The Metroparks Zoo is truly one of the jewels of the Emerald Necklace, a perfect venue for exotic animal kingdom outings, a manageable half-day trip for the lazy or child-burdened, or a full-day trip if you come armed with resolve, decent arch support, and an abiding passion for watching elephants. The elephants really are quite something. The Cleveland Zoo, with incredible deals, promotions and regular special events, not to mention 183 acres of award-winning gardens, is definitely more than just animals. And the zoo's a year-round attraction: The Rainforest is a lot cheaper than your local spa. Mondays are free to residents and damn near tolerable if you don't mind crowds.
3900 Wildlife Way, 216-661-6500, clemetzoo.org.
Staff Pick: Cedar Point