Even though the initial suggestion for the park district was provided in 1905, William Stinchcomb’s idea didn’t become a reality until 1917. Cleveland Metroparks stands as one of the oldest park districts in Ohio and currently oversees more than 20,000 acres of land in the Cleveland area, which offer prime places for both passive and active recreational activities. The Cleveland Metroparks also provides a wide array of year-round programming, activities and events.
Hundreds of miles of trails wind through the Metroparks’ 20,000-plus acres, affording optimal opportunities for a variety of activities such as walking, running, cycling or mountain biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and in-line skating. Patrons can also access five physical fitness trails.
Cleveland Metroparks: Operates seven distinct public golf courses within the greater Cleveland area, welcoming golfers of all ability levels.
Big Met Golf Course: Big Met Golf Course opened in 1926 and boasts an 18-hole course that spans more than 6,356 yards for a Par 72.
Little Met Golf Course: Little Met Golf Course is the premier Metroparks course. Golfers enjoy nine holes on more than 2,535 yards for a Par 34.
Manakiki Golf Course: Located in Willoughby Hills, this challenging 18-hole course stretches more than 6,625 yards for a Par 72.
Mastick Woods Golf Course: Ideal for juniors, beginners or simply players looking for a leisurely day on the greens, Mastick Woods is a nine-hole, 1,900-yard, Par 31 executive course.
Shawnee Hills Golf Course: In 1989, Shawnee Hills expanded its course it 27 holes, creating a more versatile place to enjoy a game of golf. Shawnee Hills’ first 18 holes sit upon 6,366 yards for a Par 71, while its 1,293-yard Par 3 course boasts nine holes for a Par 27.
Sleepy Holly Golf Course: Nestled in Brecksville, Sleepy Hollow provides for quite a challenge. The course’s aesthetic allure makes it a unique golf destination. The 18-hole, 6,670-yard course offers a Par 71.
Washington Golf Learning Center: Designated as an “Audubon International Certified Golf Signature Sanctuary,” golfers have access to a nine-hole, 1,248-yard course for a Par 29, as well as a 30-station driving range.
Fishing has become one of the area’s most popular pastimes, which is no wonder considering Cleveland is packed with beautiful fishing holes. Cleveland Metroparks oversees 13 major fishing areas and owns approximately 26 stream miles of the Rocky River. Additionally, local ponds and lakes are scattered throughout the 20,000-plus acres owned by the district.
Swimming access is available through three areas that are free and open to the public between mid-June and mid-August – Huntington Beach, Wallace Lake and Hinckley Lake. In addition, Ledge Pool and Recreational Area allows patrons to swim, fish along the shores of Ledge Lake, play basketball and sand volleyball and relax with a family picnic from Memorial Day weekend through mid-August.
Cleveland Metroparks runs the sole toboggan site in Ohio at The Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation. During the cool winter months, visitors enjoy tobogganing down two 1,000-foot ice chutes. The chutes are open from the day after Thanksgiving through the first weekend in March.
NATURE & VISITOR CENTERS
Through Cleveland Metroparks’ five nature centers, visitors can access all the information they need to know about this area’s natural flora and fauna. Many are stocked with great exhibits and fantastic programs and activities for people of all ages and interests.
Brecksville Nature Center: Established in 1939, the Brecksville Nature Center is surrounded by restored Ohio prairie lands, glacial river valleys, forested ravines and a wildlife feeding area.
Canal Way Center: Situated upon 306 acres, this center depicts the fusion of people, industry and nature through several indoor exhibits and programs. The Canal Way Center also serves as a Visitor’s Center along the Towpath Trail.Garfield Park Nature Center: This nature center represents the history and the wildlife of the area and is encompassed by a landscaped wildlife garden teeming with flowers, plants, shrubs and trees, as well as three major trail systems.
North Chagrin Nature Center: Looking onto the Sanctuary Marsh, this site draws in many different wildlife ranging from waterfowl, mammals and reptiles to insects and various birds. Visitors can stroll along the 300-foot boardwalk or visit the nearby Sunset Pond.
Rocky River Nature Center: More than five miles of trails begin at the nature center, which are lined with great views of wildlife, a diverse topography of wetlands, hilltops and ponds and a wildlife habitat management area. Additionally, the nature center offers exquisite views of a 350-million-year-old shale cliff.
CLEVELAND METROPARKS ZOO & RAINFOREST
Around 3,000 animals representing more than 600 different species call the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Rainforest home. The zoo, which is a botanical garden, holds the largest collection of primate species on this continent.