Gift Akron Children's Museum

Gift the Experience of Play with a Membership to Akron Children's Museum
Children and families can explore, imagine, discover and play together at Akron Children's Museum.

By Madison Latona

Can you remember what it was like to be a kid on a rainy day? How about in the dead of winter when the snow was as high as your arm pits or the temperature was sub zero?  Now imagine your mom saying "hey kids, let's use our membership and pop down to the Akron Children's Museum for a few hours."

If that doesn't sound like the best 'experience' gift ever for both the kids and the parents, we're not sure what does.

Founded in 2012, the Akron Children's Museum came into existence because of a group of resolute parents and community members who had a vision of and saw a need for a safe and fun learning environment for children in the Akron area.

The co-founders, Betsy and Ryan Hartschuh, saw a gap in the community. They knew Akron needed a place where children could learn through play, where creativity was nurtured and where children of all backgrounds could come together and learn in a hands-on, engaging way.

The museum's journey was not without its challenges. Initial funding was hard to come by, and was ultimately sourced through a combination of private donations, grants, local business support and a crowdfunding campaign. The community's overwhelming support and generosity made it clear that the Akron Children's Museum was not just a dream, but a necessity in the community.

Located in downtown Akron, the museum is now a bustling hub of activity, with over 20 exhibits designed to encourage interactive play, problem-solving, and exploration.

These exhibits range from a mini city where children can pretend to be adults, a science lab where they can conduct experiments, to a garden area where they can learn about plants and nature. Each exhibit is carefully designed to cater to children's natural curiosity and creativity, making learning a fun and engaging process.

The museum offers daily rates as well as memberships. The daily rate is $7 dollars per person (child or adult). The memberships are based of family size, but every family that plans to come more than once saves money by purchasing a membership, because it is “paid off” in just a couple of visits.

The Akron Children's Museum believes in the power of play to spark children's imaginations and inspire a lifelong love of learning.

Its impact on the children in the community is evident in the joyful smiles and enthusiastic chatter that fills the museum every day. Parents appreciate the safe and educational environment where their children can play, learn, and grow. Teachers laud it as an invaluable resource for field trips, providing direct learning experiences that cannot be replicated in a traditional classroom setting. 

(left) Photos by Julie Cajigas.

Traci Buckner, who is the Akron Children’s Museum Executive Director, believes it is a place of learning, growing, and fun for the whole family. 

Jenna Pavlov is a mother of four young children, and she and her family are biweekly attendees of the Akron Children’s Museum.

“The museum really gives you the opportunity to either relax or play imaginatively with kids. As a stay-at-home mother of four, it is hard to do that at home because it is either I am always cleaning, or it is chaotic," she said. 

Not having to clean up after the kids is a relief to the busy mom. 

"It is just a really wonderful place to get out of the house on like a rainy day and have fun,” she said.

As the holiday season approaches, the museum is gearing up for a series of events. “I am extremely excited for the upcoming holiday season because we have our 6th annual 'Hands on Holidays and Hot Cakes Event' on Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,” Traci Buckner, Akron Children’s Museum Executive Director said. 

This big year-end event features visits from North Pole Characters and performances by the Snow sisters, who will take photos with families. Buckner is grateful for the volunteers that make events like this one possible.

"We have many volunteers who help us to make this a really special event for families where they can come, enjoy the museum, make things, play, explore and just really have an enjoyable time,” she said.

Another anticipated event is the "Make Believe Midnight" party on Dec. 29. Designed for children and families who might not be awake at midnight, this event allows them to have their own party and to ring in the New Year early with a countdown to noon. 

Memberships for the Children’s Museum will be on sale for gifting for this holiday season starting Black Friday. Traci Buckner wants everyone to know what a great gift a membership can be.

“Often times children get so many things, but to be able to have a fun experience that lasts the whole year through, that's priceless,” she said.

The Akron Children's Museum is not just a place for children to play. It is a place that fosters exploration, nurtures creativity, and fuels the imagination. It is a place where learning is disguised as fun. A place where parents can connect with their children, where memories are made, and where the foundation for a lifetime of learning is laid.

It is a place that has made a profound impact on the community and continues to be a beacon of joy, learning, and discovery for all children who walk through its doors.

To learn more about the Akron Children’s Museum or to purchase a gift membership, visit 

(right top) two of Jenna Pavlov's children enjoying the Children's Museum water feature. Photo courtesy of Jenna Pavlov. (right middle and bottom) Photos by Julie Cajigas.

To reach content author Madison Latona,  email her here.

Downtown Akron Partnership Announces Downtown Dollars E-Gift Card Program > read more here.