INTO THE WILD
With the Akron Zoo (akronzoo.org) and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (clevelandmetroparks.com) not far from Stark County, you can take the kids for an entertaining, yet informative day. The Akron Zoo offers some behind-the-scenes tours with zookeepers, veterinarians and trainers, while the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has more animals and exhibits.
It’s easy to spend a whole day exploring the zoo. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has 185 animals to look at and learn about. This zoo also has a special indoor rainforest building with a 25-foot waterfall.
With a shorter drive and a smaller location, the Akron Zoo still has lots of animals for you to see. Check out 73 different kinds of animals at the Akron Zoo.
Want a souvenir from your day at the zoo? Make sure to stop by the gift shop. Both zoos have plenty of souvenirs you can purchase to remember your trip.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME
By Tim Botos
It used to be known as the Akron Aeros. Last year, the team switched its name to the Akron RubberDucks. And it remains the Class AA minor league affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.
Canal Park Stadium, on S. Main Street in downtown Akron, has been home to the team since the park opened in 1997.
The Ducks opened their season in April. In all, the team hosts 71 regular-season games at Canal Park, concluding with a three-game set against Erie running September 1-3.
Single-game ticket prices range from $5 to $17, with discounts for children and senior citizens. The team also offers a variety of group, outing and special packages. Promotional nights also are a staple at Canal Park, as are summer fireworks on Saturdays.
Canal Park features seven concession areas, a team shop and 25 suites, many available for nightly rental.
As the Indians’ AA affiliate, it’s not unusual to find a member of the big-league club playing for the Ducks on rehabilitation assignment following an injury.
For more information about the team, stadium tickets and all things RubberDucks, visit akronrubberducks.com.
BY TIM BOTOS
The only place in Ohio to watch women’s professional fast-pitch softball is at nearby Firestone Stadium.
Since 1999, it has been home to the Akron Racers. It is one of five teams that make up the National Pro Fastpitch league. Team rosters are filled with former college and Japanese league players and U.S. national team members or Olympians, such as Cat Osterman, who pitches for the USSSA Pride, based in Kissimmee, Florida.
The Racers open their home season June 11, a Thursday night, against the Pennsylvania Rebellion. In all, the Racers play 25 games in Akron and 22 on the road, through August 11.
Single-game tickets range from $7 to $11 apiece. There also is a variety of group, special outing, packages and season-ticket options. The 90-year-old stadium, at S. Main Street and Wilbeth Road in the Firestone Park neighborhood, features three concession areas. And after each game, players from both teams spend about 10 minutes signing autographs along the right-field foul-line fence.
For more information about the team, stadium and all things Racers, visit akronracers.org.
For the avid hikers and adventurers, Hocking Hills State Park (thehockinghills.org) awaits. There’s plenty to do in this picturesque landscape in Logan, Ohio. There are plenty of trails for hiking and biking, along with beautiful caves, cliffs and waterfalls. Make it a few-day trip and rent a cabin or cottage. Camping also is available on the grounds.
TAKE A RIDE
Try a different approach to seeing a national park. Take a ride along the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) as you see the sites of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The train takes off from several locations and at multiple times. Check the calendar at cvsr.com for special events.
ONE WITH NATURE
Located in Garrettsville, Ohio, Nelson’s Ledges Quarry Park (nlqp.com) is a nature-lover’s dream come true. The park is complete with a beach and 250 acres for hiking, biking and exploring. It also boasts picnic areas, charcoal grills, a large playground area, a stage that doubles as a pavilion, a full basketball court, sand volleyball court, a game room and much more. Get away from your hectic lifestyle and enjoy some technology-free time in nature.
TRY YOUR LUCK
Grab some friends and head out for an evening of fun. Try your luck at one of these casinos: Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland (caesars.com/horseshoe-cleveland), Hardrock Rocksino in Northfield Park (hrrocksinonorthfieldpark.com), Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort in West Virginia (moreatmountaineer.com) or ThistleDown Racino in Cleveland (caesars.com/thistledown).
Can’t get enough of First Fridays? Give second Friday a try! Each month, Tremont has an ArtWalk, in which local artists and art are highlighted. From its start 20 years ago, Tremont Artwalk (tremontartwalk.com) has grown a lot. Monthly participation now includes almost 30 restaurants, pubs, galleries, museums, churches, social clubs, boutiques and specialty merchants. Tremont ArtWalk occurs the second Friday of each month in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland. Come for the art, and enjoy much more. Many locations on the ArtWalk route offer special deals during the ArtWalk. Get a mini mani/pedi at Addictions Salon and Spa or have some ice cream at Tremont Scoops. Stop in for live music and a drink at Edison’s Pub or try some edible art at Lilly Handmade Chocolates. For $10, get an instant 5” x 7” photo to commemorate the evening at Lovejoy Photography.