Summit County holds secrets of Western Reserve history, the magical Brandywine Falls and a wonderous menagerie at the Akron Zoo
Summit Coaunty and Greater Akron Ohio, offer groups abundant history and memorable adventures.
“Summit County is full of wonderful attractions that offer a unique experience for visitors to the area. At the ASCVB, our goal is to ensure that visitors are aware of these opportunities so they can enjoy their time here to the fullest,” said Mary Tricaso, vice president of sales at the ASCVB.
Here are three fantastic must-see sites to discover when exploring the Greater Akron area.
Akron Zoo in Ohio
The Akron Zoo is a beloved menagerie of more than 1,000 exotic animals from around the world. Themed sections allow groups to uncover over 100 different species and ecosystems from North and South America, Africa, Asia and beyond.
Dating back to the early 1900s, the property was gifted to the City of Akron by Perkins Woods Park. Its purpose was for ‘the enjoyment of children.’ Humble beginnings entailed two donated brown bears and a modest facility for the times. Many incorporations over the years including a small museum of Natural History in 1950, and a major expansion in 1953 to include the Akron Children’s Zoo. In 1980, the City of Akron would house one of the country’s first zoos to privatize and become a non-profit organization.
Today, visitors can safely get up close to wild creatures like jaguars, grizzly bears, reptiles, monkeys, sea life, exotic birds, lions and many more species. Throughout the park, see brightly colored plants like canna lilies and Chinese wisteria. Or find relief from the warm sunshine under a paperbark maple.
Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Brandywine Falls is a 65-foot waterfall within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The falls cascade into the Brandywine Gorge putting on a spectacular performance. Visitors can take the boardwalk to an upper viewing area where epic photo ops await. Or take 80 steps to the lower viewing deck and witness the power of the falls from below. It’s a short walk from the trailhead which provides restrooms and picnic areas.
Brandywine Village was a new beginning for New England families in the 1800s. The area is a portion of the Western Reserve, America’s frontier during that period. Early settlers utilized the powerful falls for saw, grist and woolen mills. Only small traces of the village remain, be sure to visit the Inn at Brandywine Falls, built in 1848, for more history.
Hale Farm & Village
Much of the Western Reserve history is preserved at Hale Farm & Village. This living history museum is operated by the Western Reserve Historical Society and showcases 19th century life on the land.
Jonathan Hale and his family made the 646-mile journey to the 500 acres of Ohio land he purchased in 1810. Known as the Western Reserve, 150 years and three generations of the Hale family cultivated and made the land home in the Cuyahoga Valley. In 1956, Hale’s great granddaughter would hand over the farm to the Western Reserve Historical Society for future preservation. Historic buildings were relocated to the property to offer Western Reserve history to the public. There are 34 structures including eight built by the Hale family on the property open to visitors.
Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau