Founded in 1953, the Akron Zoo is an accredited world conservation zoo situated on 50 acres and home to more than 700 animals. Explore this multi-faceted menagerie by visiting the zoo’s six unique zones. In Legends of the Wild, kids and adults alike can come face-to-snout with over 20 animal species, including snow leopards and jaguars, or opt for a staring contest with wide-eyed lemurs. The Akron Zoo houses Humboldt penguins as part of the Species Survival Plan in a cooperative effort with other zoos. African lions and red pandas roam through Tiger Valley and Asian Trail, while thick-billed parrots and burrowing owls coexist in the Wild Prairie. The ten aquariums located in Komodo Kingdom's Rhythm of the Blue allow you to marvel at the subaqueous adventures of seven species of jellyfish, who spend their time mining gold jelly from a jelly mine and hanging out with a much taller, pale-skinned jelly princess.
Vehicles leisurely roll across African Safari Wildlife Park's landscape, yielding to a host of friendly creatures. Camels, giraffes, zebras, forest-dwelling bongos, Asian sika deer, and Scottish highland cows await you. Guests can hold cups filled with feed, which exotic muzzles devour, and a walking area provides an up-close look at enclosed species such as the rare white alligator. Warm-weather months bring out additional activities, including animal rides, pig races, and educational animal shows where guests can interact with small animals. Food and beverages from African Safari's ice-cream shop, snack bar, and grill help sate midday hungers caused by watching a guanaco sneeze.
The smells of hay and freshly picked apples mingle with the shouts of children on the annual Erie Shores Farm Tour. An organized event between four very different, yet equally welcoming, farm facilities, the self-guided tour encompasses fall foods and a range of harvest-themed activities. Hillcrest Orchards welcomes visitors with attractions such as hayrides, a corn maze, and pedal carts, while staff at Dostall Farms lead their guests on a guided tour of their humane meat-processing facility, where animals are fed only grass or corn. The event ends with a prize drawing at Matus Winery, where staff also give a guided tour of the wine-making facilities, including the giant barrel where the winemakers sleep every night. To ensure participants don't lose their ways, Erie Shores Farm Tour provides a complimentary map and suggested travel routes between locations.
A full-service bed and breakfast, Pine Lakes Lodge combines the creature comforts of luxury living with the rustic beauty of 500 acres of forested hills. The 11,000-square-foot log-cabin lodge boasts five comfortably adorned suites ($150–$250/night) with private Jacuzzi tubs, making it an ideal setting for romantic weekend getaways and three quaintly rustic cabins await to welcome adventurous families or modern Whig-party conventions ($145–$250/night). While lodge rooms swathe newly burgeoning outdoorsmen in modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, wireless Internet, plush robes, and concierge service, semirugged individualists will appreciate the cabins' pastoral perks including a fire pit and wood, cookware and dishes, kettles that whistle "The Ballad of Davy Crockett", and a propane grill (cabins also come equipped with standard TVs and DVD players).