ones get a great view. I can imagine they go through a lot of window cleaner with all those wee noses pressed up against the glass!
Walking through the clear, 145-foot long tunnel was almost an Alice in Wonderland experience. It felt like we had been shrunk and were walking under a household fish tank. A nice, well-kept tank with plenty of exotic species. Not the murky tank which sits in our living room, inhabited by our two white County Fair goldfish: “Goldie,” and his blind life partner, “Fishie.”
The tube travels the length of the Shark Tank, home to 15 species of sharks in a shipwreck set. While we were there, workers in dive gear were cleaning the inside of the tube, which greatly entertained The Girl. Bonus: they waved to her, making her giggle.
Another highlight of our visit was the giant Coastal Touch Tank. You know I’m a bit germaphobic. My worst nightmares are usually set in a petting zoo. But this exhibit was spotless. It didn’t even smell, like some of these tanks can. A stepstool was conveniently provided for small kids, and The Girl didn’t hesitate. She passed on the offer to touch a sting ray, choosing instead a few different shelled creatures: a helmet crab, slipper lobster, and starfish.
The aquarium’s location, set within the historic Powerhouse building, provides a lot of architectural interest. It’s located in the West Bank of the Flats, a grittier neighborhood, off the beaten path. Because of the building’s historic status, the 70,000-square-foot aquarium couldn’t make many structural changes. They worked well with the brick walls and thick wooden beams. You’ll find small aquariums set within brick arches, and even at the bottom of the old steaming chimney.
How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list):
Entertaining, especially if you love aquariums, but this relatively small attraction is mostly a passive experience.
Hey you! Go BIG!
2000 Sycamore Street, Cleveland, 216-862-8803