Summer is in full swing, and school is practically a distant memory by now! If you’re looking for ways to fill your kids’ newfound free time with fun, enriching—dare we say, even educational—outings, we’ve got you covered. Read on for some of our best ideas to keep the kids entertained while enjoying family time in downtown Akron.
Above: Interior of the Akron Children's Museum
1. Akron Children’s Museum
The Akron Children’s Museum opened in 2016 and is a gathering space for children and families where play inspires exploration, discovery, and problem-solving. The museum houses nearly 20 interactive exhibits for kids to learn and play, such as a farm-to-table exhibit that helps children understand how food moves from farms to stores to the kitchen table. Information about this and other exhibits, as well as about exciting new expansions coming to the museum, can be found on their website.
Above: The Akron Zoo (Photo: Shane Wynn)
2. Akron Zoo
Aside from being home to animals from around the world, the Akron zoo prioritizes education and important conservation work that helps save animals from extinction and fight climate change. They’re the third zoo in the past 50 years to receive a ‘clean’ accreditation inspection from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Accreditation Commission, which is a pretty big deal. The zoo is also the second zoo in the nation to have become inclusive to kids (and adults) who have sensory processing needs. Visit the zoo to see over 1,000 animals and participate in special kid friendly events, such as Zoo Camp, Summer Nights, and more.
Above: Families enjoying an Akron RubberDucks game (Photo: Provided by the Akron RubberDucks)
3. Baseball Games
The Akron RubberDucks’ tagline is “Affordable. Family. Fun.” for a reason: It’s a perfect summer outing for people of all ages! Games are packed with family fun promotions, and many weekend home games are followed by dazzling fireworks displays. So take your kids to watch Akron’s very own minor baseball team in action at Canal Park Stadium. The whole family is guaranteed to have a good time.
Above: Children participating in art activities at the Akron-Summit County Public Library (Photo: Shane Wynn)
4. The Library
Remember what it felt like to go to the library on a summer day when you were a kid? It was magic, ripe with potential for a thousand different adventures within the pages of books on the shelves. Give your kids the opportunity to feel that, too! In addition to having literally millions of books (and other media) available to borrow, the library holds programming for kids of all ages—seriously, from babies to teenagers—every week. From Messy Art Mondays and Summer Thursday Afternoon Movies to Tween Lit Loot Boxes and Baby Time, the library has something for everyone. Check out their website for an extensive list of free, kid friendly events and to register.
Above: A family enjoying a Skate Night on Cascade Plaza (Photo: DAP Staff)
5. Family Skate Night on the Plaza & Movie Night at Lock 3
This summer, Lock 3 is hosting free family movie nights every Sunday at 8:45 p.m. They’ll be showing films like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Zootopia, Encanto, Lilo & Stitch, and more. Bring a blanket or chairs and enjoy the show. On select Lock 3 family movie nights, DAP will host Family Skate Nights on Cascade Plaza from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., during which families can enjoy coordinated movie-themed skating ahead of the show. Not to mention, there will be food, beverages, and music!
Above: Families dancing on Cascade Plaza (Photo: Tim Fitzwater)
6. Playdate on the Plaza
On select Saturday mornings this summer, join us on Cascade Plaza for Playdate on the Plaza, a series of kid-focused, adult friendly dance fitness classes by ArtSparks. In addition to the dance class, there will be lawn games, food, and drinks available. Learn more about Playdate on the Plaza on our website.
Above: Panoramic view of the Akron Art Museum (Photo: Joe Levack)
7. Akron Art Museum Family Activities
Who says high art has to be for adults? The Akron Art Museum offers a variety of family and kid friendly programming that encourages people of all ages to nurture their creativity, learn about art, and spend time together as a family. There will be a family day July 10, which will consist of a Kids Maker Fair in the Garden, and an outdoor movie night in September. The museum also has an Open Studio in its lobby, which offers sensory activities for babies, messy art materials for school-age kids, and art opportunities for adults. Aside from these predominantly kid-specific activities, admission to the museum is always free to visitors under the age of 18. Learn more about the art museum’s family programming on their website.
Above: Robots at Clayton Bailey's World of Wonders (Photo: Joe Levack)
8. Clayton Bailey’s World of Wonders
Human-sized robots, Big Foot bones, and a slew of other curiosities: what could be more fascinating to onlookers of all ages? Ceramic and metal artist Clayton Bailey has created a museum’s worth of artifacts that, according to Rick Rogers, founder of Curated Storefront, offers “ongoing commentary on some of our greatest fears and fascinations during the Sixties and Seventies—from pollution to space exploration.” Not to mention, the exhibitions are simply really freakin’ cool. Visit the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology to marvel at the mythical creations of Clayton Bailey’s World of Wonders: Kaolithic Curiosities. Visit the Polsky Building (accessible from Main Street) to be dazzled by legendary robots at World of Wonders: Mechanical Molecules. Learn more on Curated Storefront’s website.
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