Top Family Outings in Akron

Akron, Ohio isn’t the hub of the rubber industry like it was throughout much of the 20th century. The city has tried to reinvent itself as a center for polymer science and as the home of the Inventors Hall of Fame. Despite the city’s troubles, it has a wide array of fun activities for young families.

1. Ice Skating –Akron and one of its suburbs, Cuyahoga Falls, each built an ice skating rink for the winter of 2004-05. Both of them are spacious, but the Akron rink is cheaper and located within Lock 3 Park, which is a more pastoral setting than the concrete Falls River Square area. Kent State University has an indoor rink if the weather is awful, but it’s nearly 30 minutes away from downtown Akron.

2. Concerts – Cuyahoga Falls has a series of free family concerts at the Falls River Square Amphitheater every Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Cuyahoga Falls also offers a Rockin’ On the River series every Friday during the summer, but everyone is there for the express purpose of drinking beer. Sundays; however, is a great time to bring the family out for an outing. The music is always free, Papa John’s sets up a pizza stand and bring the bathing suits because kids and adults love to cool off in Cuyahoga Falls fountains. Akron brings in slightly bigger acts, charging money for them, at Lock 3 Park. The local spot for national-act concerts is Blossom Music Center. Blossom is a great venue with a pavilion and a lawn for indoor/outdoor concert enjoyment.

3. Akron Reading Festival – Akron has also been trying to reinvent itself as The City That Reads. The city stages a reading event each year where as many citizens as possible read a book on the same day. The reading festival takes place on Sept. 16 at Lock 3 Live. More than 70 authors will be there to sign and speak about their books. The event also features plays, music and crafts for the kids, so it makes for a great family outing.

4. Swimming – Akron has a host of swimming options for the city’s short but humid summer. Many of the parks in Cuyahoga Falls have free wading pools which are perfect to cool off young children. The Natatorium in Cuyahoga Falls was remodeled in the fall of 2004. It features a large kids area, a three-story waterslide and a lap-pool area. Many people like the lake swimming setting that Munroe Falls Park provides. If you want to visit a big water park, Dover Lake Park is the place to go. It has a wave pool, several regular waterslides and an enormous series of pools and slides that take about 10 minutes to get through.

5. Rib festivals – Akron has a big downtown Rib Festival every year around the Fourth of July. It has an outstanding selection of food and great music. Try to go on the first day, which is a preview day, because the admission is free that day. Cuyahoga Falls has a smaller Barbeque at Falls River Square on the second weekend in September.

6. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a definitely a hit for Akron’s top family outing for a long hike or bike trip. The Park has several entrances, pavilions and hiking trails. The park also runs a Polar Express train ride during November and December.

7. Skate Parks –
Downview Sports Center in Cuyahoga Falls has a skate park right next to a gorgeous miniature golf course. So it works for big and little kids alike. Akron Skate Park opened in 2001 and is another spacious skating area.

8. Baseball –
The Cleveland Indians are the big team among the local fans, but there is good deal of live action in the city of Akron. The Aeros are the AA affiliate of the Indians, and the play at gorgeous Canal Park in downtown Akron. Seats and food are affordable, and the fans are very close to the action. Try to catch a game with a fireworks show afterwards, because the pyrotechnics are not minor-league. Also, the Akron Racers play fast-pitch softball at the recently refurbished Firestone Stadium. Also, you can catch old-time vintage baseball at Stan Hywet Hall in the summer. The players suit up in period costumes and play by the rules of the 1800s. The umpire teaches the rules and instructs the fans when to cheer “Huzzah!”

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