The National Park Service’s Open Outdoors for Kids campaign gives every fourth-grader the opportunity to visit and experience national parks for free! Bring your students out to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, or James A. Garfield Historic Site/Lake View Cemetery for an unforgettable experience.

Step 1: Check out Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center’s and James A. Garfield’s Historic Site’s FREE programs below.
Step 2: Choose your program(s) and fill out the form below.
Step 3: We’ll get in touch with you to schedule your national park educational experience!

Note: Free programming and free transportation for qualified schools.


Summer Programming

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

2 hours | Free| Fridays, June-August, 9:45am, 11:40am, and 1:55pm

Climb aboard for this two-hour, fun and educational program that is built for all ages! As you ride the rails through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, you will be immersed in an interactive program filled with stories, activities, puzzles and more. Education groups are welcome to bring their own packed lunch aboard the train. This program is not wheelchair accessible.

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School Year Programming

Rockin’ at the Run
2 hours | Free | Aug-Nov & April-May 

Hike the Ledges and discover how geologic processes have shaped the land.  Look for evidence of how erosion and deposition have changed the land, examine how weathering occurs and explore the rocks that make up the Ledges.

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Low Bridge Everybody Down
2 hours | Free | Aug-Nov & February-May

Explore the Canal Exploration Center to learn about the history and economic importance of the Ohio & Erie Canal.  Learn about this time period as you operate a working canal lock, hike on the Towpath Trail and discover primary sources that provide narratives of life during the canal era.

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At Water’s Edge
1.5 hours | Free| August-November & April-May

Discover what organisms live in a pond and describe their adaptations for this aquatic habitat.  Explore animal life cycles and investigate the food webs and energy flow with the animals we find.

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Cuyahoga River Stanzas with the Wick Poetry Center
Lead by: Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center
2 hours | Free | May

Explore the ecology and history of the Cuyahoga River through creative writing. Students will investigate and give voice to the many ways the river sustains us creatively and teaches us about our connection to the environment and our community.

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Canal Exploration Center By Ted Toth

Garfield: Man of Many Hats
2-4 hours | Free | March-April

Using a clipboard scavenger hunt, students will explore the Visitor Center at James A Garfield National Historic Site to find the “hats” Garfield wore throughout his lifetime – canal boy, teacher, Civil War General, congressman – and tour the Garfield home. Follow the hats to Lake View Cemetery, where students will visit the gravesites of and monuments to Clevelanders who wore other hats – inventor, millionaire, philanthropist, entrepreneur and more.

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Ways of the Whittlesey
1.5 hours | Free | Aug-Nov & March-May 

Discover the culture of these and other American Indians who once inhabited this region.  Learn about their daily life by examining artifacts, practicing your hunting skills, grinding corn and sharing American Indian stories.

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Where Was Garfield Spring
2-4 hours | Free | March-April

Students will create a giant timeline with facts about important Northeast Ohioans who changed the country and the world during a combined field trip to James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor and Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.

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