Constructed on the cusp of the Great Depression in 1929, the Akron Civic Theatre is one of only five remaining atmospheric theaters in the country, among facilities of its size, allowing patrons to experience a twinkling star-lit sky and intermittent clouds moving across the horizon, all while sitting inside the auditorium. The theater, designed by famed architect John Eberson, underwent a $22.6 million restoration that was completed in November 2002.
Today, the theater hosts live entertainment and events ranging from ballet to jazz concerts to rock performances to touring Broadway shows. Since 2003, the Civic began a partnership with the city of Akron to program and operate the Lock 3 Live! outdoor performance venue in downtown Akron, featuring more than 80 events and attractions scheduled between Memorial Day and Labor Day. More than 350,000 people attend the events each year.
Striking the Right Chord
The Akron Symphony Orchestra has been a cultural mainstay in Northeast Ohio for 60 years. Part of its programming includes the Classics Series, which attracts guest conductors and soloists with regional and national reputations. The symphony, which performs at E.J. Thomas Hall and the Akron Civic Theatre, is operated by the Greater Akron Musical Association, whose mission is to provide quality symphonic and choral music through performances and educational programs in Greater Akron.
In addition to the orchestra, the association also supports the Akron Youth Orchestras, the Akron Symphony Chorus and numerous special outreach and educational programs.
The 50-acre Akron Zoological Park houses more than 700 animals, including the endangered Humboldt penguins, snow leopards, Sumatran tigers, jaguars and Komodo dragons and draws more than 150,000 visitors a year. The zoo is one of only 218 accredited world conservation zoos by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The zoo has undergone numerous expansions since the founding of the Akron Children’s Zoo in 1953. In 2005, the zoo underwent the largest expansion in its history with the opening of Legends of the Wild, which features 16 animal exhibits, more than 20 animal species and more than 400 total animals, including snow leopards, jaguars, lemurs, bats and many more. In October 2005, the zoo unveiled Komodo Kingdom Education Center, featuring Komodo dragons, Galapagos tortoises and Chinese alligators.