on November 7, 2006
The Cleveland Botanical Garden may be one of the most overlooked sights in all of Cleveland. Cleveland Botanical Garden was founded in 1930 as the Garden Center of Greater Cleveland. In 1966, the Garden Center moved to its present location on East Boulevard, the site of the old Cleveland Zoo. There are two separate areas, the glasshouse and the larger gardens.The Glasshouse isn’t huge, you can get through the whole thing in under an hour. It contains over 350 different species of plants. Everything in here is alive and growing except for a couple of trees. There is a really tall baobab and an even bigger strangler fig tree that I would never have guessed were fake. I guess they can’t maintain trees of this size, everything else is much smaller. Anyway, the Glasshouse features two very different themes, Madagascar and Costa Rica. Spiny Desert of MadagascarThis area takes you on a journey of beauty and intrigue immersed in one of the most remarkable regions of the world. A lush oasis offers a splash of color amidst a land of towering cliffs, massive rock outcroppings and trees that look like they’re growing upside down. It really feels like you’re in a whole different world in this area, I found it very easy to suspend belief for a while as I wandered through the area. Cloud Forest of Costa RicaA cloud forest is a high altitude rain forest, where a lot of moisture comes from the fact that there are always mist laden clouds lying among the trees. There is a pretty cool waterfall that you can get right up to, and I thought it was cool to feel and breathe in the misty air of Costa Rica, laden with the smells of orchids in bloom. As you walk along, it feels like you are literally surrounded by butterflies. But my favorite part of the whole experience was looking up and seeing the roof created by the majestic Strangler Fig tree and looking down through the “clouds” into the rushing river gorge.The second part of the Botanical Gardens is the grounds themselves. They cover 10 acres and are also separated into various exhibits. There are rose gardens, Japanese gardens, gardens incorporating local plants, and traveling flower shows that change all the time. Our favorite is the Hershey Children's Garden. It is the first public children's garden in the State of Ohio and one of the few of its kind in the United States. Here, children have the opportunity to experience the natural world first-hand. With its wheelchair-accessible tree house, cave, dwarf forests, scrounger garden, worm bins and watery bog, Hershey Children's Garden is a fun and exciting place to let your kids go a little wild and learn a little about nature. Admission is: Free - for children under three years of age,$3.00 - for children ages three to twelve,$7.50 - for adults,$5.50 - per person for groups of 15 or more.
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