In 1880, the final fasteners and sleepers on the Valley Railway were tightened into place. It wouldn’t be long before a billowing cloud of steam announced the arrival of the first train running through the Cuyahoga Valley, a territory that had served as a passageway for foot traffic for thousands of years. Over the next century, the railway contributed to the growth of commerce between Akron and Cleveland, changing ownership multiple times, and transforming from a freight train, into a passenger train, back to a freight train, and finally into a UFO.
Now celebrating its 41st year of passenger-rail service, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad transports sightseers over the historic rails through 33,000 acres of land owned by the National Park Service. With a year-round roster of trips, including wine- and beer-tasting excursions, passengers can set forth on morning, afternoon, and evening journeys that sweep past meadowlands, pinery, and rivers and give glimpses of native wildlife, such as fox, deer, bobcat mascots, and owls.
Founded in 1934, the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center is a self-supporting nonprofit that offers classes led by experienced artists to pupils of any skill level. Aspiring sculptors can jump hands first into the beginning pottery class, which includes a kiln-firing fee and a half block of clay ready to be deftly shaped into a bowl, mug, or more shapely block of clay. A sketchbook and drawing pencils are bestowed upon all who enter either drawing class, where former tracers will learn the fundamentals of elevating a flat image to realistic three-dimensionality. Classes take place at the center itself, which also contains a first-floor gallery where student and instructor work is proudly displayed–increasing your changes of being romanced by every sexy art thief in the greater Akron area. Check out a complete description of classes before registering.
With this deal, movie buffs can scarf down popcorn while watching action-packed celluloid at one of seven different locales, including Cleveland Heights' Cedar Lee Theatre, which won a Scene magazine readers' poll for Best Movie Theater. Catch a flick at the historic Capitol Theatre, nestled in the Gordon Square Arts District, a renovated three-screen spot featuring Hollywood, specialty, and 3D films. Arty cinephiles can catch an independent or foreign film at the Cedar Lee Theatre, where the concession stand slings out tasty baked goods, sandwiches, specialty coffees, and more. Many of Cleveland Cinemas' other theaters boast multiple screens, digital sound, a Groucho Marx robot that quips one-liners from the balcony, and stadium seating for ideal movie gawking.
For a quarter of a century, Fun Makers' licensed, FAA-certified pilots have guided thousands of passengers skyward during hot-air-balloon tours of Ohio's lakes, valleys, forests, and rolling plains. Pilots update their training annually to stay informed on ballooning guidelines, and each sendoff begins with a passenger orientation that briefs guests on flight basics, personal safety, and how to deflect dive-bombing ostriches. After touching back down, passengers commemorate their voyage with a champagne toast and a first-flight certificate. In addition to hot-air-balloon rides, Fun Makers' staff travels to large and small events at colleges, festivals, and churches bearing a variety of portable entertainment including rock-climbing walls, bungee trampolines, and mechanical rodeo bulls.
Sto-Kent has been wearing the CityVoter Best Bowling Facility badge of honor in Akron-Canton for the last three years. Strap on a pair of freshly sanitized bowling stilettos, find your favorite three-fingered pin-seeker, and shuffle to the greased-up lane for 20+ frames of bowling shenanigans. Once the pins have been pinsploded, head outside for a round of mini golf Sto-Kent style. Use the game to practice putting, challenge coworkers for microwave rights, or test AstroTurf's resistance to hot, steamy tears.
Fitworks is home to a dedicated cadre of certified muscle architects who guide eager physiques through intense, small group workouts. Peruse the schedule before sampling a tension-undoing yoga class or a weekend-morning muscle-pump session, ideal for prepping for an underwater bench-press that will determine the office's next round of promotions. One-hour Zumba classes harness the rhythmic power of merengue, conga, belly dancing, and more to kill calories while resuscitating sleepy toes. After classes, students can freshen up or flex unused singing muscles in Fitworks' shower facilities.