Cleveland Metroparks declares 2018 "Time to Explore"

From climbing the Fort Hill stairs to golfing at Manakiki to hiking Sulphur Springs, Cleveland Metroparks has compiled a Top 10 summer activity list that would make David Letterman proud. It’s all part of the new Metroparks campaign “Time to Explore,” a three-year effort designed to reflect its core pillars of recreation, conservation, and education—and shine a spotlight on the diversity of activities available throughout the Emerald Necklace.

“When we were gathering feedback from the community, this concept of exploration really resonated,” explains Kelly Manderfield, Chief Marketing Officer for Cleveland Metroparks. “Through the imagery we were testing, people would say, ‘Hey, I didn’t know that was available’ [when looking at photos of] Squires Castle and various waterfalls. There was a growing interest about what they could come and do in Cleveland Metroparks.”

The new initiative succeeds the “Come Out and Play” campaign that’s been in effect since 2014, as well as a large-scale centennial celebration in 2017.

With the debut of “Time to Explore,” new developments include a unified logo for the park district, other branded marketing efforts, and the release of a free 40-page book featuring the work of park photographer Kyle Lanzer. The new campaign also coincides with “Explore Your Park,” a new joint initiative with the Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Children's. Using the hashtag #GetActiveCLE, the movement is geared at promoting wellness and raising awareness of the many free Metroparks programs and resources.

“So many of our regional sites and family health centers are near the Metroparks that we thought, ‘How can we team together?’” shares Joshua Miller, D.O., vice president of Cleveland Clinic’s Regional Hospitals and Family Health Centers. “We want to promote health and wellness for our community by utilizing our [city’s] own beautiful community resources.”

The joint initiative marks the launch of a new website sharing videos and wellness tips, as well as location-specific educational materials that will be available at 12 Metroparks sites. Each month, the Metroparks will also share a new “Top 10” list for inspiration with themes like “Best Places to Explore on Two Wheels,” “Gems of the Emerald Necklace,” “Best Waterfalls to View,” and more.

Also in the works is a series of “Ask a Naturalist” videos on Facebook Live, the first of which highlighted the nature education center and owl aviary at North Chagrin Reservation.

“We view it as a virtual classroom or virtual nature center [experienced] in real-time,” says Manderfield. “We’ll be featuring different points of interest and outdoor activities like standup paddleboarding and hiking. We hope it will inspire people to come do those things and visit these places in person.”


Read more articles by Jen Jones Donatelli.

As a Cleveland native and enthusiast, Jen Jones Donatelli is thrilled to take on the managing editor role at FreshWater. As a full-time freelance writer and editor for more than a decade, Jen has contributed to publications including Redbook, Budget Travel, GOOD, Playboy, Thrillist, Cleveland Magazine, Los Angeles Confidential, San Francisco, Ohio Today, and many more. She is also a contributing editor for Destination Cleveland and a proud graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
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