Lake_View_TrolleyWhen you think of fun family outings, traipsing through the cemetery on a hot summer day may not immediately come to mind. Like me, you may have been brought up to think of a cemetery as a solemn place of sadness, not a venue for recreation.

Enter the Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. Sometimes referred to as “the outdoor art museum”, this site is meant to be explored.

You’ll find Lake View Cemetery located just outside the esteemed University Circle, the cultural hub in Cleveland. Created in 1869 and modeled after the European “rural cemeteries”, today the city of Cleveland seems to have grown up around the 258 acre parcel of land, but you’d never know it from inside the peaceful gates.

Visitors to the cemetery are permitted to walk, jog or drive through the winding, paved cemetery road. During the summer months, guests are permitted to board a trolley for a guided tour that runs on Sunday afternoons. Just remember to call the cemetery office in advance to make a reservation, as the seats fill up quickly.

While visiting the cemetery, you’ll discover fascinating historical tidbits of from Cleveland’s past, but you don’t need to be familiar with Cleveland history to recognize the names of prominent and influential Clevelander’s that are memorialized on the grounds. The names of Rockefeller, Glidden and JB Robinson are easily recognizable to Americans.

You’ll discover beautiful and elaborate art and architecture in the both the Wade Chapel, known for its remarkable Tiffany interior, and Garfield Monument that pays homage to our 20th President who was assassinated in office.

Wade_ChapelThe cemetery is still an active cemetery so before you visit, check out the website to view the schedule for the day. While younger children may be fascinated by some of the tombs, including several that are listed as roadside attractions, the guided trolley tour is best suited for older tweens and teens who have an interest in history, art and architecture.

Like me, you may be wondering how a cemetery that is six miles inland would boast the name “lake view”. I could tell you, but I think that’s an answer best left for you to discover on your own. Just ask one of the helpful docents at the Garfield Memorial.

Of course if you have family that had lived in Cleveland, visiting the Lake View cemetery may allow you to spend time traveling your family tree and any of the volunteers at the cemetery would be happy to help.