The eco-stewards at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes work to conserve a natural bundle of lakes, streams, marshes, fields, ravines, and forests on the lush site's 20 acres, in addition to teaching environmental-education classes and hosting community-building events. The household membership contributes to the cause and nets families a grab bag of nature-center goodies, including discounts on programs and workshops, facility rentals, and early registration for all outdoor adventure camps. Lapsed naturalists can hopscotch along two trails, where flora such as sycamores, hickory, and sassafras surround the habitats of raccoons, red-tailed hawks, red foxes, Redd Foxx, and salamanders. Or feel free to spy on the flight patterns of local birds; the Audubon Society dubbed Shaker Lakes as an Important Bird Area for its population of autonomous aviators.
Few bars can boast a brunch menu as notable as their pours. But Around the Corner’s hot coconut cakes nabbed it a spot on _Cleveland Magazine_’s 30 Best Breakfast Dishes in 2012. Inspired by head chef Sonny Zarlis’s Indonesian upbringing, the light, crispy pancakes include coconut milk, a touch of Coco Lopez, and grated coconut on top—his mother’s recipe. But when morning fades to night and the sun becomes a mere puddle of butter in the sky, the eatery fills the brunch-shaped hole in customers’ bellies with a dinner menu of burgers, wings, and fajitas. Accompanied by local and craft beers, meals unfold amid live music and TV screens.
Fairview Park Recreation Department at the Gemini Center hosts an impressive array of classes—20 each week. They take advantage of the brand new facility's amenities, holding spinning classes in dedicated cycling rooms or teaching aquatic skills in the aerobic studio. They also hold outdoor classes during summer months, taking advantage of the sunshine and green lawns. "It's great to see members push themselves and have fun while doing it," reports the Center's group-exercise coordinator.
Beyond fitness instruction, they also use the facility to host summer camps, athletic leagues, and families looking for a day at the pool. They even built a second pool, exclusively for leisure, with waterslides, a lazy river, and submerged beauty parlors.
When Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he imagined a much-coveted golden ticket that granted access to myriad wonders and unveiled the inner workings of an entire industry. Adele Fridman, founder of MetaBody, created a real-life version of that ticket with her MetaBody Yoga & Fitness Pass, though it applies to fitness instead of candy. The pass grants access not to a single gym but to classes at a variety of local studios, specializing in everything from yoga to boot camp. With the freedom to move from location to location, students can sample different regimens, instructors, and styles of exercise to cobble together a program that fits their needs and goals. MetaBody's nutritionists supplement class packages by coaching clients in healthy eating, recipe cooking, and speed-reading nutrition-fact labels.
Equipment: TRX, free weights, kettle bells, battle ropes, speed and agility equipment
Average class length: 30-60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Good for beginners: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Come through the door with a personal goal in mind to achieve at each session.
Runners lace up for a half-marathon quest through some of Stark County's most splendorous scenery. Launching from the Massillon Recreational Center, the marathon charters along the Cuyahoga river and across 3 miles of undulating hills before the final stretch—the flat and steadfast terrain of the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath—where runners gape at natural and manmade marvels before dashing across the finish line at the Second Sole shoe store.