The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Zoo’

Ohio Vacation Day 7 – Akron Zoo (7/1/2021)

We visited Akron Zoo this morning. We planned to visit the zoo, rain or shine. The sun did not make an appearance; neither did the rain.

This was our first visit to Akron Zoo. As members of Erie Zoo we can visit over 100 other zoos and aquariums across North America free or at a reduced rate. Our Erie Zoo membership afforded us entry into Akron Zoo at a reduced rate–50% off the published rate.

I took many pictures, while at the zoo, and decided a slideshow would be the proper medium to share some of those pictures with you.

Akron Zoo Memories

Stay tuned! I have a few more details and photographs of our Ohio vacation to share with you via one more (possibly two) blog post(s).

Overnight Getaway

We returned home late this morning from an overnight getaway.  We spent the night at Best Western in Erie PA, using a $25 gift certificate that expires later this month as partial payment.  We earned the gift certificate from a prior stay at a Best Western hotel.  I believe we will earn another $25 gift certificate from this stay.

We departed Warren shortly after 9:00 am yesterday and arrived at our hotel around 2:45 pm.  We made a few stops en route the hotel.

Before leaving Warren we stopped at Tim Hortons, where Bob purchased a cup of coffee.

Our second stop was in Findley Lake NY.  We saw nothing of interest and moved on.

Upon arriving in Erie we drove the perimeter of Presque Isle, stopping briefly to capture photographs of ducks and Canadian geese in a swamp area.

Pair of Mallard Ducks at Presque Isle State Park (Erie, PA)

Pair of Canadian Geese at Presque Isle State Park (Erie, PA)

That goose on the left was very noisy!  Two Canadian Geese, equally noisy, flew overhead just moments after I had returned to our car.

We ate lunch at Cheddars Scratch Kitchen in Erie.  Bob ordered Creamy Garlic Tilapia & Shrimp over rice, with broccoli cheese casserole and southern green beans.  I ordered a chicken tender platter, with salad and French fries.  Both meals were delicious.  

Our final stop before going to the hotel was at the Erie Zoo.  When the zoo reopened last year during the COVID pandemic, timed tickets were required for entry.  Timed tickets are required again this year, but NOT for the month of March.  We used our membership card to enter the zoo.  We went for a stroll through the zoo.  I didn’t take too many pictures.  The majority of my pictures were of an orangutan family.

Erie Zoo Wild Asia entrance

Erie Zoo Bornean Orangutans

Erie Zoo Bornean Orangutan

We had considered taking our granddaughters to the zoo, if Stacey’s employer had her scheduled to work in Erie on Monday.  We could have driven the girls to Erie, and Stacey could have taken them back home.  I am glad, though, that I did not approach Stacey with my idea.  The majority of the animals were quiet or not visible.  The merry-go-round, playground and train ride were closed, as were all the food vendors.  We will take the girls to the zoo in April, when it is warmer (and hopefully more of the zoo will be open).  Our present zoo membership expires on 30 April.  I have not yet decided, if we will renew the membership.

As I wrote earlier, we arrived at the hotel around 2:45 pm.  We checked into room 408, a two queen bed suite.  We had eaten a late lunch and knew we wouldn’t be hungry for dinner.  Other than Bob driving to a nearby fuel station to pick up water and snacks, we stayed in for rest of the day.  We had a relaxing afternoon and evening watching TV, for the most part.  We particularly liked the science fiction movie “Divergent”.  This movie is old, having been released in 2014.  We had never seen the movie and are interested in watching the next two sequels, “Insurgent” and “Allegiant”.

Now for the next day …

We were showered, dressed and had eaten breakfast by 8:00 am this morning.  Rather than grab a “grab n go” breakfast at the hotel, we ate breakfast at the nearby Cracker Barrel.  Bob ordered a double meat breakfast; I ordered Grandma’s Sampler.  Breakfast was delicious and filling.

After breakfast, we began our drive back home.  We drove home via Route 5, along the shores of Lake Erie.  We made three photo stops.

Our first stop was next door to North East Marina in North East, PA.

This lighthouse-shaped building is near the North East Marina in North East, PA.  The body of water in the background is Lake Erie.

After a quick search, I couldn’t find any information on the Internet about this building.  The next time we are in this area we plan to stop at North East Marina and make some inquiries.

Our second stop was at Barcelona Harbor in Westfield NY, where we saw more seagulls.

Seagull in Flight

This is the same Seagull in flight.

Two Seagulls

Several Seagulls

Our third stop was at Bournes Creek Falls, located a couple miles from Barcelona Harbor.

We saw Bournes Creek Falls for the first time in January.  The waterfall looked a lot different today than it did in January!

 

We continued on to Dunkirk NY, where we left the shores of Lake Erie and headed south.

We returned home at 11:30 am.  Our kitty, Wickett, sure was happy to see us.

 

Erie Zoo

While in Erie this past Wednesday, in addition to driving around Presque Isle State Park, we visited the Erie Zoo.

Since the Erie Zoo reopened in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, to gain admittance one has had to make an online reservation.  No online reservations are required for admittance throughout the month of November.  I like being able to go to the zoo on an impromptu basis.  When we arrived at the zoo, we learned that admission was free for the day.  We have a season pass, so the fact that the zoo was free that day had no bearing.  However, we did wonder if the zoo would be busy, given that admission was free.  There were very few other people at the zoo.

This is a video that Bob took with our GoPro7 camera during our visit to the Erie Zoo.

I took a few pictures too, which I will share.  Some pictures are better than others. I really do not care to take pictures through glass or fences.  I have such a difficult time capturing a good picture.  I battled with the sun, too, and it played a part in diminishing the quality of the pictures as well.

Patagonian Cavy

Barbados Blackbelly Sheep

Canadian Lynx

Amur Leopard

Warthog

Southern White Rhino

Jaguar

Jaguar

Black-Handed Spider Monkey

Bornean Orangutan

All rides, Gift Shop, and concessions are closed for the season.  The zoo will close for the season on November 30th.

 

Weekend in Hudson, OH

We spent 3 nights September 20 through September 23 in Hudson, OH.  We rented the Hudson Home AirBnB.  The location of this AirBnB was ideal for our activities. We went bicycling on trails in and near Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and we visited the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  A food market and restaurants were within walking distance from our rental.

We were en route Hudson, OH at 7:15 am on Friday, September 20.  We stopped for breakfast in Youngsville, PA at Richard’s Family Restaurant. “That was good; it was enjoyable”, Bob said after breakfast. Bob had a Greek omelet with home fries and toast. I had French toast and bacon.  The service was fast, as we were back on the road at 8:10 am.

We told Google maps to take us to Hudson OH, using an off highway route. From Youngsville Google maps said it was 133 mi 3 hours and 25 minutes to our destination, with an ETA of 11:23 am.  A deer ran across the road in front of us, shortly after leaving the restaurant. If there had been a second deer, it is likely we would have hit that deer.

We arrived in Hudson around 11:45 am. We passed by our AirBnB and drove to Szalay’s in Peninsula for lunch. The  farm market was open; the outdoor eatery was not. We drove back to Hudson.

We ate lunch at Johnny’s Diner, located in Hudson at the Acme Market plaza. This is what the webpage says about Johnny’s Diner:

“Go back in time to the glory days of malt shop diners. Johnny’s Diner is a delicious blend of 50’s style diner and hometown Hudson.”

Johnny’s Diner

Johnny’s Diner

I liked the diner’s 50s ambiance; the service and food was good as well. We didn’t order anything that the diner appears to be noted for i.e., burgers and shakes. We can, though, attest to the fact that the Chef’s Salad and melted tuna sandwich are delicious.

After lunch, we drove to the AirBnB that we rented for 3 nights. The AirBnB is located about 1/4 mile from the Acme Market plaza. We “checked in”, carried in our baggage and got settled in. Checking in involved entering a combination for a lockbox and using the key inside the lockbox to open the front door. Once inside we returned the key to the lockbox. Near the kitchen door was a key to use for the rest of our visit. That key was for the back door, which happens to be the most convenient door to use. Parking is at the back of the house.

Our rental AirBnB – living / dining room

Our rental AirBnB – back yard

Our rental AirBnB – Our host left snacks for us.

Later in the afternoon we walked the quarter of a mile to the Acme Market and purchased a few groceries (mainly breakfast items, beverages and snacks).

We ate dinner at Perkins Restaurant, located in the Acme Market plaza.

This AirBnB does not have a TV. It does, however, have the Internet and a computer monitor. Bob didn’t bring the Fire Stick, as the AirBnB listing said there was no TV. Therefore, Bob assumed that there would be nowhere to plug in the Fire Stick. He could have plugged the Fire Stick into the monitor. We were able to watch Amazon Prime and Hulu, though, by hooking up Bob‘s Surface Pro tablet to the computer monitor.

 

The next day (Saturday, September 21) we ate breakfast at the house from purchases that we made the day before. Then we went for a bicycle ride, which you can read about here.

We ate lunch at Szalay’s Outdoor Eatery. Bob had a polish sausage, and I had a hot dog. For dessert we had fruit sundaes–vanilla soft serve ice cream with pineapple, blueberries, strawberries and bananas.

After lunch we returned to the house, where we stayed until late afternoon.

We ate dinner at Subway in the Acme Market plaza.  I am sure that you can tell that we made good use of the nearby shopping plaza.

After dinner we drove to the Ira Trailhead on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where we went for a short evening bicycle ride.

We returned to the house around 7:30 pm.

 

On Sunday, September 22, we went to the zoo.  We felt that the zoo was a better choice, given the extreme heat, than riding bicycles.

We were en route Cleveland Metroparks Zoo at 9:00 am. We arrived about 50 minutes later. Our tickets were half price because we are members of the Erie Zoo. We visited all seven zoo locations.

I put together a slideshow of some of the zoo animals that we saw during our visit.

Bob put together a short video too.

What a hot day! The car thermometer read 94 degrees, when we returned to the car. We had an enjoyable time at the zoo. Our time there, though, would have been more enjoyable had it been about 20 degrees cooler. The animals may have been more active too.

We departed the zoo at 2:00 pm. We were back at the house by 3:00 pm. We were both whipped, and our feet hurt. Still the day’s activities were better than riding bicycles. At least we were able to find some relief in air conditioned buildings.

 

We departed Hudson at 7:30 am on Monday, September 23. We stopped for breakfast at Bob Evans Restaurant in Streetsboro, OH. We both ordered Classic Breakfast – 2 eggs, 2 pancakes and bacon.  Filling and delicious!

When we left Hudson it was cloudy and a comfortable 68 degrees. It started raining in Conneaut, PA and the rain stayed with us rest of the way home. We returned home around noon.

What a wonderful weekend getaway!

Chincoteague Vacation – Day 2: Annapolis, MD to Chincoteague, VA

On Sunday, April 7th, at 7:10 am we departed the Best Western Annapolis and continued our drive to Chincoteague, VA.

We crossed over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge about 10 minutes later.

Our first stop at 9:00 am was at the Salisbury Zoological Park in Salisbury, MD.  We arrived just as the zoo was opening.  

Salisbury Zoo – East Gate Entrance

We spent a couple hours walking around this wonderful, free zoo.  I created this slideshow to share with you some of the birds and animals that we saw, while at the zoo.

This was Bob’s first time at the Salisbury Zoo; it was my second visit.  My first visit was more than 30 years ago in August 1982.

Our second stop was for lunch at Subway at the intersection of Routes 13 and175.

After lunch, we crossed Route 13 and took Route 175 to Chincoteague Island, VA.

Our third stop was at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, located on Assateague Island, VA. 

Located on the East Coast along the Atlantic Ocean in Maryland and Virginia, Assateague Island is the largest, natural barrier island ecosystem in the Middle Atlantic states region that remains predominantly unaffected by human development. The Virginia portion of the island is designated as the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with the exception of 448 acres in the refuge’s Toms Cove area maintained by the National Park Service.  These 448 acres are part of the Assateague Island National Seashore.  The Assateague State Park and the Assateague Island National Seashore are located on Assateague Island, MD.  This year marks our fifth visit to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague Island National Seashore, located on Assateague Island, VA.

Admission to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is $20.00, which is good for multiple days.  We didn’t have to pay the admission fee, as I purchased a National Park Service senior pass in February 2018, when I turned 62 years old.

We rode our bicycles on the Woodland Trail.   The Woodland Trail, which takes you through a pine forest, is 1.6 miles round trip, paved and wheelchair accessible.  The trail is open to both walkers and cyclists.  A couple years ago many of the pine trees were damaged by a southern pine beetle infestation. 

We went for a bicycle ride on the Woodland Trail. This boardwalk leads to an observation platform from which you may see wild ponies.

We looked for wild ponies from this observation platform. We didn’t see any ponies.

Leaving the Woodland Trail, we rode our bicycles on the Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore and back to the Woodland Trail parking lot.

 

We saw two horses and riders at the beach.

 

Egrets are popular at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

We watched one egret, as it was hunting, standing immobile or wading through wetlands, to when it suddenly took flight.

Great Egret Hunting

Great Egret, Lift Off

Great Egret in Flight

Great Egret in Flight

We watched another egret standing in a tree.

Great Egret in a Tree

We rode our bicycles a total of 4.16 miles on Woodland Trail and to and from the beach.

We arrived at Tranquil Shores, our Airbnb rental, at approximately 3:00 pm–1 hour before check-in time. Tranquil Shores is located on Chincoteague Island, VA.  I telephoned our host shortly before we checked in to see if an early check in was possible (and it was).  Tranquil Shores was our home away from home for 5 nights.  I will publish a separate blog post pertaining to Tranquil Shores in the near future.

An hour later the car was unpacked.  At 4:40 pm we left to pick up some groceries.  We shopped at Food Lion at the intersection of Routes 13 and 175.  We picked up dinner, breakfast foods, snacks and beer. 

Tonight’s dinner was rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and, for dessert, cheesecake.  We purchased a sampler cheesecake platter, which lasted us through four dinners.

We watched a couple episodes of NYPD Blue and then went to bed. As a side note, we started watching NYPD Blue on Amazon Prime in early February this year.  NYPD Blue is an American police drama set in New York City, exploring the struggles of the fictional 15th Precinct detective squad in Manhattan.  The series was originally broadcast on the ABC network, debuted on September 21, 1993‚ and aired its final episode on March 1, 2005.  Bob says this was one of his favorite TV shows.  We both saw the series, when it aired.   We may or may not have seen each episode, though.  I certainly do not remember each episode’s story line.  There are 12 seasons, 261 episodes.  We watched Season 9 episodes, while on vacation.

Please check back soon for more blog posts about our Chincoteague vacation.

Grandpa Bob and Grandma Linda’s Special Day with Harper

Bob and I spent one-on-one time with our granddaughter Harper this past Saturday.  We like spending time with both of our granddaughters at the same time, but we also treasure the one-on-one times that we have with this as well.  We spent one-on-one time with Harper’s sister, Juniper, in late April.  This past Saturday was special time with Harper.

We picked up Harper at her house around 8:30 am.

We arrived at the Erie Zoo at 10:00 am. The line to get into the zoo was long — longer than I have even seen it.  It was Big Equipment Day at the zoo, but it wasn’t crowded like this last year!  We decided to come back later in the day.

Leaving the zoo, we drove to the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC).  The highlight of our visit to the TREC was being on top of the observation tower.  We rode the elevator to the top of the 75-foot tall tower.

Harper on top of the observation tower
The bit of blue you see in the background
is Lake Erie.
Harper and I on top of the observation tower
Lake Erie and Waldameer are visible from the top of the tower.
(photo by Bob)

Inside TREC, we quickly walked around the exhibits.  Harper pushed buttons on some of the exhibits and showed some interest in other exhibits.  We probably spent half an hour or less inside the TREC.

From TREC we visited Presque Isle State Park. We made two stops on our drive around Presque Isle: at North Pier Lighthouse and at Waterworks Playground.

Harper enjoyed walking with us
on the pier to the North Pier Lighthouse.

The Waterworks Playground is located adjacent to the Rotary Pavilion and across from Beach 7 (Waterworks Beach).  Bob and I have passed by this playground many times.  I always thought it would be a good playground at which to take our granddaughters.  We didn’t take Juniper here during her one-on-one time with us because it was raining.  It is a very nice playground, but the climbing ropes were somewhat scary for Harper.  A bumble bee flying around didn’t help either!

Harper on one of several climbing ropes
This is all the further Harper climbed.
She was frozen in place.  I helped her down.

From Presque Isle State Park, we drove to the local McDonald’s Restaurant and ate lunch.  After lunch, we returned to the zoo.

It was 1:30 pm, when we made it back to Erie Zoo. There was still a line at the entry gate, but the line was at least a quarter of what it was at 10:00 am.

We had a good time at the zoo seeing the animals, riding the Wildlife Carousel, and riding the train.

It was 4:15pm, when we left Erie Zoo. We stopped at Country Fair for cold drinks, before making our trek back home.

We returned Harper home at 5:45 pm. Juniper was excited to show me that she got her fingernails painted. While Bob and I had one-on-one time with Harper, Stacey had the same with Juniper. Stacey said that she and Juniper had a good day, except for the hour she spend arguing with Juniper over why she can’t go to the mall. Harper and I had “a moment” too. She was not going to sit with me in the zoo train; she was going to sit behind Grandpa, not me, on our way home.  Harper was mad at me because Grandma wouldn’t let her sit on top of the bronze statue’s head at the zoo. Through no effort on my part Harper did sit with me on the zoo train, and she sat behind me on the way back home.  Life with 5-year-olds….

It was a long, but fun, day.  I think our next family adventure will include both of our granddaughters.

Grampa Bob and Gramma Linda’s Special Day with Juniper

We picked up Juniper, our almost 5-year-old granddaughter, at “Big Grandma” Chris’s house shortly before 9:00 am on Saturday, April 29, and left en route Erie.

In Erie we spent the day visiting the Erie Zoo, visiting the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, driving around Presque Isle and eating a late lunch at McDonalds.

We arrived at the Erie Zoo around 10:20 am. We lucked out by securing a parking space right in front of the main entrance to the zoo. I suspect our luck had more to do with Saturday’s weather (chilly and rainy) than our early arrival. After showing our membership card and ID at the gate, we were admitted into the zoo. We saw all the animals without getting too wet. We only got a quick glimpse of baby Otis (new orangutan) before mama orangutan covered herself and baby with newspaper and a sheet. A highlight of our Zoo visit was seeing a kangaroo and a baby wallaby and its mama on the walking path, rather than far from us behind the wood rail fence.  Juniper rode both the Wildlife Carousel and the train. Bob rode the carousel with Juniper, and I rode the train with her.  I put together this slide show to highlight our day at the zoo.

Before leaving the zoo, we purchased two bags of cotton candy, one for Juniper and the other for Harper. We spent approximately 1-1/2 hours at the zoo. We might have been there for a longer time if the playground was still there. The playground was removed recently. A new playground will be installed by late May.

From the zoo we drove to the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC). The TREC, which opened its doors in May/June 2006, is the gateway to Presque Isle State Park. Its entrance is across from Waldameer Park.  Bob and I hadn’t been there in a while, and it was Juniper’s first visit. There are more child-related activities there than we remembered. Juniper enjoyed her visit.

As we entered the lobby of the main entrance the first things to catch Juniper’s eyes were three floor-to-ceiling towers.  Each tower was filled with carved wooden scenes about Presque Isle.  Each scene had movable parts!

Three Towers of Carved Wooden Scenes
about Presque Isle
One of the many carved wooden scenes

The next thing that caught Juniper’s eye was a HUGE fish.

Memories and Monsters Exhibit

The “Memories and Monsters” exhibit has the visitor walking through the middle of a HUGE fish into a small theater area.  This exhibit takes you back in time to the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s when things were very different on Presque Isle.

Near the big fish was a hands-on room, especially designed for preschoolers.

Hand-On Activity Room

Do you wonder what everyone is looking at through the windows?

There is a bird feeding station outside the windows.
The bird feeding station was visited by a turkey the day we were there.

When we left TREC, we drove around Presque Isle.

It was after 1:30 pm by the time we completed our drive around Presque Isle. We stopped at McDonalds, located near Presque Isle, for a late lunch.

As we were leaving McDonalds, I telephoned “Big Grandma” Chris to let her know that we were running behind. We were supposed to pick up Harper at Chris’s house and take both girls to “Little Grandma” Sue’s house, where they would be spending the night. The plan was to pick up Harper and arrive at Sue’s house between 3:00 and 4:00 pm. As we were running behind, that wasn’t going to happen. Chris ended up taking Harper to Sue’s house, and we dropped off Juniper there shortly before 5:00 pm.

What a wonderful day we had with Juniper!  We are looking forward to a similar experience with Harper in a few weeks.

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