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.
Although The Canal Fulton Glassworks opened in 2009, the timber-framed structure that it inhabits was built nearly two centuries ago. Inside, the business has transformed its historic dwelling into a modern-day showcase of Ohio-based artists, with more than 3,000 handmade works on display, from glass and ceramics to furniture and paintings. The gallery also shares its artistic prowess with the community during hands-on classes, including glass-making workshops that focus on paperweights, pendants, and beads.
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.
Paula Atwell wasn't born an artist. She didn't pursue any art form in college, instead achieving a degree in English and a minor in accounting. After logging years in standard 9–5 jobs, she had an epiphany—it was time to do something for herself. Taking this newfound motivation to action, Paula enrolled in a beading class and followed it with forays into metalsmithing, crafting, and soldering. These experiments in creativity led her to join the Lake Erie Artists co-op in 2003, where she began to show her eclectic jewelry at their booth during local festivals. When the co-op became incorporated in 2005, Paula's business world experience made her an obvious choice to lead the diverse group of artists in forming their own gallery. Today, the co-op-turned-gallery now carries hundreds of art pieces that span a range of media. Producing blown-glass sculptures and handcrafted metal jewelry and pottery, the artists each specialize in a few select media as decided during the gallery's annual game of spin-the-paintbrush. The staff at Lake Erie Artists Gallery is also a strong proponent of local business, encouraging their patrons to browse Shake Square after looking at their wares. In project-oriented classes taught by working artists, students explore jewelry and painting and leave with their handcrafted pieces.
Earning a nod as Best Art Gallery in the Akron-Canton area from Fox 8’s Hot List in 2009 and a nomination for the Wooster 2010 Small Business Award, the custom framers at Gallery in the Vault apply an artist’s eye and an aesthetician’s touch to every project, spiffing up everything from reality-TV-star posters to their specialty, illuminated manuscripts. Employing local artists and visiting talent from around the world, Gallery in the Vault has earned a reputation for framing illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages, dating as far back as 1200 AD. Their artisans developed a unique technique to make both sides of the hand-calligraphied pages visible and capable of lively conversation. Print-owners with other framing needs can choose from an array of techniques, materials, and artist accents. Prices vary based on print sizes and customer preferences. For example, the Vault’s technicians can enhance an 11"x14" print of a ferret in a floppy hat with a 17"x20" gold frame ($150), gold fillet molding ($45), and a green cotton mat ($25). Along with the glass front ($22), fitting ($20), and other mounting materials ($10), the project would run about $272.