The momentum of Akron Children’s Museum, whose doors opened in late 2016, has touched the lives of families in Akron as a cornerstone for play and learning. Downtown Akron’s flourishing arts and culture, civic and community engagement, and a family-friendly network generated by Lock 3 has proven to be the perfect space for the organization. Akron Children’s Museum’s presence has been so well received; a 3,000-foot expansion of the nonprofit museum is on the horizon.
The November unveiling of the Monster Mission Course, a ninja inspired obstacle course, highlights the museum’s integration of exhibits that reflect its pillars of health and wellness. With exciting initiatives of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education, the anticipated 3,000-foot expansion at the Akron Children’s Museum includes a STEAM learning lab that will double as a private party room. An expansion of the Wind and Air Exhibit will allow experimentation with Wind Tunnels on a significantly larger scale. The museum currently offers weekly STEAM Workshops on Saturdays from 1 to 2 p.m.
While promoting wellness and STEAM education is a delight to any parent’s ear, family event programming provides unique opportunities for parents and children to explore specific interests. The second annual All Aboard the Akron Express event will take place at the museum Saturday and Sunday, March 28 and 29. The train-themed family event offers interactive play stations and will involve representatives from the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
“We anticipate future relationships and collaborations with Summit County,” Executive Director Traci Buckner predicts, as she discussed the elevated role of the Akron Children’s Museum in Downtown Akron.
Buckner emphasized the intention to create greater accessibility, noting that offering discounted or possible waived rates in the future to qualifying demographics is something the Akron Children’s Museum aims to accomplish. Akron Kids Fest, June 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is a free children’s festival with STEAM related activities to connect kids and teens in the Akron community. In addition, ACM 2020 Summer Camps include Camp Creativity and LEGO & Lux Blox STEM Camp.
Camp Creativity, held from June 15 through 19 (ages 6 to 8), and June 22 to 26 (ages 9 to 12), will connect campers with professional artists and authors to create their very own literary masterpiece. LEGO & Lux Blox STEM Camp, held July 13 through 17 (ages 8 to 12), will offer innovative STEM activities and problem-solving challenges to campers. Akron families have expressed their enthusiasm about the summer camps, which aim to champion their children’s abilities.
The museum also has pioneered an itinerary that leaves no parent behind by generating exclusive programming for parents who deserve the chance to cultivate their community. Every first Wednesday, a Mommy Mix and Mingle is held from 10 a.m. to noon. Complimentary coffee and breakfast items are provided while Moms, Dads and caregivers have the opportunity to connect.
Buckner smiled as she described touchstones of the area surrounding the museum. In a short distance, families can to travel with ease from the Akron Art Museum to Lock 3, and from The Lockview or The Peanut Shoppe back to Canal Park for a RubberDucks game. For Akron families, the Akron Children’s Museum has become home base.
The ACM’s capital campaign, initiated May 31, 2019, has a goal of reaching $500,000 in 2020. To support the exciting development at Akron Children’s Museum, donations may be submitted electronically through Akronkids.org (click Support to contribute) or addressed to 216 S Main St.