Presidents Day hours for park offices

Summit Metro Parks will observe the following hours at its public buildings on Presidents Day, Feb. 20.

- F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm / Visitors Center (1828 Smith Road in Akron; 330-865-8065): The building will be open for the federal holiday. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

- Liberty Park Nature Center (9999 Liberty Road in Twinsburg; 330-487-0493): The building will be closed. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

- Sand Run Metro Park / Administrative Offices (975 Treaty Line Rd., Akron; 330-867-5511): The building will be open.

Regular hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information about the park district, visit summitmetroparks.org.

Lace up for the Couch to 5K

Motivating. Fun. Life-changing.Those are just some of the ways past participants in the "Couch to 5K" training series have described the annual Summit Metro Parks program, now in its third year.

The park district will host the 10-week series, during which Naturalist --and runner --Elizabeth Kresse will describe what series participants can expect and answer questions.

Kresse said 'Couch' participants will meet every Sunday morning beginning March 5 at 9 a.m., for a group run and to discuss different running topics, from stretching and proper form to finding the right running shoe, with experts from Cleveland Clinic Akron General, Second Sole in Akron and more.

Registration is not required for the information session. However, registration is required for the training series. The Mother's Day 5K will be May 14 in Munroe Falls Metro Park, 521 S. River Road in Munroe Falls.

For information about the Mother's Day 5K and the Couch to 5K series, visit summitmetroparks.org or call 330-865-8065.

February features feathered friends

Summit Metro Parks naturalists will host a variety of bird-related programs for all ages this month.

- Join for the"Bald Eagle Open House" at the Liberty Park Tinkers Creek State Nature Preserve Feb. 19 from 1 to 3 p.m., 1230 Old Mill Road in Aurora.Swing by any time between 1 and 3 p.m. to learn about bald eagles, and hopefully catch a glimpse of one of them. For information, call 330-865-8065.

-"Kinderealm: Owls" will be Feb. 21 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Liberty Park Nature Center, 9999 Liberty Road in Twinsburg.Children 3 to 6 years and their adult companions can discover the owls "whooo" are raising young this time of year. This program includes a hike and craft. Make other arrangements for younger children unable to remain in infant seats or strollers. Advance registration is required. For information, call 330-865-8065.

Other February hikes

Summit Metro Parks offers something for everyone, including the following programs and events.

- Hear the"Bear Truth" Feb. 17 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Liberty Park Nature Center, 9999 Liberty Road in Twinsburg.How does Ohio's largest mammal catch fish without a fishing pole? With its bear hands, of course. Learn the truth about our biggest and furriest neighbor, the black bear. Hike to a cave before enjoying hot cocoa (while supplies last) in the nature center. Due to hunting and habitat loss, black bears were completely gone from Ohio by the 1850s. Today, the state's permanent population is small, estimated at fewer than 100, and primarily located in the southeast.Most bear sightings in Northeast Ohio occur in the spring, the result of juvenile males searching for a new home. However, bear tracks have been found in different seasons -- including winter -- in Liberty Park, a 3,000-acre tract in northeast Summit and northwest Portage counties.For information, call 330-865-8065.

Crystal Palace hikes return to Gorge Metro Park

Huge, colorful icicles form on the rock cliffs in Gorge Metro Park, 1160 Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls during winter, creating what is known each year as the "Crystal Palace."

On Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 1 p.m., visitors can join a Summit Metro Parks naturalist on Crystal Palace hikes --with or without snow and ice --along the rugged 1.8-mile Glens Trail.

Gorge Metro Park is an historic and natural landmark, and its three trails offer year-round access to stunning rock ledges and glimpses of the Cuyahoga River below.For more information, call 330-865-8065.