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.
For just a moment, visitors to Colasanti's Tropical Gardens might believe they've been whisked away to Madagascar: the call of ring-tailed lemurs and the squawk of parrots echoes around acres of exotic plants. And yet this tropical locale is nestled much closer to home—just outside of Kingsville. The 35-acre family farm keeps visitors entertained year-round with 15 temperature-controlled greenhouses filled with flowering equatorial plants and cacti, a petting farm that brings kids face-to-face with foreign animals without having to go through an ambassador, and carnival attractions.
Who They Are
In 1924, at the age of 22, Italian-born Aleutario Colasanti followed his dreams of a better life to Kingsville. Facing anti-immigrant sentiments and financial trouble, Alex only worked harder to eke out a living as a farmer. On a fateful trip to Detroit in 1932, he met—and fell in love with—Emma Colagiavanni. Despite her parents' protests, they eloped and started a family, and in 1941, they settled on what would soon become the Colasanti farm. Beginning with just one greenhouse and a small fruit stand, the family's operation grew over the next 30 years to host vegetables, exotic fruit trees, and a conspicuous lack of albatrosses. Though Alex and Emma have since passed, their legacy lives on through their grandchildren and the expansive Colasanti's Tropical Gardens.