I got to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine recently.
When I was in middle school we had to write a list of things that we wanted to do when we grew up. One of the things on my list was to sleep in a yurt. This was way before yurts were cool in the U.S. I only knew about them because in fifth grade I read a book about a man who went to Mongolia. I think this was my first historical fiction experience. Ever since that time I wanted to go to Mongolia and sleep in a yurt. (He also ate sheep eyeballs and I totally didn’t want to have to do that to have my yurt time.)
I managed the yurt and no sheep eyeballs were necessary.
We stayed overnight in the yurt camping area at The Wilds. I don’t think that the guy in the book I read had a yurt this fancy. I don’t remember any descriptions of air conditioning, full bathroom, or wi-fi.
The Wilds is a 10,000 acre reclaimed strip mine in Ohio. It is now managed by the Columbus Zoo. It is a little like Jurassic Park with large mammals instead of dinosaurs.
On the first day I went for a horseback ride. I was actually nervous about that. It has been a long time since I’ve ridden. We were told to mount at the mounting block and let the horse walk forward without putting our feet in the stirrups. I flat out panicked at the suggestion. They wanted to adjust our stirrups for us because I was the only person who had ever ridden before. However, stepping away from a mounting block without feet in stirrups is exactly what happened right before the accident where I broke my pelvis. I calmed myself though and got on and put my feet in immediately. Not doing that again.
The ride was fun once I let myself relax and stop overanalyzing. It was a trail ride on a horse who was used to this, not a ride on a high strung knucklehead like I owned.
After the ride we had a private dinner in a dining room reserved for overnight guests. We also had a large fire pit overlooking the camel pasture to relax at.
The next day we had breakfast provided and then we went on our tour through the park.
The Wilds is a fun way to see animals in a slightly more relaxed environment than in a zoo. The herbivores are all wandering huge pastures and living their lives in a much freer manner than in most zoos.
The Wilds is in Cumberland Ohio. It is absolutely worth a visit if you are ever in the central Ohio area.
July turned sunny and we are trying to get some summertime fun in.
Last week we headed to Pennsylvania for my uncle’s wedding reception and we added in some beach time.
This is at Presque Isle on Lake Erie. It is nice because you get a sandy beach and there are no sharks in the water.
I’ve been threatening to buy myself a burkini for a few years. I burn through SPF 100 and I was envious of suits that cover you all up. I finally got one that isn’t quite as covering a some I’ve seen on Muslim ladies but it works wonders.
It is short sleeved and goes to mid thigh. Love it!
This week we went tubing in the Cuyahoga River. It is the 50th anniversary of the river catching on fire. It is much cleaner now. I live near the National Park that was made to protect and help clean the river. Only one thing worried me about being in the river. I’ve been on the scenic train in the park a few times. Each time while parked on a trestle high above the river I’ve looked down and spotted huge water snakes. I don’t do snakes. I did not want to come innertube-to-face with one. (It didn’t happen as you know because I am writing this and am not dead.)
Operation Don’t Burn worked well with my special swimsuit, lots of sunblock, and a hat.
It was a really pretty day. (Don’t mind the blinding glare off my white legs.)
I remember now that tubing frustrates me because I want to have a paddle or a stick so I can push away from the bank or trees or rocks.
Next I want to go kayaking. I’ve always thought I’d like to be a person who goes kayaking. I’m going to rent one first to see if I like it. It just occurred to me (because I am slow) that we have lots of rivers and lakes around here to kayak in. For some reason I thought that since we don’t live really close to Lake Erie that we don’t have any water. Not sure why.
I am the most hum-buggiest of people in December. I don’t like hub bub over Christmas. My house is decorated against my will. So when I was told that there was a Christmas themed memorabilia place a few towns over, I had to see it for myself.
This collection is brought together by a sculptor who really likes Christmas. He has been buying and restoring holiday movie memorabilia and department store window displays. Now he displays them in this museum. He made this mouse for when his daughter was in The Nutcracker with the Cleveland Ballet.
You have to go through it in a guided tour. I hate guided tours. I would have much rather had everything labeled and done it at my own pace.
The tour starts off slow with rooms with still shots of famous actors in holiday movies, vintage games, and some trains. It gets more interesting as you move on with some costumes from movies like Elf.
I found the window displays the most interesting part of the tour.
If you ask me that’s what I’ll always say is my top phobia. The truth is that I’m actually not afraid of snakes.
I’m afraid of things unexpectedly coming across things that are shaped like snakes.
I’ve jumped from abandoned wires on a sidewalk, thin branches on the road, shoelaces, etc. I almost never see any actual snake in the wild.
I actually like big snakes like boas and pythons. My theory is that they don’t slither. I do hate slithering. The quick slithering of a garter snake does freak me out. I’m able to doctor on snakes. I think it is because I know that they are there. They aren’t sneaking up and surprising me. On smaller snakes like corn snakes I have a take a deep breath before I handle it but I can do it.
I went to the reptile show in my area this month. This is sadly not a place where snakes do tricks or I’d have visited ages ago. It is a place to buy reptiles and supplies from lots of dealers. The place was packed. You could barely move for all the people. I really, really didn’t want to bump into any one because a majority of the people were carrying little plastic takeout containers that held snakes and not left over Chinese food. I kept envisioning someone tripping and snakes spilling all over. If I didn’t start immediately thinking of something else I’d start getting shivers up my spine.
Like these guys! Aren’t they adorable?
At first I couldn’t figure out what they were. I’d never seen the bottoms of frog from this angle.
Most of the place looked like this.
I actually went to meet some tortoise breeders. I really want a tortoise. I wasn’t excited about the selection here though.
There was a booth for a reptile rescue. A woman was there looking at a boa. The person from the rescue put the snake in the woman’s arms and it was love at first sight. You could see the lady just melt. She hugged the snake and it nestled down into her arms. The woman looked up at the worker with the happiest eyes. She whispered, “Could I have adoption papers?” I hope they have a very happy life together.
One benefit of living here is that there is a museum across the road. Actually it is a big estate turned into a museum that has events. Today I walked over to the juried arts and crafts show.
I’m a cheap person. I’m also pretty much a minimalist. I can’t stand having a bunch of decorations or knickknacks. I like to go to these things and look. This is the kind of show that makes the voices in my brain say things like, “That’s a nice lamp. I wonder how much it… Wow. It better generate all its own electricity.”
There were also rows of booths featuring things I’m not allowed to eat right now.
That didn’t bother me too much. I was sad about all the places selling dips and sauces that had samples out. Everything had to be sampled with bread or pretzels so it was right out. I love sampling at those booths! But I went prepared. I had a bottle of water in my purse and two Lara Bars if needed. Missing this was a little sad though –
I knew better than to even look at the cafe. I do like hanging out in the old stables though. My horses would have thought they had died and gone to heaven if they had housing like this.
I ended up buying 2 catnip filled toys and some bath smelly stuff. So far the toys are a hit.
She is killing hers and Riley (who never gets on the counters) got on the counter and ripped open the package to get the other one out.
We went on a trip to the William McKinley Presidential Library today.
For the non-U.S. readers (and U.S. reader who slept through history class), William McKinley was President from 1897-1901. He was primarily known for being in office during the Spanish American War and getting shot and killed which made his vice-president, Teddy Roosevelt, president.
His memorial is up there. It is 108 steps up and appears to be insanely popular with runners looking to supplement their workouts. Most of the people here were running the stairs.
Inside there is a lovely stained glass piece at the top of the dome.
After you trudge back down the stairs you go to another building for the museum. What would you expect to see in a Presidential library? Go ahead, think about it. I’ll wait.
I’ve never been to a Presidential library before but I didn’t expect this.
Yep, dinosaurs. What is the connection to President McKinley you ask? Nothing. Dinosaurs are just cool.
So are frogs
And this electricity thingy
I didn’t learn much at all about McKinley. There was one room with some of his stuff but it was not well labelled. There was also a special exhibition about Presidential horses which excited me but it turned out to be all posters on the wall of a back room.
Has anyone ever been to another Presidential library? Were there dinosaurs?
I read a book called Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker that told the story of Elizabeth Keckley. She was a freed slave who worked for Mrs. Lincoln. In the book, a quilt she made for the First Lady was discussed. It turns out that it is at a museum near here. I’d never heard of it. We went to visit it today.
The first thing to know is that the Keckley quilt is not on display. There was a picture of it in a book at the gift store. I showed it to the husband and pointed out the hexagons.
I said that they were like the hexagons I made sometimes when we watch TV. He didn’t seem to know what I was talking about even though I was doing it last night. Once he remembered he declared that I obviously belonged in some other century.
They have a large collection of Katherine Hepburn’s clothing. The only ones on display right now was a group of her nightgowns in the underwear display. Can you imagine someone wanting to display your underwear?
Of course I don’t have nightwear this stylish but if anyone ever wants my fleece Scotty dog nightshirt they are welcome to it.
There was a display of fans. That was amazing. They also had a display on liturgical vestments and a large sections on examples of resist dyeing like shibori and batik.
The collections change often. There is a permanent display of clothing from the 1700s to the early 20th century. There are not a lot of mannequins on display but the clothing on them changes often. They also have a great online catalogue (where some of these images come from) with information about the whole collection.
This train goes through the Cuyahoga National Park which runs between Cleveland and Akron. On the north bound journey you can listen to a history of the conservation efforts in the park. The park was founded in 1972 in response to the Cuyahoga River fire of 1969. The river was so polluted that a spark from a train caught the river on fire. Since then 33,000 acres have been set aside as a park and the river has been cleaned up.
It is a very shallow, twisty river. The water is now clear enough that we watched two water snakes swim downstream when we were parked on a bridge above the river at one of the stations.
That’s one of them on the side of the river. We were about 20 feet above him. The water is crystal clear now.
This is the heronry. Great Blue Herons nest here. On the other side of the tracks there was a stretch of river that had 5 herons fishing in it as the train went by. There is also a bald eagle nest here.
On the south bound journey you hear more about the human history of the park. You find out about the Ohio and Erie Canal. The towpath is next to the train through the park. The canal brought people to the area and the first towns sprung up around the locks. There were also stories about a counterfitter who was so trusted by the locals that after he got out of jail he was elected justice of the peace.
My only complaint about the trip is that I wish the audio tour was continuous. There were long periods of silence. I’m sure there was more history that could be discussed.
The Cleveland Museum of Art is next door to the Natural History Museum. We have a problem with art museums. We do ok looking at old stuff. When you get to the Renaissance though I get bored. The husband loves it. (I tend to fill my time pointing out pictures of blonde haired blue eyed Jesus). We come together at the Impressionists and then I love modern art. He wanders around the modern galleries talking loudly about how if he could paint it then it isn’t art until I want to punch him.
This is his kind of museum. The permanent displays are antiquities through 1800 – 1900s. The special exhibit was 1920s art. The museum is free but you have to pay to go into the special exhibit. It was $15 a piece. I thought that was way too high but he wanted to go. He asked if they had a veteran’s discount and we got in for free! Yay for him being useful! But then, the cashier said that since he had our backs (in the Army) that they would treat him right. He pushed up his sleeve to show off a nasty scar and said, “I’m glad this came in handy.” The cashiers fluttered at his display of manliness while I tried not to gag.
We walked away and I said, “You are going to burn in Hell.”
Him: “What? It is a handy scar.”
Me: “Someone will be along for you with a handbasket shortly.”
You see, the nasty scar on his arm did occur while he was in the Army. His conversation implied that he got it saving our freedom. He actually got it in a botched surgery to remove a bone tumor. He has combat scars but they aren’t nearly as impressive or as easy to show to fluttery ladies at check in counters.
This was my favorite from the 1920s exhibit. Overall, I was bored by it and he loved it. Typical.
I stopped to get this shot and he questioned my choice. I pointed out that it is a pony made out of fabric and so obviously I had to take its picture. It is part of a curtain from 500 AD.
Just for that I took this picture too.
There is also a Museum of Contemporary Art but I’m going to go back without him so I can enjoy it.
The majority of this museum was dioramas with lots of dead animals. I don’t like dead animals.
Don’t you just know that this is how Riley thinks of himself?
Then there were dinosaurs.
There have to be dinosaurs.
I was most excited about the special exhibit on Mythical Creatures. I had to have my picture taken with the unicorn!
This exhibit was really good. It talked about mermaids, dragons, unicorns, yeti, griffins, etc. It told the stories and then showed art with them and some scientific explanations. It was a no picture zone which was sad because there were some beautiful dragon kimonos and great art.
There was a sparkly gem section too. I liked this marble and gemstone plate.
They did have a live animal exhibit which was better than the hall of dead animals.
Otters moving way to fast for my wimpy camera.
Not live but in the live animal section. The husband asked me if I was 5 years old when I wanted my picture taken with the bear. I said yes so he took my picture. There was a dinosaur that kids were climbing on outside the museum to get their picture taken. I was mature and didn’t have to climb that. So there.
Thoughts: I don’t think I’d go back because it was a lot of stuffed animals and that was pretty boring.
I’ve decided that since we are new here we should go see all the local attractions. We should act like tourists. I was going to make a list similar to my 101 Things in 1001 Days list that I did and cross them off as I go do them. The problem is that I keep finding out about cool things to do here so I’d have to keep updating the list. Maybe I’ll make a list as I do them.
“In 1900, George and Ann Perkins, heirs of the city’s founder, Simon Perkins, donated what is now Perkins Woods Park to the City of Akron. They stipulated that the 79 acres be used for “…the sole purpose of devoting the same to the uses of a public park, especially as a place for recreation for children.” – from the Akron Zoo’s website
The husband and I went to the zoo on a Sunday. It is open every day from 10-5. It is a small zoo but it is nicely laid out. There are even workout stations along the pathways so you could exercise if you wanted while you looked. We had both already worked out that morning and it was crazy hot so we passed.
I love lemurs. I did an animal behavior project in college involving observing zoo lemur behavior so I’d sit and stare at them for long periods of time.
The black and white lemurs kept trying to take food away from the smaller lemurs. The keepers kept shooing them away.
There is a small aquarium area. I love the cephalopods. They had this one large octopus. Don’t you just want to squeeze them and take them home?
Nice great big poisonous lizard.
Whenever I see snakes in zoos now I think of the scene in Harry Potter where the boa constrictor talks about how much he hates people tapping on the glass and how he wants to go see Brazil.