Embrace the Winter Season with Cleveland Metroparks
By Michelle Posch
Have you experienced the icy thrill of Cleveland Metroparks twin toboggan chutes? Or enjoyed a peaceful snowshoe hike along trails surrounded by snow covered pines? With 18 reservations and a world-class Zoo that’s open year-round, Cleveland Metroparks is Northeast Ohio’s destination for winter fun.
Tobogganing in Mill Stream Run Reservation is a thrilling family tradition each winter
For 52 years, adventure-goers in Northeast Ohio dressed in their snow gear and headed to Mill Stream Run Reservation to experience the icy thrill of tobogganing at the Cleveland Metroparks Chalet.
The twin toboggan chutes plunge down a 70-foot vertical drop and travel along 700-feet of ice while reaching speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. The chutes operate using refrigerated ice and can operate with or without snow, in temperatures below 50 degrees.
The chutes are fun for all ages as the toboggans are transported effortlessly by the Chalet’s lift system. In between toboggan runs, guests can warm up by one of the fireplaces at the historic Chalet building while enjoying a hot chocolate from the snack bar. Visitors can also warm up while getting a great view of the chutes from the Chalet loft.
Tobogganing is available on weekends beginning the day after Thanksgiving through early March.
Visit Cleveland Metroparks Zoo year-round
The winter season is the perfect time to experience Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. As one of Northeast Ohio’s most popular year-round attractions, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo offers different and compelling experiences for each season.
If you’re visiting in winter, one of the most important areas to see is the state-of-the-art Asian Highlands destination. Located in the Wilderness Trek area of the Zoo, the immersive addition is the home to Amur and snow leopards, red panda and takin.
At Asian Highlands, like many other areas in Wilderness Trek, winter can be one of the best times to visit. The animals have unique adaptations to the winter months such as the Amur leopard’s long legs to help trudge through deep snow and the snow leopard’s large paws that act as snow shoes and pale gray coat that helps camouflage them.
Additional cold-climate animals in Wilderness Trek include reindeer, sea lions, a harbor seal and several bear species. Wolf Wilderness also offers an indoor cabin where you can warm by the fire while visiting the Zoo’s pack of Mexican gray wolves.
Of course, no winter visit would be complete without a tropical visit to The RainForest, where it’s always 80 degrees. The RainForest showcases more than 10,000 plants and 600 animals in a unique, two-acre, two-story habitat that gives visitors an extraordinary look at tropical species from threatened habitats including Bornean orangutans, ocelots, free-flying birds, Asian small-clawed otters, bats, sloths and a host of reptiles and amphibians.
Winter brings several unique holiday events to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo as well including photos with Santa, Noon Year’s Eve – a family friendly New Year’s celebration – and more. This Thanksgiving Day, the Zoo is thanking the community by offering free entry to all visitors in addition to special animal enrichment activities across the Zoo.
Educational opportunities are also available including winter camps, and overnight stays at the Zoo that offer a chance to see your favorite Zoo animals after dark.
Plan your next winter adventure
During the colder months Cleveland Metroparks offers unique programming only available in the snowy weather including cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowshoeing, indoor kayaking and more.
The scenic beauty of Cleveland Metroparks in winter is best experienced on the trails. Recommended visits include the Deer Lick Cave Loop Trail where the icicles and other ice formations that form along the sandstorm in winter make for great photo opportunities. The Upper Edgewater Loop trail offers amazing views of the lake where frozen mist covers every surface and piles of ice form natural sculptures along the shoreline.
If you need a break from the cold, Cleveland Metroparks five Nature Centers offer a natural escape into the wilderness without having to venture outside. From children’s play areas and live-animal exhibits to wildlife viewing areas, each Cleveland Metroparks Nature Center offers a unique way to learn and connect with the natural world.
If you’re out in the parks, don’t forget to explore the winter beauty of Cleveland Metroparks natural waterfalls. Must-see waterfalls include Mill Creek Falls in Garfield Park Reservation, Bridal Veil Falls in Bedford Reservation and Berea Falls in Rocky River Reservation.
For all opportunities to explore winter in Cleveland Metroparks, visit clevelandmetroparks.com.
Winter Season in the Cleveland Metroparks