Get Smart

Wanna be an astronaut, ornithologist, writer, music producer, maybe an agrarian?  Here's how to get started.

A Cheap, Late Date

You don’t have to miss work to take the kids to the museum: Through Aug. 30, Wade Oval Wednesdays (WOW!) feature discounted admission and extended hours at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (with the exhibit “Discovering Chimpanzees”), Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland Botanical Garden and Cleveland Museum of Art., (216) 707-5033

Off to School

Lorain County Community College’s College For Kids program offers non-credit classes for toddlers through high-school students, including art, foreign language, writing, drama, technology and study skills. Students have the opportunity to learn a new skill or explore an interest in a hands-on environment., 1-800-995-5222, ext. 4038

Reach for the Stars

For East Siders, Lakeland Community College offers similar academic-slash-fun programs, such as Aikido, cartooning and magic. In addition, Lakeland has started a Science Engineering Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) in conjunction with NASA Glenn Research Center for kids in kindergarten through 12th grade. The program is free but space is limited; future astronauts learn about space and aviation-related topics., (440) 525-7000 or 1-800-589-8520

Inventing Inspiration

The Edison Birthplace Museum was the home of Thomas Edison until he was 7, and now the museum features some of his earliest inventions. Right now, the home is at risk of closing unless it can gather enough donations to meet a matching grant from the U.S. Mint by November. After a visit, you’ll be convinced that it’s a worthy cause., (419) 499-2135; 9 Edison Drive, Milan

Meet an Author

Mark your calendar for a Cleveland visit from one of kid lit’s biggest names: Mary Pope Osborne. She’ll be talking about “Blizzard of the Blue Moon,” the 36th book in her Magic Tree House series, Sunday, Oct. 1, at noon at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. If you can't make it that day, don’t worry: There’s something for kids every day at 11. or, (216) 691-7000; 24519 Cedar Road, Legacy Village, Lyndhurst


For Conscientious Kids

Malabar Farm, home of noted agrarian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield, will unveil a spectacular new education center Sept. 1. The center features Bromfield’s principles of sustainability: It was built primarily from recycled materials and functions via a wind turbine, solar panels and geothermal energy. It also has an aviary with native Ohio songbirds and a restaurant specializing in meat and produce grown and raised onsite., (419) 892-2784; 4050 Bromfield Road, Lucas

Moo U

Lake Farmpark is terrific — especially for young children — any day of the week. “Green Eggs and Ham, Speckled Sheep, Purple Beans” is for kids 4 to 8 with an adult on Aug. 22 or 24. Register by calling (440) 358-7275; Kids 8 and up can enjoy a Wild West adventure Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. They’ll get to try their hands at riding and roping for just $, 1-800-366-FARM; 8800 Chardon Road, Kirtland

Rock Out

Tough to talk to your teen with that iPod in his ear? If he thinks he has a future in the music business, sign him up for From Songwriters to Soundmen: The People Behind The Hits at the Rock Hall (it’s free!). The next session starts in the fall, on the third Wednesday of every month. Parents should exercise caution — language and content is PG-13. After all, this is the music biz., (216) 781-ROCK; One Key Plaza, Cleveland

You, Haiku

Budding poet or writer in your house? The Poets’ and Writers’ League of Greater Cleveland holds special classes throughout the year just for teens. Aug. 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., teens 16 and older can attend the Performance Poetry Intensive. Cost is $50 for PWLGC members, $60 for nonmembers. Check the Web site for more upcoming classes., (216) 421-0403

Lab Coat, Please

It’s not too late to squeeze in a Mad Science camp — or too early to look for a fall class. Mad Science uses hands-on methods to teach kids about scientific topics ranging from the five senses to “Chemistry, Cells and Crime.” Brecksville, Shaker Heights and Euclid will still be holding camps the week of Aug. 14 (Shaker Heights and Euclid will be preschool camps).

Stars in Their Eyes

The Lake Erie Nature and Science Center focuses on classes for younger children, ages 18 months to 10 years. One of the most popular programs is Twinkle Tots, every Thursday and Saturday at 11 a.m. For $1 per person, your group can look at a constellation, watch lights and lasers dance and practice not being afraid of the dark. The center is open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except major holidays. Aug. 26 at 3 p.m., kiddie ornithologists will gather for a free program about bald eagles., (440) 871-2900; 28728 Wolf Road, Bay Village

Ruffle Some Feathers

If your kid scoffs when you call her a “kiddie ornithologist,” the Holden Arboretum offers a special Junior Birder’s Club for bird-lovers ages 7 through 15. The club meets one Saturday a month for a hike, followed by a meeting to discuss topics ranging from finding hawks or water birds to learning more about nesting and feeding. The program is free with gate admission., (440) 946-4000; 9500 Sperry Road, Kirtland

Native American News

Learn about the Native Americans who once lived in Northeast Ohio at the Indian Museum of Lake County. It houses more than 26,000 artifacts from 10,000 B.C. to A.D. 1650, as well as Native American crafts from 1800 to 2005. The volunteers are happy to put together educational programs for schools and groups. Free for preschoolers, $1 for students, $1.50 for seniors, $2 for adults; (440) 951-3813, Center and River (S.R. 174) streets in the Technical Center, Building B, Door #3, Willoughby

Girl Power

Did you know that the first female flight attendants had to be registered nurses? Take your daughter to learn about the history of flight attendants in a new exhibit Air Hostess — Honoring Flight Attendants Past and Present, at the International Women’s Air and Space Museum. Bonus: Girl Scouts can get a special aerospace badge through the museum., (216) 623-1111; Burke Lakefront Airport, Room 165, 1501 N. Marginal Road, Cleveland

Horsing Around

Learn how artists hand- carved and painted wooden carousel ponies, and ride the restored Allan Herschell Carousel at The Merry-Go-Round Museum; it’s open weekends year-round, with weekday hours depending on the month. The annual Woodcarvers Show will be Sept. 9, featuring more than 20 carvers demonstrating their art. Admission is free that day, with carousel rides for $1., (419) 626-6111; 301 Jackson St., Sandusky

Meet the Neighbors

Venture south into Holmes County to learn about the heritage of our Amish neighbors. Holmes County contains the country’s largest Amish population, and the museum that offers a historical perspective on their culture: The German Culture Museum. Open Thu.-Sat. 12:30-4:30 p.m. through October. (330) 893-2510, Walnut Creek

Watch a Re-enactment

Forget the long car trip to Gettysburg: Hale Farm and Village will host a Civil War re-enactment Aug. 12 and 13. After the armies roll out, preschool children roll in for “Fun on the Farm” each Friday from Sept. 8 through Oct. 21. Kids ages 2 to 6 can enjoy stories and crafts at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m., (330) 666-3711 or 1-877-HALE-FARM; 2686 Oak Hill Road, Bath

Olden Days, Yum!

Head to Century Village Aug. 19 for Pioneer Day to get a taste of pioneer life on the Western Reserve, and mark down Oct. 7 and 8 for the 58th annual Apple Butter Festival. Regular tours of the village are held through Nov. 15 Fri.-Sun. at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., (440) 834-1492; Burton

Choo-Choo Cha-Cha

The Great Pumpkin Express departs the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train station at 10:15 a.m. Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29 for a day that includes costume contests, a scavenger hunt and special treats. And, this December, the fantastical Polar Express is back. The railroad offers a full slate of adventures for kids of all ages — check its Web site for the full list. $20 tickets for the Polar Express are sold via mail-in lottery; check the Web site for forms, which must be postmarked between Sept. 1 and 15 to be eligible.; Call 1-800-468-4070 or check the site for the closest boarding station.

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