Running Spree jogs into third year
Beginning June 1, the third annual Metro Parks Running Spree will include a number of natural-surface and paved trails for beginning, intermediate and advanced runners that can be completed for credit.
But don't worry: You don't have to be speedy to earn spree rewards.
"The Running Spree is not a race," assured Summit Metro Parks spokesperson Nathan Eppink. "It's meant to encourage our visitors to be outside and get exercise. You can run, jog or walk-run on the trails. Your time, your form -- none of that matters."
Each participant who finishes at least six runs on any combination of select trails by Aug. 31 will earn a wooden race medal on a commemorative ribbon. Eppink said the medals are similar to those offered by the Akron Marathon Race Series, and the spree is a great way to train for the June, August and September events.
Forms will be available starting Memorial Day weekend at runningspree.summitmetroparks.org, at several Metro Parks locations and all Acme Fresh Market stores in Summit County. Rewards for the spree are free to Summit County residents. Out-of-county residents will pay $10 for their rewards.
For more information, visit the website or call 330-865-8065.
Memorial Day hours
The visitors center at F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm (1828 Smith Rd., Akron) will welcome visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Memorial Day, May 29. The Liberty Park Nature Center, 9999 Liberty Road in Twinsburg, will be closed.
Regular hours for the Nature Realm building (330-865-8065) are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Regular hours for the Liberty Park center (330-487-0493) are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
In observance of the federal holiday, the Summit Metro Parks administrative offices (975 Treaty Line Rd., Akron) will be closed May 29. Park offices will reopen Tuesday, May 30 at 8 a.m. For more information, visit summitmetroparks.org.
World Turtle Day is May 21
World Turtle Day is a time to celebrate our slow-moving reptilian friends. Join Summit Metro Parks Naturalist Becca Zak May 21 from noon to 3 p.m. to learn about local turtles at the Liberty Park Nature Center, 9999 Liberty Road in Twinsburg.
"You can get up close to turtles from our area, make a craft, play turtle-related games and learn about conservation efforts," Zak said.
Park biologist Ramsey Langford said there are seven different kinds of turtles that live in the Metro Parks. The most common type is the midland painted turtle, which can be identified by red markings on its side edges, neck and legs. The most rare is the spotted turtle. This small-sized species is known for yellow spots on its shell. Population numbers are low due to the illegal pet trade, loss of habitat and its difficulties with the reproduction cycle.
World Turtle Day is celebrated annually May 23 and sponsored by American Tortoise Rescue, a non-profit group dedicated to the protection of all turtle and tortoise species.
For more information about the program, call 330-865-8065 or visit summitmetroparks.org. To learn more about American Tortoise Rescue, visit tortoise.com.
Mountain bikearea openhouse is May 20
Whether they own a bike or not, local adventure seekers can explore several miles of mountain bike trails May 20.
That's when Summit Metro Parks will host several cycling shops in the Hampton Hills Mountain Bike Area, 2092 Theiss Road, Akron, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
The shops, including Blimp City Bike and Hike in Akron, Century Cycles in Peninsula, Eddy's Bike Shop in Stow and Falls Wheel and Wrench in Cuyahoga Falls, will have adult loaner bikes for use, for free, during the event.
A rain date is scheduled for June 3. Event updates will be shared via Twitter (@SMPmountainbike) and on the park district's seasonal info line at 330-865-8060.
The Mountain Bike Area is on land leased from the city of Akron. It features beginner, moderate and intermediate trails. A little more than 7 miles of one-way and two-way trails have been completed. When the area is finalized in several years, Hampton Hills Metro Park may include up to 16 total miles of trails exclusively for mountain bikers. Hiking is not permitted in the Mountain Bike Area.
For more information, visit summitmetroparks.org.
May hikesin the park
- Hear nature stories in Liberty Park at the Nature Center, 9999 Liberty Road in Twinsburg, May 17 from 9:30 to 10 a.m. Young children and their adult companions can enjoy this interactive, nature-inspired story time intended for ages 18 months to 3 years. Advance registration is required, call 330-865-8065.
- What's Wild in the Woods? Stop by the play area at the Liberty Park Nature Center, 9999 Liberty Road in Twinsburg, to find out. All ages can ngage in fun, hands-on experiences with nature. A naturalist will be present to help guide people. Getting dirty is encouraged, so dress appropriately. For information, call 330-865-8065.
- Learn about the history of the Gorge in Cuyahoga Falls May 18 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Meet at the main entrance to the Gorge Metro Park, 1160 Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls. Learn about past hidden treasures of the Gorge and discover some that are still here today. For information, call 330-865-8065.
- Learn about the geology of the Gorge, 1160 Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls, May 20 from 10 a.m. to noon. Join a naturalist to walk Glens Trail and learn how the Gorge was formed, including the different types of rock layers found there. For information, call 330-865-8065.
- Pre-teen Yoga will be May 20 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Liberty Park Nature Center, 9999 Liberty Road in Twinsburg. Join a certified yoga instructor to disconnect from the stresses of school and extracurricular activities by reconnecting to nature through yoga.
Weather permitting, this class will be outside. Wear comfortable clothing, bring a yoga mat or towel and water. For information, call 330-865-8065.
- A Riverday Walk Through Time will be May 20 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the High Bridge Glens Park, 1817 Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls. Enjoy an easy hike in the Upper Gorge. Meet at the restored site of a 19th Century park that was once Northeast Ohio's most-visited attraction, and see the results of dam removal elsewhere on the Cuyahoga River. For information, call 330-865-8065.
- A dog walking hike will be May 28 from 10 to 11 a.m. at Wood Hollow Metro Park, 2121 Barlow Road in Hudson. Follow a naturalist with your "Metro Pooch" for a laid back walk on Downy Loop Trail. Dogs must remain on leashes (8-foot max) at all times. For information, call 330-865-8065.