The Cleveland Botanical Gardens was founded in 1930 as the Garden Center of Greater Cleveland, the first civic garden center in an American city. The botanical gardens started its roots in a converted boathouse on Wade Park Lagoon. Here, the center served as a horticultural library that offered a plethora of classes and workshops for those interested in gardening. The goal was to help spearhead beautification projects within the community.
As the popularity of the gardens grew, the botanical gardens had to move to a new location, the former Cleveland Zoo. Visitors can still find remnants of the old bear pit within the Ohio Woodland Garden section.
The most prized position in the garden is the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse, which is home to unusual and exotic plants and animals from two separate biomes: the spiny desert of Madagascar and the cloud forest of Costa Rica. The glasshouse features over 350 species of plants, 50 species of butterflies, and other amphibians, reptiles, and birds that coexist in the habitats.
The botanical garden also includes the award-winning Hershey Children's Garden. This garden was the first children's garden in Ohio. There is also a Japanese Garden, Geis Terrace, Rose Garden, Herb Garden, and Topiary Garden in the Botanical Gardens. The gardens were also the filming location of the fifth season episode of the TV series Supernatural titled "Dark Side of the Moon."
Hungry during your visit? The gardens have their own cafe and store to buy snacks. This spot is perfect to enjoy the wonders of nature and appropriate for all ages. The gardens are open every day except Monday with varying hours.
Learn why the Cleveland Botanical Gardens is a favorite destination for families and visitors of every age in this video:
[Cover photo credit: Eddie~S under CC BY-NC 2.0]