Hampton Hills Metro Park

Hampton Hills Metro Park is one of the larger parks in the Akron system at 665 acres. Many of the features of the Hampton Hills Metro Park were formed during the ice age via glacial movement. One such feature is the Adam Run Valley which was home to more than one Native American tribes prior to European settlement in the early 1800’s. The trails are surrounded oak, elm, sycamore and black walnut trees which are the homes of many varieties of birds and other wildlife.

Hampton Hills is well known for spring wildflower viewing. Other featured flora includes several types of ferns and mushrooms. Also, a strange plant called scouring rush lives near the banks of the stream. There is also a man-made flora feature—a grove of white pine, which was planted by a girl scout troop in the 1960’s.

Located in the “Top O’ the World Area” of Hampton Hills Metro Park is the old Adam’s family homestead. The farm fields now lay fallow and have become the home for meadow plants like milkwort, ironweed, Queen Anne’s lace, goldenrod and aster. The area is also home to many butterflies who live among the native plants.

Many birds will hang around the trees and shrubs hunting for insects, including Bluebirds and woodcocks. One may also see wild turkeys. Red-tailed hawks will be seen circling the meadows keeping an eye out for the voles and mice that live in the meadow.

The park includes two of the more challenging hiking trails in the Metro Parks. Both of which have seasonal streams crossing them, making the trails hard to use without getting wet feet!

Lastly, the park maintains a public archery range. The targets are maintained by the park, all other equipment must be brought in by patrons.

Akron Art Museum Presents: Open World, an Exhibit Inspired by Video Games

Millions of people world-wide play video games. Some of these gamers are also visual artists. Even so, the contemporary art world has rarely explored the influence of video games on current visual art.

The exhibit Open World, curated and presented at the Akron Museum of Art, seeks to explore the culture of video games through works including sculpture, painting, prints, textiles, drawings, video games, animation, modded video games, and performances.

Open World treats patrons with artworks which focus on all kinds of video games—everything from early text-based games, to classic arcade games to modern MMORPGs (that’s massively multi-player online role-playing game for the uninitiated) and the ever-popular first-person shooter. Artists included in the exhibit draw their inspiration from some of the most beloved franchises worldwide such as Final Fantasy, The Sims, Super Mario Bros. and the Legend of Zelda.

The exhibition’s namesake is in reference to games that employ an “open-world” platform in which players can, sometimes endlessly, roam the virtual world of the game free of any particular quest or mission. “Open world” also stands for the voice given to players and creators by means of the immense and unfamiliar worlds in which gamers and creators make themselves heard.

As does the exhibit, video games offer and encourage a unique viewpoints through diverse characters and encourage critical thinking.
The exhibit is in place until February 2nd.

Last Minute New Year’s Eve Idea

If you live in northeast Ohio and have just been too busy to make New Year’s Eve plans here is one fantastic, family-friendly event with something for everyone.

First Night Akron:

First Night in Akron, Ohio is a long standing tradition of indoor, family friendly entertainment hosted by local businesses. From their website:

Make plans for New Year’s Eve and join the fun in Downtown Akron. Now in its 20th year, First Night Akron is a New Year’s Eve celebration unlike any other. This family-friendly celebration of the arts brings the community together to create lasting memories. Come in out of the cold and celebrate the New Year.
On Thursday, December 31, 6 p.m.-Midnight, enjoy indoor entertainment and fun for all ages throughout Downtown Akron featuring the region’s best in music, dance, theater, visual and interactive arts.
First Night admission buttons help support the cost of the celebration and provide admission to all First Night venues on event night. The design for the button changes each year and is a unique work of art.
Past First Night Akron button artists include: Don Drumm, Mark Soppeland, Laura Ruth Bidwell, Miller Horns, Joan Colbert, Michael Ayers, Leandra Drumm, Dan Cuthbert, Janice Troutman, Martha Kaltenbach, Jon C. Lund, Linda Hutchinson, Liz Remmel, Julienne Hogarth, Maria Alejandra Zanetta, Donald E. Peoples, Judith Gaiser, Dave Szalay and Lawrence Walker.
First Night Akron is a program of Downtown Akron Partnership. Founding partners are the city of Akron and the Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com.
Entertainment and fun will delight the whole family!

Metro Bus shuttles and the Downtown Trolley are also available to shuttle you and your family around to the various events. See the First Night Akron website for details.


The massive entertainment schedule, with events running from 6pm-12am, can’t be listed here, but you can find it at: http://www.firstnightakron.org/entertainment/schedule

Admission is only $10 dollars (an admission buttons get people into all events) and is free for children under 10. Admission buttons are only available at local business’s: http://www.firstnightakron.org/admission

However you and your family choose to celebrate the coming new year, we wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!

Marbles and Industrial Revolutions in Akron, Ohio

Akron businessman Samuel C. Dyke built the foundation for the modern toy industry when he automated his factory in 1884. Toy marbles are a very old toy; however they were expensive as they were hand made one at a time. In 1884, Samuel C. Dyke opened shop on the grounds of the old lumber yard that had once been Lock 3. His factory turned out the first mass-produced toy, clay marbles.

His mass produced marbles, and other toys such as , the business made earthy miniature replicas of such items as: jugs, pots, boots, shoes, dogs and cats, revolutionized the toy industry by making toys affordable enough that many children could afford to buy them with their pocket money. When Dyke founded the American Marble & Toy Manufacturing Company it became the largest toy company operating in the United States during the nineteenth century.

Each day, the employees manufactured one million marbles. One million marbles is enough to fill five railroad box-cars. Five railroad boxcars rolling out of the factory once-a-day, filled with these clay toy marbles, made The American Marble & Toy Manufacturing Company the largest toy company to operate in the United States during the nineteenth century.

However, on one unlucky day in 1904, only thirteen years after it had been incorporated.

Akron, Ohio Helped Invent Modern Public Education

Akron, Ohio is known for many things from rubber to famous writers. But did you know that the people of Akron adopted a law that would become the foundation for the modern public school system, often referred to as the “K-12” system?

This modern model of education probably began in 1840 when Ansel Miller made the suggestion that the city ought to build free public schools for all children in the city paid for by property taxes. Initially the idea met with a lot of resistance. In 1843 Miller joined fores with Reverend Isaac Jennings. Three years later Jennings would become chairman of a committee of citizens who came together to figure out how to improve the school system.

On November 21, 1846 Akronites unanimously voted in favor of the committee’s plan, which was adopted by the Ohio State Legislature and made into law on February 8, 1847. In the fall of 1847 Akron’s first public schools, supported by property tax, were opened to the public.

The Akron School Law outlined a now-familiar system. One school district would serve the entire city. Within this district several elementary schools would serve the city and these schools would separate students into grades or classes based on individual achievement. Later on when there was demand for it a high school was also established. Property tax, as first suggested by Miller, would pay for the new school system. A community elected board would handle the budget and hiring of necessary professionals.

The State of Ohio saw the idea as such a success that in 1849 passed a state-wide law called the Ohio School Law, modeled after the idea created in Akron.

Jody Victor