Growing up in Northeast Ohio, you better believe I frequented the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. As an avid animal lover who would take in any and every creature I encountered, zoos and aquariums have always held a soft spot in my heart.
When my husband and I relocated to Akron, I was surprised to hear they had their own zoo. Apparently, this realization was shared amongst our families because when we told my father-in-law we were going to check it out he joked that it was probably just a few dogs and cats in some guy’s backyard. As it turns out, he couldn’t have been more wrong—so wrong, in fact, that we ended up buying a family membership for the year.
The Akron Zoo is the perfect size for families with young children. I have a 16-month-old, Elden, and his attention span leaves room to be desired. One of my favorite parts about the Akron Zoo is its vibe and size. Its exhibits are beautiful and true to the animals’ habitats and its moderate size minimize any feeling that you need to rush through to see everything.
The zoo’s newest addition —Mike & Mary Stark Grizzly Ridge— features bald eagles, grizzly bears, river otters (with a clear slide for the kiddos that actually runs through the enclosure), coyotes, red wolves, and an incredible walk-in aviary. Elden loves the slide in the otter exhibit and we often take several turns on it. Just a little bit up the path from Grizzly Ridge is the most adorable petting zoo where you can feed the sheep and goats.
For the botanical enthusiast, the Akron Zoo also has the most incredible garden (seriously) that even the greenest of thumbs would be envious of. In addition to all of the exhibits, there are several other hands-on areas that kids are guaranteed to love. The zoo has a train, carousel, slides, play houses, and a touch pool in their aquarium—that’s right, Akron Zoo also has an aquarium with the most beautiful tanks that include jellyfish, seahorses, and an octopus.
There are several locations throughout the zoo that you can purchase food and drink, but they also allow you to bring in a cooler if you’d prefer. To say we love this zoo would be an understatement. There have been months that we visit every single weekend and we never grow tired of it. Just be warned that if you take your toddler on their carousel there is a significant chance he will throw an epic tantrum at the injustice of the world when it comes to an end.
SEE ALSO: Family Fall Activities in Northeast Ohio
Danielle is a young wife, mom, engineer, and blogger who records her never-ending struggle to balance it all at www.youngnotpowerless.com. She is a Cleveland native who relocated to Chicago for college, only to realize that there was nowhere she’d rather be than Ohio.