Activities & Resources
McKinley Museum & Presidential Library050in Canton, OH 44708
about McKinley Museum & Presidential Library:
Energetic visitors like to climb the 108 granite steps that lead to the top of the monument to the former president (which is also open to the public whenever the museum is open). From the top, visitors can enjoy a sweeping view of the park that surrounds the museum. The park is a good place to stroll or to picnic after visiting the museum.
Just inside the doors, a huge pendulum swings as if to say, "hello," and to the right are rooms where the kids tend to linger, with displays focusing on Ohio's inhabitants and history.
Ecology Island features live animals, usually including a skink, black rat snake, bearded dragon, as well as a working bee hive, plus several touch-and-learn exhibits about natural processes (like decay) and lesser-known Ohio inhabitants - like mastodons!
Displays showing life in Ohio from the Cenozoic through Precambrian periods are popular - particularly the mastodon skeleton, which was unearthed nearby (in Stark County) in 1970. Extensive exhibits about Ohio's Woodland people reinforce third- and fourth-grade curricula and give kids a chance to say, "I knew that." (And parents a chance to say, "Why didn't I remember that?")
The exhibit most kids like best is the "shadow catcher." As the strobe flashes, phosphorescent paint on the walls absorbs light all around a subject, leaving a "picture" of a shadow behind. Kids love to capture various poses and giggle until they're gone (the shadow image fades after about 90 seconds). The "camera" runs continuously, taking a "picture" about every two minutes.
In an exhibit focused on the Space Station, visitors can learn about gears, color, and robotic arms.
A whole room is dedicated to toddlers, neatly positioned so that parents can watch from the slightly-raised platform inside, while older children absorb as much as they want from the surrounding exhibits.
You may want to time your visit so you can enjoy the planetarium. Shows are held on weekends; call 330.455.7043 as schedules vary. (Note that children must be at least five years old to attend these shows.)
Finally, don't leave without visiting the rooms upstairs dedicated to the turn-of-the-century and featuring a scale-model railroad (with stops in actual Ohio towns realistically portrayed) and the Street of Shops, which includes a barber shop, doctor's office, and fire station - and yes, kids can slide down the pole!
The museum hosts birthday parties and special events by arrangement - visit the website or call 330.455.7043 for details.
Note: snacks are available from a few vending machines; we recommend packing a picnic lunch instead.
Family membership is $49/year.