Unknown University Circle

know it all? Are you sure?  From wooden streets to chalk on the sidewalk, check out our list of 10 surprising finds in UCI.

1.  Any kid who likes to play with wooden blocks should delight in seeing an entire city block paved with them. Hessler Court runs between Bellflower and Hessler Street, a one-time haven for Woodstock nation exiles that’s still home to the annual hippie-driven Hessler Street Fair. The 90-year-old, 100-yard lane — the last remaining wooden street in the city — has an organic, natural feel, thus appealing to Aquarians and antiquarians alike.

2. Who’s the character strutting resplendently in fall colors down East Boulevard? It’s Big Jake, the wild turkey who sometimes flies his coop outside the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Better to come across him than the shrunken human heads, hissing cockroaches or tarantula on display inside the museum.

3.  Kids love potty humor, so they should get a kick out of the potted horticulture at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. In the scrounger’s garden (in the Hershey Children’s Garden), visitors will find plants potted in old boots, bicycle baskets and even sitting on the pot — or rather, in the pot. The porcelain planter is just one of the many garden features designed specifically with kids in mind. (More hijinks ensue in the kid-sized maze entered through grownup-proof small arbors.)

4. If your kids are interested in 16th-century Italian art traditions — and, really, what kid isn’t — the annual Cleveland Museum of Art festival that evokes the spirit of I Madonnari is the ticket. During the Chalk Festival Sept. 16 and 17, artists and amateurs (call 216-707-2483 for info) draw on the sidewalk in front of the museum, and upon the tradition of artists who painted the Madonna on Italian piazzas 500 years ago.

5. Only one University Circle eatery has the PBBandJ, a roll-up sandwich of peanut butter, banana and, instead of jelly, actual grapes that pop with flavor in your mouth. Shticks, squirreled away in a second-floor lounge of Case Western Reserve University’s law school (11075 East Blvd., 216-231-0922, weekday lunch only), has good stuff for grown-ups, too, including lots of vegetarian options.

6.  A marker at 1709 E. 115th St. reveals the site of the home of noted poet Hart Crane. If your kids aren’t familiar with the author of “At Melville’s Tomb,” “Chaplinesque” and “Voyages II,” perhaps the fact that Crane’s candy-making father, Clarence, invented Life Savers will sweeten the deal.

7. You’d never know it if you attended a George Clinton concert, but apparently, Funk is dead. So says the gravestone in the wonderfully-weedy East Cleveland Township Cemetery on East 118th (between Wade and Euclid). While Lake View, its upper-crust cousin, has the headstones from the headlines, this boneyard’s got character to spare — plus, it’s got the Funk.

8. Three dozen 10-foot-tall scarecrows will converge on University Circle Oct. 13 through 15 — after all, where better to find a brain than a 550-acre concentration of educational and cultural institutions — for the annual Fall for the Circle Celebration, which heralds the oncoming autumn the way Parade the Circle signals summer.

9. Looking for a place to take your teen for The Talk? The extensive exhibit on contraception throughout history, on display at the Dittrick Museum of Medical History (third floor of the Allen Memorial Medical Library, 11000 Euclid Ave., 216-368-3648), could make it a little easier. Or, you know, not.

10. To the trill of the piccolo and the boom of the kettle drum, Severance Hall adds the pitter-patter of little feet several times each year. The Cleveland Orchestra’s five-concert Musical Rainbow Series begins Oct. 20 with “Powerful Percussion.” The three-concert Family Concert Series starts Saturday morning, Nov. 11, with Benjamin Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.”

Share this story: