Columbus – December 2018 – Franklin Park Conservatory Holiday Lights Revisit

Keeping with the annual repeat visits this weekend, we stopped by the Franklin Park Conservatory for their Holiday Lights exhibit.

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The professional division gingerbread house winner.

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They have a mix of traditional holiday floral with the the permanent displays.

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Chihuly glass.

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More floral close ups.

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The center hall was all decked out for the season.

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The other halls had interesting lighting on the plants.

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Outside near the glass blowing studio were additional glass ‘trees’.

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The Children’s Garden had the largest display of lights.

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The glass block steps in the Palm House were lit.

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Additional glass pieces outside on a courtyard.

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Afterwards we made a brief stop at a park downtown for additional lights.

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Columbus – December 2018 – Zoo Wildlights

It’s December which means the annual Columbus Zoo ‘Wildlights’ is back.

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We arrived early enough to check out the aquarium.

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The penguin habitat was still open (it closed at 5).

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They apparently were ready to go in for the night as they were honking very loud and often.

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The Reptile Building was open. Most of them were very active.

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The ‘Farm’ was open as well, as it was inside of a barn.

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Finally we passed a sleeping bear.

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A quick stop by the historic carousel…

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And it was sunset.

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Time for the lights.

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The lights are nice, but the animals are always the best part.

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Columbus – December 2018 – Krampus Returns

It is that season again – Krampus! For those who have forgotten, Krampus is a horned figure used to scare little German kids into behaving during Christmas so they get presents.

Columbus has a small, but colorful, Krampus parade.

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Columbus – November 2018 – Science Center Revisit

In checking the events calendars for something to do I noticed COSI had a model train exhibit, so we headed down for a Sunday morning.

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We headed straight to the upper floor exhibit area where the model trains were set up. Disappointingly we found they are the same ones we see set up elsewhere (such as the fair, etc).

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While nice, we were hoping for more.

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One unique one though was this group who have built their entire train display from Legos. The tracks, the trains, the cars, are all built out of Legos!

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Outside along the hallways are a number of art pieces made out of scrap material. Among other things this one has piano keys, roofing metal, paint brushes, a garden hose and other ‘stuff’.

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All sorts of pieces/parts including license plates.

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A giant frame skeleton hovers over all.

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This display shows the miles and miles of veins and arteries in the body.

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I wish I could remember what this was, but I can’t. No worries – he looks cool.

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One exhibit that they have had since the 1960s is the exhibit ‘Process’. This shows an American street at two different times, one in 1898 then the same street in 1962 (which is when the center was opened at it’s original location).

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It was amusing to see teenagers all running for the various corded telephones, as most under 15 have never used one.

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We happened to be next to one of the presentation areas when they were starting an exhibit on chemistry where the presenter entertained us with liquid nitrogen and others like potassium and their reactions to hot and cold.

On this display she had someone give her a $20 bill, dipped it in hydrogen and set it on fire. In the end the person got his $20 back unscathed, except for being wet where she ‘rinsed’ it.

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She also demonstrated how different gases make different colored flames when exploding (yes they were very loud booms)

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Honda is a big sponsor, with a display on automotive components such as how pistons drive engines, how shocks work, etc.

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The American Museum of Natural History has a very large display that is being presented for a year or so. There were a number of fossils on display.

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There were many on exhibit.

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The display was very large, and very well done.

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Some were models to show the full size of the dinosaur.

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But the actual fossils were best.

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Cleveland – November 2018 – Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead)

In Mexican culture the Day of the Dead is celebrated the first two days of November. This celebration honors the memory of those who have passed on.

Presented by the Cleveland Public Theater and Artistas Latinos Unios, Cleveland has had a Dia de Muertos for 14 years.

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Most participants paint their faces.

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While it might seem morbid, it is in fact a joyous occasion that is intended to dispel fear of death and embracing the cycle of life.

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In Cleveland many non Latino people participated.

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While most had face paintings, traditionally hand made clay skulls are also used.

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The Cleveland Public Theater is housed in a former church. Inside they had a number of exhibits set up.

This young lady had one honoring her family.

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As did this young lady. Note in the back numerous photos and offerings to her deceased family members. Throughout the church/theater and outside in the ‘pop up’ cemetery were a number of such altars (known in Spanish as ofrendas)

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One of the event coordinators was ready.

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It was a really cool event, with lots of great looks.

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Stylish and macabre at the same time.

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Finally it was time for the procession to begin…..

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One of the bands lead the march.

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Anyone who had signed up and was in ‘costume’ could participate.

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Some clearly had spent more time putting together their look.

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One of my favorites.

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Many entire families participated.

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This young lady had the face painting but the rest of her family wore the masks.

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Happy skeletons!

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The origins date back thousands of years and coincide with the annual harvest. It combined Aztec and Christian practices.

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Today is has become so popular in the United States even places like Party City sell merchandise for the celebration, although these ladies clearly did better than going down the local Party City.

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Not sure why, but it seems every Cleveland parade has a number of people on stilts. But what’s not to like in a 10′ skeleton lady coming down Detroit Avenue!

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More stilted skeletons.

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A few had more simple masks, which this guy used to accent his great suit.

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Historically in Cleveland most of the Latinos were Puerto Rican, but they too have embraced the event.

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Also participating was a Horse Drawn Funeral Carriage. Note the very stylish job on the horse’s hooves.

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The carriage had a mannequin complete with mask.

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Dia de Mertos was a fantastic event – I can’t wait for next November. Look for one in a city near you.

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Cleveland – November 2018 – A Traditional Zoo

The Cleveland Metroparks is one of the best parks systems in the United States, circling Cleveland in what is known as the Emerald Necklance

One of their main features closer into the city is the Metroparks Zoo, only 5 miles from downtown Cleveland.

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While much smaller than the more famous Columbus Zoo, in my opinion it is nicer in that there is far less commercialization.

The Metroparks Zoo does have a number of themed exhibit areas including the Rain Forest.  This building, as the name indicates, brings together the plants and wildlife of the jungles.

This little guy is a Golden Lion Tamarin, a highly endangered animal from Brazil.

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The bird below is a Scarlet Ibis. The zoo found it was losing it’s natural color, until they added shrimp to it’s diet.

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A Capybara. While he was in his controlled habitat here, we once had the opportunity to meet one up close in British Columbia. The Capybara is known as the world’s largest rodent, but they seem pretty cool to me.

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Bornean Orangutan. So much for that vegetarian diet keeping weight down – this guy can weigh over 300 pounds.

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The Emerald Tree Boa. 8 feet long with fang like teeth!

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We left the Rain Forest and headed up through the main section of the zoo, stopping to check out the elephants.

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Cleveland has some ravines, and the zoo is built in, and up above one. After the hike up the hill we made our way to the Primates, Cat & Aquatics indoor habitat (with some outdoor space as well).

The Mandrill below is a large monkey, weighing up to 80 pounds.

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One of the many Lemurs.

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This cat like animal is known as a Fossa, from Madagascar. Those in the animal business apparently debate if it is more like a mongoose or a cat.

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More Lemurs – the is time Ring Tailed. This is the most common Lemur.

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Another Lemur – I tried to have a staring contest, which I obviously lost.

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But it was time to move over to the Aquatic side of the house. Our first tank we came to gave us this great view!

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And more…

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We headed back down the hill to the African Savanna section for lions…

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And Zebras

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Our final section was the Wilderness Trek. As I always note on trips to the zoo, I am always torn by being in the presence of such great animals, and the fact that they are stuck in cages. But as with the Tamarin without some conservation some breeds would be totally lost.

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Columbus – October 2018 – Highball

Columbus, despite being a medium sized city not on either of the coasts, is known as a fashion city primarily because it is the home of the Limited Brands. As a result there are more clothing fashion designers in Columbus than anywhere else in America except Los Angeles and New York.

The annual Halloween festival, Highball, is intended to mix fashion with Halloween. Unfortunately for us, we were there too early in the evening, and it was raining, so the crowd as sparse. Despite this, we did see some great looks….

All the ticket sellers at the north end were in 1920s looks.

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The beer truck people were ready…

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While it was mostly adults, a couple of kids came along (again we were there much too early for the really good crowds – next year we will go much later in the evening).

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Luigi and Friends.

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Johnny Ramone and friend.

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The first band was dressed from the Wizard of Oz.

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Dorothy was the lead singer and keyboardist.

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The Tin Man apparently had a synthesizer.

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And coupled on backup singing with the lead guitarist the Lion

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While the Scarecrow was on drums.

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Likely the only male Indian nun in Columbus..

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This group has their seasons mixed up, they are ready for Christmas far too early.

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Party On Wayne – Party on Garth.

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A really knit beard.

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Steam Punk meets Scottish.

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What happens when light swords appear.

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Battles ensue.

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They were fashionable in the drizzle.

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The next band were all super heroes.

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Including the lead singer in drag as Wonder Woman.

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A Bat Bass.

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Finally we had had enough drizzle, and the crowds were still getting drunk in nearby bars, or at the hockey game, so we decided to head on out.

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But not before we were greeted by one more group. Next year – hopefully no rain, and we will go much later to get the real show…

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