Lake Erie Nature & Science Center educates Northeast Ohio children and the community at large through engaging classes, hands-on discovery, specialized planetarium programming, and up-close wildlife experiences that inspire appreciation of and responsibility for our natural universe – one participant at a time.
We strive to become a valued and supported community resource in Northeast Ohio:
-Known for the region’s best nature & science education programs
-Known for inspirational educators, live animals, interactive exhibits, and a world class planetarium
-Known as one of the region’s “must-see” destinations
The Legacy of Founder Elberta W. Fleming…
Lake Erie Nature & Science Center began in 1945 in the Bay Village home of its founder Elberta Wagner Fleming. Mrs. Fleming dedicated her life to the development of this facility, and she was an environmental advocate and a visionary. In the beginning, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center consisted of a meager display of bunnies in her backyard, mourning doves in her basement, and nature specimens throughout her house. It grew in popularity with the neighborhood children to where, five years later, this "Children's Museum" went public.
The organization was incorporated in 1950 as The Lake Erie Junior Museum, a non-profit corporation. Its purposes were to "establish and perpetuate a museum for children and young people; to receive and administer funds for conduction of adult and youth training programs especially adapted to introducing to children, informally and naturally, the wonders of nature and the crafts of the world…" That year, it moved to a small dwelling in the Bay Village Library. In 1960, the Museum moved to its permanent home in Cleveland Metroparks Huntington Reservation. In 1967, the Center was enlarged to include classrooms, workshops, a library, a greenhouse, room for storage and a wildlife courtyard. A year later, Walter R. Schuele Planetarium was built. With the addition of this facility, the Center provided natural and physical science programs including hands-on activities teaching botany, ecology, geology, meteorology, and astronomy. It also contained living displays of mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and marine life, and provided for the treatment of trips and aids for teachers, including workshops, loan kits, and networking.
Today, the Center now has 22,500 square feet of floor area located on 2.35 acres of grounds, and includes new live animal exhibits, a gift shop, a wildlife rehabilitation intake room, the planetarium, and classroom spaces. A 2001 renovation of the Wildlife Garden included new homes for our resident animals, which are now much larger and provide a more natural setting. Also, a log cabin was built to be used for public programs. A duck pond with a waterfall, lush greenery, and a paved path with easy stroller and wheelchair access complete the landscaping. We continue to survive and thrive through the generosity of our donors, visitors, volunteers, and the community.