Monday, May 29th, 2017

Admire the beauty of autumn in Cleveland’s Emerald Necklace

By CYNTHIA SCHUSTER EAKIN

Cleveland is surrounded by a precious Emerald Necklace, a network of parks that spans more than 21,000 acres.

The Cleveland Metroparks includes hundreds of miles of walking, bicycle and horse trails as well as picnic areas, nature education centers, golf courses and fishing spots. The district also includes the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Here are some of the gems you can admire and enjoy in Cleveland’s parks this autumn.

Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. In Northeast Ohio, you are likely to see brilliant yellows, oranges and red leaves from the many maple and oak trees. Cleveland Metroparks has several scenic overlooks that are perfect for enjoying the spectacular seasonal views. They include Tinkers Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook and Little Overlook in the Bedford Reservation, Chippewa Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook in Brecksville, Iron Springs Loop Trail in the Garfield Park Reservation, the Beach Bluffs in Huntington Reservation and Quarry Overlook in the South Chagrin Reservation.

Hayrides are one of the best ways to enjoy the cool autumn air and fall colors in Cleveland Metroparks. Stop by the Chalet Recreation Area in Mill Stream Run Reservation in Strongsville on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon for an old-fashioned hayride. Tractor-driven hayrides are offered on weekends through October. Other activities include a hay maze, square dancing for all ages, pumpkin painting and crafts. Hayrides are $8 for adults and $6 for children three to 11 years of age. Private group hayrides can be arranged by calling 440.572.9990.

The annual Boo at the Zoo is a seasonal safari with fun surprises in every corner. Visit your favorite Cleveland Metroparks Zoo animals and enjoy a safe, scare-free Halloween celebration with decorations, lights, music and special activities designed with your giggling little goblins in mind. The eight-night event is Oct. 17-20 and Oct. 24-27. General admission is $8 and free for youngsters younger than two years of age. Call 216.661.6500 for details.

Cleveland Metroparks has the recipe for fall down to a science. Take one beautiful autumn setting, add a seasonal treat like a clambake and season with a bit of science from a park district natural resources expert. The CanalWay Clambake and Talk is Oct. 18, 6:30 p.m., in the pavilion at Morgan’s Hollow Picnic Area in the Cleveland Metroparks Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation. Guests will be treated to a dozen clams, chicken, coleslaw, salad and corn while listening to a presentation about local clams and mussels. Registration is $30 a person. Phone 216.206.1000.

From the shores of Lake “Eerie” to the spooky woods of North Chagrin Reservation, Cleveland Metroparks has Halloween runs that are bound to get your blood pumping. The all-ages Vampires and Werewolves Family Run is Oct. 19, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., at North Chagrin Nature Center. The whole family can don their Halloween costumes and choose from a one-mile, two-mile or 5K race. There will be face painting, goblin candy stations, creepy crafts and a costume contest. Head to Edgewater Park in the new Lakefront Reservation on Oct. 26, 4 p.m., for the Run from the Zombies. Costumed runners age 14 and older are invited to traverse the 5K course over sand, pavement and hills. Call 216.341.1704 to register.

Have a mess of fun while carving a pumpkin this fall. Pumpkin carving takes place at the Garfield Park Nature Center on Oct. 27 and at the Brecksville Nature Center on Oct. 30. The paint, pumpkin patterns and safety carving knives are provided, but you have to bring your own pumpkin. Phone 216.341.3152 to register in Garfield Park Reservation and 440.526.1012 to register in Brecksville.

The Reflections of Nature Quilt Show is Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 in the Rocky River Nature Center in North Olmsted. Quilts entered in the juried show incorporate at least one North American nature image in the design. The show features retail vendors, quilt and textile art guilds and quilting demonstrations. Call 440.734.6660 for show information.

(Photo Courtesy of Cleveland MetroParks)

(Photo Courtesy of Cleveland MetroParks)

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