Cincinnati – June 2017 – Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum

The Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum was designed in the 1840s by Adolph Strauch, a renown lanscape architect who’s view was to have a ‘garden cemetery’ made up of trees, lakes and shrubs.

It is the second largest (in area) cemetery in the United States, with over 700 acres, including 400 that are landscaped. As we toured in our car we passed trams leading tours, as well as numerous walkers. It clearly was different than most cemeteries with the spaciness and landscaping.

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Cincinnati – June 2017 – Observatory

The Cincinnati Observatory is located on the aptly named Mount Lookout. As one of the oldest observatories in the country, they feature two fantastic telescopes. A visit to the Observatory is highly recommended.

The main building has a 1904 Alvan Clark & Sons 16″ refractor telescope. The docent who took us up to the telescope allowed us to open the large metal roof with amazing ease with the rope and gears. Once open we spun the telescope over so we could look into the lens.

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The second building houses what is thought to be the oldest continually used telescope in the world, a 1945 wooden and metal Merz and Mahler 11″ refractor scope. While not as functional as new ones, you will not find a more beautiful telescope!

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Cincinnati – April 2017 – The Zoo in Bloom

The Cincinnati Zoo is the 2nd oldest zoo in America, starting just 14 months after the Philadelphia Zoo in 1875. It is situated on only 66 acres in a residential area just north of downtown. Officially known as a Zoo and Arboretum, April is billed as ‘the Zoo in Bloom’. Unfortunately most of the tulips and other spring flowers had already bloomed, then hit with a frost so there was little color on them.

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Still this zoo has great landscaping with large areas of bamboo, thousands of trees and other nicely placed shrubs and plants.

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Having gone to to photo the mix of flowers and animals, it ended up being focused on the animals. As with most zoos, many of the animals have a sad look when you are able to focus closely on them.

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While this could be their normal look in the wild, it seems to accent their life in the zoo. I realize zoos do a great job in animal conservation but it is always sad to see them in their enclosed spaces. Still in my opinion the Cincinnati Zoo is much better than the Columbus Zoo with the landscaping and relative lack of advertising, especially given their tight quarters in the city,

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While the flowers failed to provide a color show, the animals didn’t disappoint with their displays.

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Cincinnati – January 2017 – Custom Cars and Model Trains

Our first weekend outing of 2017 was back to Cincinnati to the Custom Car Show, last attended in 2015. The show itself was held at the Duke Energy Convention Center, in downtown Cincinnati. Going down on a Sunday morning we managed to find parking on the street about a block from the hall and headed in.


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Officially called the KOI Cavalcade of Customs Car Show, there were hundreds of the coolest custom cars, hotrods, motorcycles, trucks, and more in two main rooms, with exhibitors along the outside corridors.

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All in all it is a decent show, but not too different from the one two years earlier.

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On the way back north we stopped in West Chester, Ohio for Entertrainment Junction. They advertise they are the largest indoor train display at 25,000 square feet with more than two miles of track and 90 trains depicting every era of American railroading.

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Not sure what to expect we made our way to a warehouse park along the freeway, and headed in. While it is clearly geared toward kids, with a large play area, the models were stunning. We spent a couple of hours going through the train displays twice. This is one that is highly recommended.

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Cincinnati – October 2016 – Renaissance Festival

Another sunny mid October day, perfect for going to the Ohio Renaissance Festival in the small town of Harveysburg, near Cincinnati. An annual event that runs every weekend from August through October, it is a 30 acre permanent village with over 100 shops and 12 outdoor stages set in a fictional 16th century English Village.

Costumed performers on stage and through the streets provide continuous entertainment. The first show we saw was a juggler who not only juggled three burning torches, but managed to balance a sword, using the pointed end, on a ball.

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After a brief stop with a comedy routine set on a large ship that was hard to follow because we were too far back, we settled into a covered area to see a sword swallower who also ate flames. I have no idea how someone gets started with this as a talent, but he was very good, and his big finish with a sword fully down him was stunning.

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Everyone, including the sword swallower, took a break as the the performing cast including the Queen and her entourage along with representatives from each festival shop make a parade past us.

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At times it is difficult to tell who is in the show and the spectators as many people came in costume.

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Our next show of the day was in the Muditorium, and was another comedy bit, this time set on a stage next to a mud pit.

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Finally we watched Dirk and Guido, who had fake sword fights, as well as tossing them back and forth to each other. They ended with a large audience participation song, complete with plenty of innuendos.

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We decided the crowd was getting too cumbersome to really enjoy the events, and we had seen the entire grounds, and many of the shows, so we called it a day, arriving in the parking lot amazed to see the sea of cars. Even with the crowds the Ohio Renaissance Festival is a highly recommended event to check out.

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Cincinnati – May 2016 – Bobbleheads and Bluegrass

Early May brought another trip to Cincinnati, with the first stop being the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame next door to their stadium, Great American Park. I have been to their Hall of Fame once before, and I am not even a Reds fan, but this day they had a collection of bobbleheads on display.

The Reds Hall of Fame and Museum’s bobblehead exhibit highlights the bobblehead craze through the display of a wide array of bobbleheads dating to the introduction of the collectible as a novelty item in the early 1960s. Bobbleheads come in an almost limitless variety of styles and have featured as subjects athletes, movie and television stars and political figures.

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The exhibit features all of the Cincinnati Reds bobbleheads that have been created as ballpark giveaways dating to the first set that was issued in 2001, plus every bobblehead issued by the Reds Hall of Fame.

Along with the Reds bobbleheads, the exhibit includes a selection of bobbleheads from other Major League teams as well as those from other sports and non-sports bobbleheads.

Over 700 different bobbleheads are on display, in display cases that have motors on them to vibrate the cases and make the bobbleheads bobble. They featured everyone from from the Pope to Edgar Allan Poe, Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler, as well as lots of politicians: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich, and one other bozo – “Bozo” the Clown.

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While we were there we took the opportunity to tour the museum, with Reds memorabilia from the 1800s until current times, including their World Series trophies, seats from old stadiums, and a collection of uniforms of famed Reds.

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As we made our way out of town we stopped at Lunken Field, an airport built in the 1920s that served as the main Cincinnati airport until 1947. It’s located near the Ohio River is prone to flooding, resulting in the nickname ‘Sunken Lunken’. The original control tower is still standing, making it the oldest standing control tower in America, although it is unused, replaced by one built in the 1960s.

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Our other destination this day was an Appalachian Festival at an old amusement park east of Cincinnati called Coney Island. This festival is sponsored by the Appalachian Community Development Association, and features music on four stages, traditional dance and crafts.

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Also presented was a living history village with campers dressed in 1840’s clothing who’ll be demonstrating Appalachian mountain life 150+ years ago, as well as one miffed Native America on babysitting duty.

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