Dog-Friendly Ohio Day Trips
Dog-Friendly Holden Arboretum, Kirtland (Cleveland area), Ohio
The Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio was such a great day trip! Dexter The Dog is getting close to his seventh birthday and I am officially middle-aged (thanks, Mom, for bringing that to my attention!). So, I have decided to focus on enjoying every day and trying to spend quality time with Dexter and my human family. I don’t want our dog bucket list to start on Dexter’s final days; I want to ensure ALL his days are bucket-list worthy.
We live in Toledo, Ohio, so I did an internet search for “dog-friendly Ohio” and started to investigate our options. The Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio came up as a dog-friendly attraction. Since this dog-friendly destination was just over 2 hours away, outside of Cleveland, Ohio, the family decided it would make a great dog-friendly day trip.
The week leading up to our Ohio dog adventure was a pretty rough one for me. With my new brand, Raising Your Pets Naturally with Tonya Wilhelm (formally Global Dog Training), and trying to get the website up and 10 years of pet blog posts moved over, I was ready for a day off for some quality dog and family time.
The day before our dog-friendly trip to The Holden Arboretum, I packed up all of Dexter The Dog’s Travel Essentials. For this trip, I brought things like his dog stroller, cooling mat, cooling jacket and his stainless steel dog water bottle. I was prepared for our day trip.
My mom and I prepared our picnic lunch. We made a fresh feta and tomato salad, prepared hamburger patties with a side of Fritos and a dill pickle spear. We even cut up tomatoes, onions, and spinach leaves, and placed them in a glass storage container so they would stay fresh. Into the refrigerator it all went for the night and into the travel cooler with ice in the morning.
The next day, we hit the road at 7:00 am. Dexter is always a great traveler. He sleeps in his dog crate the entire time, unless we stop for dog potty breaks. We had a mission that morning, so we made good time. Usually, when the family takes a dog-friendly road trip, we take lots of breaks, but since the day trip was pretty close, we only stopped a few times. I know, a 2.5 hour trip and we stopped twice. Hahaha
We arrived in Kirtland, Ohio around 10am. The Holden Arboretum was easy to find and the employee who took our admission was very helpful. She provided us with a map and told us that The Holden Arboretum was very dog-friendly. The only places that were off-limits to Dexter were the Corning Visitor Center, Myrtle S. Holden Wildflower Garden, Murch Canopy Walk, and the Kalberer Emergent Tower. That may sound like a big list, but it really wasn’t. The arboretum is 3,600 acres, so we had plenty of dog-friendly things to do.
The first spot we ventured into was the Holden butterfly garden. I was immediately struck by the beautiful smell. I have no idea which plants or flowers were emitting such a great aroma, it was probably a combination of all the beautiful flowers, herbs, and plants. The butterfly garden was just breathtaking. All the flowers and plants had little informational plaques detailing what they were and also a call-in option for even more information. Dexter and I just enjoyed walking in the grass path surrounded by the flowers, butterflies, and bumblebees. But no worries, they were happily pollinating the flowers and couldn’t have cared less about us. We did not see any hummingbirds, but I guess they do frequent the butterfly garden.
The dog-friendly butterfly garden also had some wonderful water features and lily pads, which I assume had some frogs hopping around. Dexter loves to sniff and play with frogs. He looked over the wood bridge and all the lily pads, but we did not see any frogs. Sorry, Dexter, maybe another day.
After visiting the butterfly garden, we grabbed a trail and started walking. It was such a lovely walk. The grounds at The Holden Arboretum were immaculate! We were amazed at how well-kept everything was, with not a weed in sight. We ended up at Blueberry Pond. Dexter even got his toes wet. I could hear the bullfrogs, but poor Dexter still wasn’t able to find any frogs.
At the end of Blueberry Pond, we found Buckey Bud’s Adventure Woods. This arboretum is truly a family-friendly Ohio destination. Although we didn’t check it all out, Buckey Bud’s has a kid-friendly mini zip line, an over-sized loom and a woodland theater. We did, however, explore Buckeye Bud’s Woodland Cabin and created our very own artwork! Or should I say, my step-dad Ed did. 🙂
After our Buckey Bud adventure, Dexter was ready to rest his feet, so into the dog stroller he went. We continued on our way and decided it was time for a little cool-down before hitting the next trail. We stepped into one of the air-conditioned buildings next to the visitor center. I fed Dexter his lunch, gave him some water, and back into the stroller he went for our next hike.
We headed to Corning Lake. Along the way we passed the Display Garden and more beautiful scenery. The arboretum was bustling with guests and staff, and a few canopy tents were set up; it looked like they were preparing for a special event. People can rent The Holden Arboretum for special events such as weddings and corporate events. Dexter, once again, dipped his toes into the lake.
By this time, we were ready to have our family picnic. We walked back to the picnic area and found a good spot in the shade. I pulled out Dexter’s cooling mat, while Ed fired up the grill. My Mom and I set up the picnic table and were ready for our feast. Hamburgers were cooked to perfection and our lunch really hit the spot. After lunch, we decided to head home and look for an ice cream parlor along the way.
The Holden Arboretum was truly a dog-friendly attraction with lots of things to do and see. Not only does it welcome dogs, but it also is a very family-friendly destination. With 3,600 acres of walking space, it is a great spot to take a day trip, or two!
Where are some dog-friendly day trips you’ve gone with your dog? Tell me about them in the comments.
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