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Shore it up on a STEAM Trip to Cleveland and Lake Erie

Students can learn about electricity from a book or feel 350,000 volts of static electricity stand their hair on end. They can listen to a physics lecture or apply the subject to a scream-inducing roller coaster.

Ohio’s Cleveland and Lake Erie regions draw many student groups each year with attractions that combine education and fun. The Great Lakes Science Center features hands-on science experiments designed to surprise curious minds, and Cedar Point offers educational programs to supplement amusement park thrills.

Youth can also learn about international cultures using their taste buds at West Side Market and discover the roots of music at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Student groups will both run off some energy and come home spouting facts after trips to these northwestern Ohio attractions.

Great Lakes Science Center

Students can explore the inside of a stomach with an endoscope, launch a rocket or take their photos in spacesuits at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland. The center helps students learn by doing with exhibits and programs that promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“It’s a different way for students to get an educational experience than school,” said Kristen Jantonio, communications specialist, local and group tours, at Destination Cleveland. “It’s a hands-on way to experience science.”

Groups can learn the realities of space travel at the museum’s popular NASA Glenn Visitor Center. The permanent gallery offers interactive exhibits about living in space and otherworldly artifacts such as the moon rock from Apollo 15.

The new Mission to STEM app allows guests to unlock the secrets of aerospace technology through guided activities, including exploring the museum’s Apollo Command Module, experimenting with fire onboard the space station and testing the Mars airbag landing system. Groups can borrow iPads to take advantage of this free app.

The BioMedTech Gallery lets students play doctor with biomedical research exhibits that explore stomach interiors and control a robotic arm. Those who prefer to invent will enjoy the Cleveland Creates Zone to construct a parachute, race a car down a track or launch a rocket. Similarly, the Science Phenomena exhibition offers 100 hands-on experiences to answer questions about the world, such as what happens to participants’ hair when they touch 350,000 volts of static electricity.

Year-round, the center offers classes, workshops and daily science demonstrations for students. Groups also relax at the center’s Imax Dome theater for up-close entertainment.