For a Saturday Family Adventure, we decided on a trip up to the Holden Arboretum. This park has been on my bucket list since they opened the canopy walk in the last couple years.
What It Is
I explained an arboretum to my kids as an “outside tree museum in a park.” Which made sense to them. Holden Arboretum is 3,600 acres of a grounds to explore with 20 miles of trails. We (obviously) didn’t see the whole thing in one trip. Holden has a canopy walk and a very tall tower to explore for a small extra fee.
We drove up to Kirtland, Ohio (on the east side of Cleveland) on a beautiful Saturday. The park is located in the middle of some residential areas with many other metro parks near by.
The arboretum is open from 9:00 – 5:00 daily. We spent about 3 hours total walking around and exploring before we ran out of steam.
What We Spent
This is on the cheaper side for admissions. Adults are $10, Children 6 – 17 are $4, under 6 is free. The Canopy Walk & Tower ticket is $4/$2 additional. There are a few discount options for active military and AAA members. There are also a variety of membership options available. If you think you’ll go up seasonally and have a big family, this would make sense. (Side note: I do wish places had Single Parent Family membership options. I don’t have 2 adults. Family memberships are just never a good deal for me….. grr.)
- 1 Adult, 2 Kids Admission to the Arboretum – $18
- Canopy Walk & Tower for each of us – $8
- AAA Discount – $3
- Total Spent: $26
What We Did
We decided to head back to the Canopy Walk and Tower first. Not knowing quite what to expect, we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to get through these.
The Murch Canopy Walk consists of a few different suspended bridges between platforms. You feel like you are walking among the canopy of the trees. There is a small amount of movement to the bridges but not too scary at all. It was quite pretty and you got a good look at the top parts of the trees. To walk the whole canopy walk takes about 5 – 10 minutes. I was a little disappointed by the short length of the thing (and you can only go around once), but it was pretty cool overall.
The Kalberer Emergent Tower is one super tall tower with 195 steps to the top. This was stunning and our favorite. You are waaaaayyyyyy up above the trees and get a good look at the overall landscape and Lake Erie in the distance. The top of the tower sways quite a bit in the wind which is always thrilling. There are platforms along the way up to stop and rest if needed. This attraction took a little longer, probably 15 minutes to walk all the way up casually, enjoy the view a bit, and come back down.
For the rest of our time we explored a couple of the trails. We spent a good bit of time walking the Woodland Trail with a few side trails to see a boardwalk and a meditation spot. We looked at the rhododendron section on our way to the canopy walk and tower. And we checked out some of the “Buckeye Buds Adventure Woods” due to a wrong turn. We did a super fast walk around part of the butterfly garden – we were getting tired, hungry, and it isn’t butterfly season so this was not our favorite.
There was a small selection of food available; it looked like some group was selling hot dogs, chips, etc. as a fund raiser. There is a large picnic area near the visitor’s center that would be great for a packed lunch.
Everything here is outdoors. The visitor’s center doesn’t have much inside. Be prepared for the weather.
Leashed dogs are permitted on the property, but not on the canopy walk, tower, or in any buildings.
This was a great way to walk around for a few hours. It is a long drive from Columbus and would be a great thing to add in to a weekend trip to Cleveland. We did stop in Eastlake for an early dinner then to Willowick for some ice cream. We tried to find a spot to check out the lake but only found one park that had a little overlook area.
We all had a nice time and enjoyed the arboretum overall. The tower was definitely the highlight for all.