Well, to keep things simple, the Cleveland Zoo is something of a constantly changing environment. Similar to what wild animals experience. Part of the Cleveland Metroparks system, a gigantic series of parks that stretch throughout Cuyahoga County and neighboring counties in Ohio, this reserved space of land for both foreign and native wildlife has a little bit of something for everyone. For the herpeotologist, the avian lover, or just the kiddies that like to laugh at the hippos, this zoo has pretty much everything. With the special programs that it has every year, there is guaranteed to be something that everyone likes.
Well for starters, the admission is reasonable and the entire setup of the zoo is great. I warn you, bring lots of sunblock and comfortable shoes! If ytou want your exercise, this is one place to do it, considering the hill to the "Apes, Aquarium, and Cats" is roughly a mile long and a pretty good angle. Unless you want to laze out and take the train up there. (CHEATER!) The zoo offers a pretty good variety of animals, and plenty of things for the kids. Little boxes around the zoo are let kids put in a "ZooPass" for information about a specific animal, or commentary from the keeper. The ZooPass costs extra, but is good all year long. Plus the kiddies feel special, and wont throw things at the more open exhibits (although I won't mention what my landlord did with a slinky to the Flamingoes at the entrance).
To survive this day, make sure you bring a wagon or something similar for the kids. They will be tired as this zoo is a lot of walking, even for the most devout of walkers. Water or Kool-Aid is must! The zoo is relaxed on bringing beverages with you, as long as they are not in a glass container. I usually make a big jug of Kool-Aid and bring some plastic cups along. Whenever I am hiking that hill to the Ape building, I cannot tell you how nice it is to take a break to a refreshing cup of something to drink. Also, bring a hat and some sunglasses. Sunblock is one of those no-brainer bits, even though some of the exhibits are inside, the walk to get to them is outside!
The only thing about this zoo I WOULD NOT recommend would be the Rain Forest. It is a separate building that is humid, has free-flying birds, and is basically a bad mock-up of a South American rain forest. The animal collection stinks. If anything, I would only recommend the rainforest to take wedding photos in front of the waterfall in the beginning.
Overall, this zoo is a day worth of fun. Mondays have always had free admission (for Cuyahoga County residents), and anytime of year is good to go, although I prefer spring or close to fall. If you need a break with another species, check this place out!