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.
There is nothing run-of-the-mill about Idle-Hour Ranch. With more than 200 animals, including 40+ species, the Iddings family's exotic menagerie has grown quite a bit over the years. Guests to the ranch can meet one of its most beloved residents, Sam the giraffe, or catch glimpses of mountain lions and peacocks. Open to visitors on the weekend, various attractions include a mini farm market, a safari-themed corn maze, and face painting.
You won't find much in the way of chemicals and surgical implements at Richfield Natural Health Center, whose therapists believe that natural and preventative healthcare is the answer to most afflictions. Given their results, it's difficult to argue. They work closely with clients and their physicians, developing custom plans to help tackle issues ranging from stress to chronic pain. Through treatments such as reflexology and elemental aromatherapy, they help clients relax more effectively than squeezing a pillow or screaming into a stress ball.
The Butterfly House fills its lush indoor botanical garden with more than a thousand butterflies, creating a tranquil and meditative space for guests to relax and take in the wonderful natural variety present in a single order of organisms. Representing diverse species from the Americas and Asia, this well-traveled population of lepidopterans likes to flutter about, sipping nectar and basking in the sun, much like revelers at an international beach party. Since butterflies live for a fleeting two to three weeks, the facility brings in more creatures and new species regularly, making each visit unique. The knowledgeable staff helps patrons learn about every stage of this magnificent creature’s life cycle, from its awkward pupa days to the search for a mate and, in twilight, retirement from its professional nectar-collecting career to pursue a nectar-collecting hobby.
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.