Hudson -- Students who didn't go out of town for spring break had plenty to do in the area through the Hudson Community Education and Recreation program.

The HCER Explorer Day offers fun, supervised trips when school is not in session. It's part of the Explorer Zone, which has provided childcare before and after school for 15 years in Hudson, according to Coordinator Donna Gray.

"Over spring break we have five trips planned, one each day," Gray said.

On March 24 the students traveled to the Akron Zoo. Although some animals weren't outside in the cold weather, the grizzly bears and big cats provided entertainment for the students.

Drew Kandes, 6, said he liked the bald eagle at the zoo. He carried a notebook to keep track of his spring break adventures.

On March 25, students enjoyed a "Mini Taste and Tour of Hudson."

They toured Acme, ate lunch at Johnny's Diner, 180 W. Streetsboro St., enjoyed frozen yogurt at Lulu's yogurt, 56 Library St., purchased popcorn at Crazy But True Gourmet Popcorn, 72 N. Main St., and finished the tasting tour with Main St. Cupcakes, 238 N. Main St.

"Acme had samples all over the store for us," Gray said.

Acme also demonstrated how to make bread and wrap the meat.

"I liked going to Acme and seeing how they made all the stuff," said Maddie Cross, 11.

Keegan McGinn, 8, said he enjoyed watching Acme make bread and showing where it is stored.

Megan Hensley, 10, said she likes Lulu's and chose chocolate and vanilla yogurt.

"It's my first time here at Lulu's," said Max Pastijn, 7, who recently moved from Milwaukee. "I love Hudson."

Emma Hileman, 8, said she likes walking around downtown and looking in all the windows of the stores.

Students ranged from kindergarten to sixth grade. Audrey Kirkhope, 12, attended Explorer Zone when she was in first through fourth grade and said she enjoys the special trips and walking around Hudson.

Gray plans events throughout the year, and the merchants in Hudson have been generous in helping with the events and as gracious hosts.

"We have fun with a little bit of learning on the side," Gray said.

Different students make up each group, but the group is limited to 40, she said.

Gina Durkos, employee at Crazy But True Gourmet Popcorn, prepared some popcorn for the students and answered their questions. The popcorn machine makes 10 gallons, and employees make approximately eight batches, or 80 gallons, every day. They sell 200-300 small three-cup bags of popcorn per day.

They make kettle corn and flavor 10 gallons of popcorn to create bubble gum, cinnamon toast, caramel, grape, Granny Smith apple, cotton candy, orange, blueberry and other flavors.

The most popular flavor is Hudson blend, with white cheese popcorn mixed with caramel corn.

On March 26 the group planned to go to Laser Quest in Fairview then learn about glass blowing in Canal Fulton March 27 and finish the week at The Jump Palace in Streetsboro, Gray said.


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