But for now, we've had a really hard time finding kid-friendly activities on Sunday before noon. With budget cutbacks, it seems like most local libraries don't open until 1 o'clock on Sundays, and same with many of the museums. During this long, snowy, cold, snowy, gray, snowy winter, going outside isn't always an option.
In case some others have been having the same problems, here's a few of the local activities that we've found:
- The Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the few big museums that's open early (10:00am) on Sundays. And it's free! The parking does cost a few bucks, but I think that Sunday morning it's easy enough to find street parking. This is definitely a good option, and we love free things because—as all parents of toddlers know—there's no predicting how long you'll be able to spend there. So if you don't have any money invested, it's a lot easier to accept leaving after 15 minutes because the child had decided he/she'd rather play with the Playdoh at home. We're also wary of burning Eleanor out on this option, so we probably only do this once a month or so, if that.
- The Children's Museum of Cleveland also opens at 10:00am on Sundays. I've heard good things about their activities and that toddlers really enjoy the hands-on opportunities. If it's so great, why haven't I gone? The downside to this option is that it's one of the most expensive ones. Because it's aimed at children, unlike 99% of places, children under 3 are NOT free, but neither are the adults. It's $7/person for everyone 1 year and older. That's not terrible, but what can I say? We're cheap. I think of this one as a planned-ahead activity that we only do once in a great while.
- In good weather or in bad, the Cleveland Metroparks are also a good option. When it's warm enough, we can go hiking or sledding (like we did the other weekend). But even if it's too cold or rainy, there's lots of nature centers, lodges, etc., that have animals, books, and indoor activities to keep Eleanor entertained. All of their Nature Centers open at 9:30am and are, of course, free!
- It's sort of a sub-category of the Metroparks, but there's also the Cleveland Zoo, which opens at 10:00am daily. As I may have mentioned, however, we're "thrifty," and Cuyahoga County residents get into the Zoo for free on Mondays, so we tend to avoid going on the weekends. (The Zoo is normally $7 for adults and $5 for kids 2-11 in the off-season, aka now, and $11 for adults / $8 for kids from April through November.)
- Another option I was considering, but haven't looking into much yet, was joining the local Rec Center. They are open, but it wasn't clear to me what activities there were for parents and toddlers, if any. There's stern warnings against toddlers coming into the workout area with all of the weight and cardio machines. But if they have babysitting, so Eleanor can hang with some peers, I can get in a workout at the same time, AND Keith can sleep in, I think it's a win-win-win situation!
If you have any good, kid-friendly suggestions for Sunday mornings I'd be happy to hear them!